I was delivering meat to a customer a few Saturdays ago and he reminded me it was time to enter an update. We were talking about raising goats and I happened to mention our buck. He quickly asked "Sawtooth?" which made me laugh as I remembered my blog about him. He's famous now! Thank you Kevin for the reminder.
It has been a busy summer for us. We have been running our goats out on fields and pastures, raising kids for the market and learning new lessons.
Around Oct/Nov last year I put out an ad looking for land for our goats. I received a reply from a local farmer. He owned some land on Mt Warner and some of it was perfect for our girls. We made a deal and before I knew it I purchased our first electric netting and had them up on the field before winter set in. There wasn't a lot of time for them to be up there but it gave me a little bit of experience with it.
Come spring time I was excited to get our goats back out on the field. But as luck would have it we were offered some land very close to our home. It was already fenced in and included housing and 2 nice pastures. So we set them out on this land first. I hauled them back and forth every day as I was afraid to let them leave home.
Finally one night I worked up the courage to let them have a "sleepover". My sleep was a little restless and I was up and out early the next day to check on them. I think I held my breathe the whole way afraid they would all be gone or eaten by coyotes.
As I turned to go down the hill I saw them and they me. It was a joyous reunion. What was I thinking? These are animals and they were in a fence with housing and protection so of course they survived. I must have sat with them for about an hour listening to their tales of whoa. I often get razzed about "looking deep into their eyes" and spending too much time with them but they have much to say and it takes time to let them get it all out.
When they finished eating these 2 fields down I moved them up to Mt Warner. At first I hauled them back and forth every day as this field is more secluded and has more wildlife around. One day while chatting with a friend she mentioned that her female donkey was going to be upset because the male was being moved. I offered to take her and have her guard my goats. Thankfully she agreed and before I knew it we added a donkey to our herd.
Now with the donkey I was ok leaving the goats out to sleepover. I would bring them home when the weather was going to be bad. So Lupin (the donkey) comes with the goats back to our house. She is very friendly and great with my human kids but having donkey manure around is a little different than goat. Goat poop amounts to about a handful of raisins. Donkey poop is about a 5 gallon bucket full of muffins. Definately have to watch my step.
So sometime in June we made a new friend who has a lot of land to clear. We negotiate terms good for both of us to clear 20 acres of land. Jackpot! Our goats and donkey are now hard at work. I struggled a little with parasites over the summer so on entering this new land I was determined to try something new. I had talked with a friend about it who mentioned a more intense approach to grazing to ensure the goats get moved before any parasites would have an opportunity to make them sick. So, I set up 2 pen areas using electronet fencing. They spend a day or two in one then are moved to the next. I spend a lot of time out in the field moving fence but it's worth it so far.
A short while ago 2 of my neighbors offered us land to put our goats on but we were not able to make that happen this season. I am hopeful that we can clear this land in the spring. We also had another farmer offer land that he needed cleared as well but again we were not able to this season. Too much land, too little goats... a good problem to have I must say.
We are grateful to live in a community that is willing to let our goats roam their land. Folks get that goats are a greener/cleaner way to clear fields. I think it's kind of romantic to have so many willing to woo our girls with the promise of fresh browse, open air and sunshine every day!
God Made A Female Farmer
From stories growing up on a farm to constructing animal shelter, ...from caring for a pregnant doe to raising a healthy and happy herd, this blog will chronicle my experiences of growing a farm venture from the ground up. ~Dee Scanlon