Thursday, April 29, 2010

Goat Ranching 103: What To Do When You've Already Done Everything....

Part three of the three part series is not filled with excitement and goat wrestling like I thought it would be. In fact, there has been no goat wrestling since the day we brought them home. The goat-release date set for Saturday did coincide nicely with the garage sale (which, incidentally, was a crappy, rainy weekend to host a garage sale) but there were no extra bodies required. During the week the goats spent confined to the chicken coop Todd introduced them to grain. And this obviously changed their attitude about running away because when they got out (about two minutes after we let them out of the coop...) they were more interested in hunting down the grain bin than fleeing their homeland.
We first sensed they were out because the bleating (that's goat for talking) was a little louder and closer than usual. Upon further inspection it was confirmed that Vanilla-Chocolate (yes Vanilla-Chocolate is her name) had indeed  crawled under the fence (without getting shocked!?) and came looking for human companionship. The other goats could tell she was out and each of the three does made a dash for the fence and performed an amazing stomach-slide under the hot wire. Power in numbers! Once all four goats were out they went searching for the grain bin. All Todd had to do was shake the grain and they followed him back into the pasture. Not that they stayed there long, but they were there.
Another trip to the feed store and another hundred dollars and Todd returned with the following:

  1. A 50 foot section of rope.

  2. A brass bell with clip.

  3. A large metal post to tie the rope to and pound into the ground.
(I will say, however, if you are going to tether a goat in the middle of the field it is best to do it far enough away from your other temporary fence so that when the tethered goat does lap after lap around the post they don't completely destroy your temporary fence. Right. Because I spent a considerable amount of time repairing fence after the first tethering experience.)
...and Vanilla Chocolate has met her match. She has not been out since. The goats are allowed to graze (supervised, of course) in the afternoons but V/C has to remain tethered until she gets too big to escape without a serious shock. That, or she gives up trying to get out altogether. Which I don't think is happening anytime soon.

Let's recap goat "aquisition" project::

  • Two additional hot lines ran along front of fence.

  • Lowering of additional hot lines after goat escape #1.

  • Goats live in chicken coop and eat out of the recycling bin. (Its the only "feed" bin we had...)

  • Mounding of dirt below gates to avoid goat escape. Shortly followed by realization it was much easier (and cheaper) just to lower the gates. Either way, it didn't work. Followed shortly by goat escape #2.

  • Installment of peanut butter covered tin-foil dangly pieces on electric fence. This was to try to get them to lick the peanut butter and shock their face teaching them that the fence is bad. Failed miserably. Either they don't like peanut butter, or they are exceptionally smart.

  • Purchase of goat tether. This is labor intensive and has dramatically increased the amount of time I spend repairing existing fence.

  • The discussion to perhaps add field fence to our arsenal of weapons took place last night. Sounds expensive, labor intensive and irritating. We were SO not cut out to raise goats.
They are pretty cute, but cute in the would-look-good-on-the-BBQ kinda way. All I know is the first time one of these things gets out and I find it stomping the hood of my car it's a dead goat.

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