Getting goats to test how well they can clear brush in the woods is one of our 2013 goals, though one both Amy and I are admittedly daunted by. Having a lot of work to do is one thing, but having a new species to care for is another. Still, we really do want to see if goats can be a useful part of life here, and have remained resolved to give it a shot.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the kids think goats are a fantastic idea. More specifically, Nora wants to bottle feed goats. Really wants to. We visited a tourist farm in Door County last summer, and she was smitten by being able to feed some baby goats from a bottle. Ever since, whenever goats come up she asks “can we get goats that need to eat from a bottle?”.
Apart from the sincere wishes of a persuasive six year old, we’ve read that bottle feeding goats helps them bond with humans, and makes it more likely that they’ll be agreeable and easier to train. I guess that makes sense.
We’ve been watching goat listings on craigslist and other places for a few months now, just to get a feel for what ‘s out there. We’ve seen a number of goats that look like they’d be a good fit, but none that are still bottle fed. Until Monday, when we found what looks like the perfect fit — 2 week old La Mancha wethers (castrated boys), looking for new homes.
After brief consideration and discussion with the farm they’re coming from, we decided to get the goats. As luck would have it, their current owner is coming through this part of the state tomorrow, so we’re even able to avoid a drive (and goats in the minivan)!
This has meant a week of late nights as we get the shed converted from feral cat homing area to mini-barn. It was pretty much time for the cats to be let free to roam, but with the current cold they spend all their time in the rafters anyway.
We’ve made quite the transformation since Monday night: we built a 4-foot welded wire fence and gate separating one bay from the rest of the shed, a little sleeping platform built from free pallets and a sheet of plywood, and a little wall to separate off the goat sleeping area from the play area.
We’ve cleaned it pretty thoroughly of the random debris that came with the place, and have a fresh load of straw ready for the little guys’ arrival tomorrow. I’m sure the cats are quite curious about what’s going on, as they watch from above.
Wish us luck – baby goats arrive tomorrow.