Today is Monday, April 18 and in Bloomfield, NY we've got gorgeous sunny weather in the low 70s. Woohoo!!! Spring is here! (Please note this blog post on May 5 when we're experiencing a blizzard).
Last week we ran out of hay in the barn so I headed to my local Country Max to pick up a few more bales. I got 5, figuring I might have to go back again but expecting 5 should be enough for the rest of the season. The goats will eat about 1/4 of a bale a day, so 5 bales would get us into May when the grass and various other flora was really getting into the swing of spring. The day before, their last remaining bale, had been a particularly scrumptious one: Full of dried clover and other lovely weeds with lots of delicate bits of tender grass. Five star goat dining. So imagine their caprine surprise when the VERY NEXT MEAL I feed them has bits of *gasp!* STRAW in it!!! As if I have no sense of refinement at all. As if I am a veritable CAVEMAN!
Luckily for them, my spoiled little cloven hoofed puppies, April weather has brought some delicious tender grass. People ask us a lot what goats eat. Contrary to what you might expect, goats are browsers rather than grazers, meaning they prefer weeds, brush, bark, and leaves to grass. If you want ruminating lawn mowers get a few sheep; for some serious hedgerow demolition, get a goat. Goats are actually so effective at destroying brush that they've been blamed for deforestation and desertification in parts of Africa and the Middle East!
But when the options are baby grass shoots and straw-laden hay, even these beggars can't be choosers. So the winter farmer's struggle has come to a close, now that the goats have once again become self-sufficient. Chores are as easy as peeking out at the goats (now always out of the barn where I can see them) and checking their water buckets every few days. For the next few months I'm in the clear (as long as no one gets sick). But June 3 is Pearl's anticipated due date (mark your calendars!) and then it all starts up again!
In the meantime....
#goatselfie with Princess Peach in 2015!
Baby goats "eating" hay :-D Goats will do anything to find something to jump on top of!
Estrella with her 2015 baby, nursing.
(Blurry) baby goats on the wall! Our barn has some great places for baby goats to climb!