Friday, May 16, 2014

Grazing... At Last!

The weather took longer to break this year. Besides the other obvious difficulties this posed, it also meant a higher than normal hay/grain bill. Most years we expect to have the goats back to browsing in April. This year, we were a month behind! A month may not seem like a long time, but when looked at in terms of our feed bill, those 30 days cost us roughly an additional $500 in feed. Around these parts, that is a whole lotta cabbage!

At first, all the goats wandered about filling their bellies on the novelty of grass before they meandered into the woods to browse on tender shoots of leaves, brushy scrub and pine needles. When we put the goats up for the night, they had HUGE, happy bellies!

Jesse is growing so quickly! He was born late February making him nearly 3 months old now, but he is very nearly the same height and weight as our yearlings! If he fulfills his promise, Jesse will be quite a large buck!

Elisha and Naomi enjoyed filling their stomachs with greens instead of hay and grains. Naomi is a beautiful 3 year old Nigerian Dwarf- our sole doe of this breed. She is not pregnant, just sporting a good "field belly".
Like Jesse, Eli is growing fast. Eli is grazing in front of Delilah, a lamancha yearling from last year in this picture. Eli is naturally polled, meaning that his horns will not grow out. He is one of the bucks we'll have available for sale this year. We'll be asking $100 for him.
Ellie smiling in the shade of one of the compost bins. Doesn't she look content? 

Keziah is the only doe born to us this year. We'll be keeping her and hope she is as sweet a lass as her mother, Rachel. So far, she is friendly and easy-going. She does not display the same raucous playfulness as the bucks, but she is content to be petted and loved. I love her striking markings on her head and the spots along her spine. ♥

Jedidiah (Jedi) is now 4 years old. He watches over his girls and leads them to the woods to browse. Though they follow him willingly, more and more, I see our 2 year old, Asher taking the lead within the herd. Don't feel too badly for the ole Jedi, though. According to our plan, Jedi was not meant to father any goat kids this year, but still managed to give Eli to Leah.

Yearlings, Delilah and Cassie will be bred to Asher this fall for their first kidding. Their coloring should produce some beautiful kids. Their line should produce some bountiful milk. If they pass along their sweet, docile personalities, whoever purchases their kids will have hit the jackpot in my opinion.
Haddie's lad, Amos is growing slow and steady. He is a bouncy, bright, and healthy boy, so I am not worried about his small size. It does make me suspicious, though. He just might have been sired by Zacchaeus. The markings are right and so is his diminutive size. The other potential sire (and the more likely culprit) is Asher, which explains Amos' elf ears. And, this is what happens when goats break through livestock fencing and/or doors built from 2x4s all in the pursuit of amore.

I hope that this year's season progresses with more decorum, but then I am reminded that I am considering the antics of clever goats and begin preparations for stronger fencing.

I captured some video of the goats at play and am working on editing it now. I hope to have it ready in a bit for you.

Thanks for visiting with us today, friends. I am very glad you came.

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