Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hiking with Goats (and advocating for animal welfare)

Malik leading the group...
 I love, Love LOVE the article that Aislinn Sarnacki of Bangor Daily News wrote about our hiking adventures. READ IT HERE. I think the article and video shows the best parts of what we do here on the homestead. Hiking with our goats is certainly one of the most fun for both us and our goats. But, in the interest of advocating for the best care of animals, I wanted to take just a minute to clarify two points.

"Goats are just like dogs or cats." This sentiment was voiced by several of our hikers and I knew what they meant. But, I want to make sure that you all do, too. While there are some similarities; they both are smart and can be friendly, are both mammals, and have wagging tails- caring for goats is vastly different than having a dog. Goats do not make good house pets, for one thing since they are very happy to eliminate their body waste (in all its forms) wherever they are at the time. They are herd animals and NEED a herd of at least one other, and preferably two other goat companions. I could go on and on, but my main point is- goats make lovely companion animals when they have their needs met with appropriate shelter, herd mates, nutrition and care. Please, do not purchase goat kids on a whim because they are cute. They are but they grow and you may find that the "cuteness" wears off. Do not purchase a goat to be a house-goat. It is not what is best for that goat. Caring for an animal is a commitment. If you are not in a situation that is right for getting goats, visit farms that have goats and get your goaty fix there. :)

This is another clarification I feel we need to add: we select the goats for each hike based on factors that will ensure that all parties enjoy the hike; goats and guests alike. Some goats prefer other goats to people and would rather stay with their herd; we respect that. Some mothers would get stressed to find their kid missing for a few hours; we consider that. A goat may be feeling unwell or recovering from an injury; we won't add stress to their life for a recreational activity. This being the case, your hike may include goats of various ages, not just goat kids. It may not include goat kids at all. You may hike with yearlings or older goats who need the extra attention and would benefit from the exercise. The group hike featured in this article included two sets of twins, all bottle kids. As the first hike of the season, we were unsure of the trail conditions. It was important that we selected kids who we knew would stay with us and be easy to handle should we need to make adjustments. Carter and Benton will probably go on our next hike again, but Malik developed a touch of pneumonia this week. Though his treatments are finished and he is back to his bouncy self, we won't bring him along this week. He will do better resting at the homestead, so we'll select another goat (or two) for the hikes on Saturday. Our goats' health and well-being are the MOST important concern for us. Always.
Carter and Alana resting at the top

Lastly, we do not host birthday parties or any kind of gathering, really, at the homestead. We're not set up for hosting large groups and having too many people at once would stress us all out- me included. :) We do host up to 6 people for private hikes a couple of times each month. We hope you will choose to visit us and enjoy the experience of hiking with our goats. Currently, we have two times still available. They are:
May 30 10 am-1 pm RESERVE TICKETS HERE

If you would like to hike at a different time, please contact us at 207-323-4982 and we will see what we can do to schedule your preferred date.

You can enter to WIN a Goat Hike sponsored by Tiller & Rye in Brewer, Maine. This two week event will support Bangor Area Food Cupboards to assist those with a need in our community. To enter the drawing, simply bring in a non-perishable food item to Tiller & Rye from now until April 30th. Put your name in the drawing. You can enter once each day in store. Or, if you're not local, but still want to participate, follow this link and make an online donation. It's easy! Just click on tickets and decide how much you want to donate. We'll use your donation to purchase organic non-perishables and give you an entry for every dollar you donate. You can do that here: DONATION

We are excited for a new season to begin on the homestead and are looking forward to meeting many of you in person.

Thanks for visiting with us today.
Sean and Sonja

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