Friday, January 28, 2011

Stock Management II

GOATS! The proverbial escape artists and autists among the animals!
We had changed the first layout to give them some more grazing space. Unfortunately the loss of routine was combined with breaches in fence security and for the past week I've been trying to keep the goats safe and happy and myself moderately sane. We've had late night escapes with hoof clattering on our deck and me charging out with torch and nuts to lure them back to their shed. I've even started to dream so vividly that last night I woke up, grabbed torch and feed, and ran out in my PJ's to find them snoozily looking at me in the dark.

What has changed? I've had them tethered on a mobile 'stake', a small concrete block, not too heavy to stop them from moving around, but heavy enough to take off in a hurry and go all over the place in 5 secs flat. And I've started back on the routine. So every morning after they have had their nuts in the shed, and been groomed and handled, they get tied up in a different part of the section and graze around. The only major hassle is water supply for them, and the fact they seem to like tying the rope around the tub and then pull it over. But as I check every 90 - 120 minutes, to make sure none is too tangled up in bushes etc, that is not a life threatening situation.

Also, we've decided to use up the 'old' wood for making a 3 tiered fence, which will make it hopefully very unattractive for them to escape. i have used up all the 200 m's of electric tape to do a 3 tier electric fence for the moment, and hoping to reduce that to a 1 strand one, once the wooden part is complete. That would give me then enough tape to fence them in for mobile grazing and I wouldn't have to tether them anymore. I REALLY don't like to do that, but at the moment it's the only way to keep every one safe and give them an opportunity for free grazing.

So, today, after a day of mixed weather, sun in the morning, and alternating sun and rain for the rest of the day, I went down to my lovely girls, who were happy to be free to run and jump around and happy to run for their shelter when it poured. They had sniffed the fence, and after 3 days of charging there must have been enough charge for them not even to try! We had goat cuddles, and a good chat, and a cut-up melon of course as an evening treat, and I'm happy to say: " I LOVE my girls."

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