Adding New Poultry and Livestock

adding new poultry and livestockAdding new poultry and livestock to your farm or homestead is commonly done in the spring. How do you avoid the common pitfall of adding too many, too soon? I use the following three questions when evaluating our homestead’s ability to carry more animals.                                       

  • Am I adding only the animals I have room for?

  • Can I  afford to care for the new animals properly?

  • Do  I  have the time and physical ability to care for the new additions along with the current stock?

These are important questions for me and maybe you to use when evaluating adding poultry and livestock. I do understand the way having too many animals can come about.  They are so cute and start out life looking so helpless.  How could we not want to take them all home and add to our homestead?  Really, how much trouble can more goats, chickens, ducklings, lambs really be?  Yes, I do understand.  But I will give you some thoughts to ponder about the steps you should take when bringing home new animals to add to your already existing flocks and herds. 

Adding New Poultry and Livestock

Bio-security is a term used to describe the care used when adding new animals or disinfecting equipment, or pens used by one group of animals before being used by another group.  Animal Bio Security aims to stop the introduction or spread of various diseases or infections into your already existing animal groups.  The key components in animal bio security are prevention and containment.

With this in mind, the first thing you should do before bringing home that homeless duck, unwanted goat kid, or free chicken is to make sure it appears healthy.  Even if there are no obvious signs of illness, take the time to care for the new addition in an isolation coop or pen.  Do not let it interact with your current animals until you are certain it is healthy.  Most recommendations point to ten to thirty days of observation, before integrating into the current  flocks or herds. 

Adding New Poultry and Livestock

Chickens

After the quarantine period, I use the following method to begin introducing a new flock member.  Place a crate in the middle of the chicken run with the new flock members inside.  (This is the same method I use when introducing pullets to the flock)  After a day or two of this introduction, I begin to let the newcomers out while I observe for any problem behavior. 

Pecking order behavior is normal and will occur. Watch for severe attacks, otherwise let the chickens begin to work things out. After a couple days of this, put the new comers into the coop at night as the flock is going to roost.  Continue to observe closely for a few days to make sure there are no serious altercations.  Most times, there will be little to no problem with new flock members.  Use enough feed bowls or feeders to ensure that all the chickens have access to food and water during the adjustment period.

 

Adding New Poultry and Livestock

Don’t be afraid to get dirty.

Ducks

I have had both easy times and hard times when adding new ducks to a flock.  Occasionally, male ducks  get very territorial about the female ducks and become aggressive.  You can remove the aggressive drake and let the newcomers adjust and then re enter the drake after things have settled down.  This may work and has worked for me in the past.  Young male ducks are especially hard to adjust to other male ducks.  Having enough space for the ducks to get away from each other also helps. I have also separated the flock’s males and females, so they can avoid the natural hormonal drive.  I have found ducks tend to be quite cliquey and ostracize any newcomers. This will eventually work itself out  but at first it can be sad to see the newcomer being rejected and chased away.

 

Horses, Goats, Sheep

When adding pasture animals, I try to always do the introduction in the morning after a feeding.  This will lessen the aggression concerning food issues.  Goats and Sheep will  head butt each other and it may look quite aggressive but it is normal.  Horses and ponies will chase and nip at each other or do nothing at all.  Observe closely at feeding time and feed separately when necessary.  Most cases will work out with little or no intervention if each animals needs are met.  With goats and sheep make sure to have more feed bowls than animals and spread the feed out so even the low animal on the herd pecking order has a chance to eat. 

 

 

Adding New Poultry and Livestock

Housing

Do not overcrowd the existing housing.  Overcrowding can lead to stress and stress can invite disease due to weakened immune systems.  Adding new poultry and livestock can overcrowd your coops and barns, leading to hygiene problems, and overly soiled bedding. This also stresses the natural ventilation in the building.  

adding new poultry and livestock

Budget

If your budget for animal feed is already feeling tight, adding new poultry and livestock may not be a good idea.  Remember, they may be cute and need a home, but you still have to feed and care for them. Feed costs mount up quickly. It’s important to budget some funds for emergencies such as veterinarian help or natural occurrences from bad weather. 

Time and Energy

Make sure you can physically care for the new animal, even when it is full grown?  Do you have the energy to clean up more stalls, pens or coops?  Are you strong enough to handle a full size sheep when the new cuddly lamb becomes a full grown feisty whether? 

adding new poultry and livestock

 

I think we all want to believe that we can handle what ever we take on but its good to take a long realistic look at the future before adding new poultry and livestock to your homestead.  

adding new poultry and livestock 

How to Prepare for Baby Goats from Homestead Lady

 

Building a Homestead from the Ground Up from Beyond Off Grid

 

 

 




Pine Cone Rabbit Treats Keep Bunnies Active

pine cone rabbit treatsPine cone rabbit treats are a great way to provide stimulation and a healthy chew toy for your bunny. With a simple process you can prepare the pine cone so that it is a safe chewing toy that the rabbits really enjoy. 

Foraging for Healthy Pine Cone Rabbit Treats 

The other day I went to the bank. Not unusual but this particular day, a large pine tree had fallen over in the high winds. This was a mature beautiful pine and pine cones were everywhere! It was a forager’s dream. I knew that pine cone rabbit treats were a good activity for bunnies but hadn’t found any to give to our rabbits.  I did the banking business I had come for and asked if I could collect some pine cones. Asking permission before foraging on property that isn’t yours,is always a good idea. A short time later I had two large reusable grocery totes filled with pine cones.  

pine cone rabbit treats   Pine cone rabbit treats

Since I hadn’t given our bunnies pine cone rabbit treats, I asked two other rabbit owners for advice. I knew I had read something about the pine cones needing to be prepared before giving them to the rabbits. But what type of preparation was needed?

Preparing Pine Cone Rabbit Treats 

Both friends told me the same information. The preparation is intended to keep the rabbits from getting any mites, or other insect pests, along with any diseases that could be on the pine cone. I was assured that no insecticides or weed killer had been used around the trees, too. It was obviously a very healthy older pine tree and I was sad to see it toppled by the wind. Also, I was sorry that I couldn’t carry off more of the pine cones and the broken pine limbs for the goats!  While I am sure that wild rabbits just jump right in and gnaw away on fresh pine cones, I decided to err on the side of caution and follow the procedure for making pine cone rabbit treats the safe way.

Step 1

Collect the pine cones from a pesticide free source. 

Step 2

Wash the pine cones in a sink full of warm water and 1 cup of white vinegar. Remove dirt clumps, insects, dried sap. 

pine cone rabbit treats

pine cone rabbit treats

You may need to keep pushing the pine cones under the surface of the water until they get wet.

Spread the pine cones out to dry for three or four days. (you can also use a dehydrator set on low to speed up the drying time)

pine cone rabbit treats

Step 3

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the pine cones in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake on low heat (around 250 degrees F) for 2 hours.

Step 4

Cool the pine cones completely.

Step 5

Give your bunny his new Pine Cone Rabbit Treats!

pine cone rabbit treats

Why Do Rabbits Need Toys?

Rabbits kept in captivity as pets need a lot of mental stimulation in order to not become destructive. Toys are one way to provide the activity needed to keep the bunny healthy.  In addition, bunnies need something hard to chew on or their teeth will become overgrown. Rabbits in the wild wear down their teeth by chewing branches and other hard surfaces. Pet rabbits benefit from this too. If you don’t provide suitable toys they will begin chewing on furniture and baseboard and other objects you wish they wouldn’t chew!

Providing chew toys that you make at home is an economical way to provide the mental stimulation and physical exercise that your pet needs.  When gathering sticks to make a chew bundle, make sure the wood is safe for rabbits to chew. Maple, Alder, Pear and Willow are good choices. Small branches from an apple tree make a tasty treat!  Do not use branches from cherry, plum, peach and apricot trees as they can be toxic.

See also

How to Make a Rabbit Chew Toy

Baked Parsley Treats for Rabbits

Rabbit Care Basics

Rabbit Care Basics for the Farm, Homestead or Home

pine cone rabbit treats

 

 

 




Can Chickens Eat Mashed Potatoes?

can chickens eatCan chickens eat mashed potatoes? Believe it or not, too much of any food can upset the delicate balance in the chicken’s digestive tract. Being Omnivores means that technically, chickens can eat anything they want to eat. Their diet in the wild would consist of varied plants, bugs, dead animals, and live rodents. However, they have some of the choice taken away from them when we keep them in coops and runs.

Faced with a delicious plate of mashed potatoes, next to the regular dish of layer feed, the chicken is going to binge eat those potatoes! In the wild, they wouldn’t have this handed to them in such a great quantity. And there’s the key to the question, can chickens eat mashed potatoes.  They can, but everything should be offered in moderation. Offering too much of any food besides layer feed, free range grasses and bugs, can lead to stomach upset. 

Can Chickens Eat Vegetables Fresh From the Garden?

What about other foods commonly left over from our family meals.  Cooked vegetables are almost always ok to serve to your chickens.  Can chickens eat all vegetables raw, right from the garden? The answer to that would no. Some raw vegetables contain chemicals that are toxic to chickens. Vegetables from the nightshade family includes, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes and eggplants.  The solonine in these plants is the toxic substance that can build up in the chicken and cause toxicity and death. The fruit of the tomato and the pepper is fine in moderation, when it its fully ripe. Never allow your chickens to feast on the tomato plants, pepper plants or any of the green leaves from the nightshade family.  

can chickens eat

Note* Sweet Potatoes are not from the nightshade family. They are from the morning glory family and the sweet potato and the leaves are both safe to eat.

 

Greens – Most greens are good for chickens. The exception would be spinach which contains a heavy amount of oxalic acid. This compound, in large quantities can interfere with the absorption of calcium. Small amounts of spinach aren’t a problem but large or frequent feedings of spinach, beet greens or Chard might lead to soft egg shells.

The leafy lettuces, kale and other greens are great treats for the flock. 

Can Chickens Eat Dairy Foods Like Cheese, Milk, Yogurt?

During a recent episode of viral information on social media, a discussion was going on about whether or not chickens can have dairy foods without consequences. There was a huge response with people again arguing that they do so all the time, and have no stomach upset in the flock. Others mentioned that chickens lack the enzyme necessary to digest milk protein (lactose). Yogurt can provide a boost of calcium, protein, energy, and probiotics and yes yogurt is a healthy food for humans. Chickens can benefit from small amounts of unsweetened plain yogurt. It does provide some probiotic benefits. 

However, it is a dairy product. Large amounts of dairy are not good because it can lead to loose stools and upset stomachs. So again, we come back to that age old rule of moderation and small amounts. Feeding a large bowl of yogurt might not kill your chickens or lead to toxicity but it probably will cause some digestive upset.

can chickens eat

Most Chickens Don’t Like Citrus Fruit

There are differing opinions on feeding citrus. There isn’t any definite evidence that it is harmful. Too much citrus and vitamin C, can lead to weaker egg shells because it interferes with Calcium absorption . I am not too worried about this because mine reject citrus fruit anyway. I have heard this from many other chicken owners. 

can chickens eat

Meat Scraps

Being omnivores, chickens can handle eating meat protein. Have you seen the excitement when they catch a field mouse? Even a snake is a delicious form of meat. So feeding them the carcass from a roasted chicken, if you aren’t making bone stock, is fine. Fried or fatty meat should be avoided and anything cooked in a heavy sauce could lead to diarrhea.   

can chickens eat

Legumes and Beans 

Fully cooked beans can be fed to the chickens. Raw beans of all kinds contain hemaglutin which is a natural insecticide and toxic. The cooking or sprouting of beans or dried beans destroys the chemical and then the beans are safe to feed to the chickens. So your leftover green beans and other legumes from dinner are perfectly fine to give as a treat.

A Few Other Foods to Mention 

Onions and Garlic are from the same family but contain different chemical make up. The allium family, particularly onions, contain large amounts of thiosulphate, a toxin. It is interesting though, that garlic contains very little thiosulphate. Garlic is completely safe and extremely healthy to add to the chickens diet.

Chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol are three of my favorite treats. But the chickens should have none of these substances.

Avocados– These actually do contain a fatal toxin in some parts of the avocado. I do not give any part of this to my flock.

Apples– Some people may mention that fruits with seeds and pits can be toxic, too. They can but it’s a much lower toxicity and mostly the chickens will just eat the fruit. To be safe, cut up the apple and don’t feed the cores. Remove the peach pits.  This is not a problem with watermelon which is a favorite treat!

Rhubarb – This is toxic in so many parts that I wouldn’t take the chance of feeding it to my flock. The leaves are toxic to people too so be sure to avoid them in your foraging.

can chickens eat

Toxin Build Up in Chickens

I know many will read this and argue that they or their grandparents always fed the chickens green tomatoes, or onions, or any number of things, and no chickens died. And they would be correct. Very few toxins will kill people or animals immediately. However, toxins eaten on a regular basis or in such an amount that buildup occurs over time, will die or become sick. You may not tie it back to the potato peels you fed to the chickens three times a week. Or the free ranging in the garden where they had access to pepper plant leaves and potato vines.  

It’s the same with people. Toxins in our food build up in our bodies over time. We are just beginning to realize that plastic packaging, chemical dyes, and other contaminants can cause problems with kidneys, nervous system, and the heart. The liver is a prime candidate for toxin build up leading to disease too. Our poultry and livestock are no different. They can eat many different foods that we share with them. It doesn’t mean it is without risk or without an effect further down the road.

What to do 

My final point to answer the question “can chickens eat…?” is this.  As our grandmothers said, everything in moderation. In the past, few farmers kept a large flock of chickens over the winter. The best layers might have been kept but most were processed for food so they didn’t have to be fed through the winter when free ranging food was scarce. Not keeping hens past a year or two probably didn’t show the toxicity symptoms that might show up in older hens. This is your flock. You get to make the decisions. Remember that not every bad decision will have an immediate consequence. Also, not everything you do is not going to endanger the life of your chicken.  

Feeding a good quality layer feed, supplemented with safe foraging and free ranging, and delicious safe treats from your kitchen will help you keep a healthy flock. Meal worms and dehydrated grubs are tasty treats that normally don’t lead to problems. Remember that the answer to “can chickens eat” this food is, only in moderation. 

 

can chickens eat




Chicken Gardening for You and Your Flock

chicken gardeningAre you chicken gardening? What kinds of vegetables should you plant in order to supplement your chicken’s diet? Chicken gardening is slightly different than gardening only for people. Our flock of chickens, ducks, turkeys and guinea hens, love all sorts of vegetable products and scraps.  In the winter months,  I ask the local grocer for the trimmings from the produce and then a feast occurs. During the rest of the year, we are able to grow fresh garden produce and herbs for our chickens, ducks and rabbits.

chicken gardening

Beginning in early spring, we plant the cool weather leafy greens such as romaine, kale, spinach, and cabbage.  Also, broccoli and cauliflower like cool temps.  Getting these plants started before hot weather hits is a must if you want them to survive a hot spell.  Greens are one of the favorite treats for our flock and we save every bit that is not consumed by the humans, for the flock. If your property lacks abundant grass, feeding some other leafy greens can add essential vitamins and minerals into your chickens diet.  Don’t over do the greens however.  large amounts of fresh greens can lead to intestinal upset and runny feces.  Cucumbers are a refreshing treat for the flock.  Placing a large chunk of cabbage into a wire basket and suspending the basket at beak level adds a boredom buster the the flock’s day. 

Herb Gardening for Chickens 

I grow as big an herb garden as I can each year. Starting in the early spring with some seeds and some started plants, I tend the herbs and frequently harvest and disperse to the flocks here on the farm. Since some herbs are tender I grow them in raised beds or container gardens away from the chicken flock. I don’t want them trampled or the roots destroyed by a scratching chicken. 

There are very few herbs that your chickens can’t have as a treat or a health boost. In addition to garlic, pumpkins and dandelions, herbs will do the most good for your flock if fed fresh in small amounts frequently. 

Gardening with Chickens, by Lisa Steele provides many ideas of what to grow in your herb garden for the chickens. In addition to herbs, many other plants are safe for chickens to consume.  The herbs can be used to make infused oils, salves and teas to help correct health issues in the flock, too. 

Many herbs will lend specific benefits to your flock. Check the chapter “Gardening for Orange Egg Yolks” to read more about marigolds, borage, carrots, and parsley. 

Don’t forget the benefit of growing herbs for the coop environment, too. Not only will the herbs freshen the air, calm the hens,and relax the egg laying mechanism, herbs are great at repelling rodents and insects naturally. I love snipping herbs on the way to the chicken yard.  Sprinkle the herbs on the nests, in the feed bowls, and even in the water! An herbal “tea” will add many health benefits to your flock.

Edible Flowers for Chickens 

A great addition to your vegetable garden are edible flowers. Not only are some garden flowers good for insect repellent in the garden but chickens can eat some of the flowers too.  Violets, roses, mallow, daisies and sunflowers are good choices for a garden that you share with chickens.

Pumpkins Take Room to Grow,

But the Chickens will Love the Treat

Pumpkins are an essential treat on our farm.  Last year was a great year for pumpkins and markets in our area were selling pumpkins at the most reasonable price I have seen in years.  I supplemented what we grew ourselves, with a huge box of small pumpkins from the farmers market.  We had fresh pumpkins to give the chickens up until March. 

An added, essential benefit of feeding fresh pumpkin is the natural worming properties.  The seeds of the pumpkin contain a substance that renders the worms paralyzed.  The worms are then expelled with the feces.  We do not have a worm problem in our flock, but I still prevent it with fresh pumpkin.  Eating pumpkin seeds may not cure a heavy presence of intestinal worms but feeding pumpkin can help the gut stay healthy and unwelcome to future worms looking to stay. Pumpkins are also high in Beta carotene which helps promote good overall health.  Make sure you give your pumpkins plenty of room to roam while they grow and provide well draining soil and almost full sun.

chicken gardening

Cool Treats for Hot Summer Days 

By far the favorite treat we plant is watermelon.  Cool and refreshing to humans and flock members alike, nothing beats it on a hot, sultry summer day.  I chop the watermelon into large chunks and they dive right in.  The ducks will gobble up the sweet melon center all the way down to the thinnest rind.  The chickens will eat the entire watermelon, rind and all.  So the pieces the ducks leave behind eventually end up in the chicken run for the chicks to finish off.  No waste here!  If you have leftover cut up melon from a cook out, you can freeze the leftovers to bring out on a super hot day.  Water melon Popsicles!   It’s a nice way to keep them hydrated during the heat. Watermelons also contain valuable vitamins.

chicken gardening

chicken gardening

Legumes – Cooked First!

Beans, such as green pole beans or peas are another item to plant in your garden for both humans and chickens and ducks.  My ducks particularly love cooked green beans. (Feed only cooked or sprouted beans!)  Oh the quacking it brings on when I show up with leftover green beans.   Tomatoes and Corn are also welcome treats.  We have trouble keeping the racoons out of the corn.  They seem to know exactly when we are almost ready to pick the corn. The night before that, the racoons start partying in our corn field.  

chicken gardening

Other Chicken Gardening Cautions 

When you are chicken gardening, you may be tempted to throw the entire plant to your chickens. This is not a good idea.  The fruit of the tomato plant is an acceptable treat, but the green plant is toxic and can lead to illness in your chickens.  Err on the side of caution and only feed the fruit and then compost your plants after garden season is over.

Plants from the nightshade family are toxic.  These include potatoes, eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes.  The chemical solanine is contained in the plants and green fruit of the plants in the nightshade family.  Potato skins are toxic. Some people will cook the skins and feed them to the chickens.  I have always erred on the side of caution and not given the potato peels to them, cooked or raw.  If I feed the chickens any potatoes at all, it is cooked first and probably left over from our dinner! We love potatoes too! 

For an even more in depth discussion of harmful plants that you should not give your chickens, read Gardening with Chickens, chapter 4.  Do you know the difference between sweet potatoes and white potatoes?

Other Potential Problem Veggies 

Eggplants – Again, not a big favorite of my flock, maybe because I just don’t give it to them.  

Tomatoes- This is a tough one for me because my chickens have always loved tomatoes. The green tomatoes and the plant itself are potentially hazardous because of the solanine contained in the plant.  I try to limit the amount of tomatoes to a few a week mostly because the flock seems to get some digestive upset from over indulging in tomatoes.

Onions have a different chemical in them that can prove to be toxic to chickens.  Raw onions and the thiosulphate chemical can lead to anemia if fed to the chickens regularly.  I don’t give them onions unless there are some cooked onion in a bit of leftovers from our kitchen.

Peppers- Again, fruit is fine and enjoyed, the plant and any unripened fruit should not be given to the flock. Avocados should be avoided and the leaves from the rhubarb plant are toxic. 

Fruit Trees 

If your chicken gardening efforts include fruit trees, you should know that large amounts of the seeds of apples can cause toxicity and death.  The chickens will enjoy some apples for sure but skip the seeds containing naturally occurring cyanide, to be safe.

Many in the chicken raising community feel that it is acceptable to feed all compost items to the chickens.  The argument has been that chickens will eat what is ok and stop or avoid foods they shouldn’t eat.  In my flock observations, I have not found this to be true.  My raptors will eat everything in sight, and they have free choice layer feed, two times a day of free ranging time and occasional treats from the garden and produce aisle. 

Chicken Gardening and Destructive Chickens 

If you do not fence in the garden with some material that keeps the chickens out when you aren’t watching them, you will not have a garden for long.  Yes, the chickens will do a fantastic job of eating garden pests, aphids, tomato worms and will  help with some weed control.  Unfortunately, their ability to know when to stop scratching, and when to stop taste testing every tomato on the vine is limited.  When using your flock for true chicken gardening, I suggest supervision!

These are just a few ideas to get you started on your chicken garden.   The list of potentially toxic plants is not complete but is based on the more common garden grown produce. There are plenty of sources  available on chicken gardening.  Here are a few more references to help you get started.

 

chicken gardening

Other Suggested Resources on this topic:

Gardening with Chickens by Lisa Steele

What Herbs Keep Chickens Healthy

Free Range Chicken Gardens  by Jessi Bloom available through Amazon.

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, by Gail Damerow

 




9 Truths About Raising Goats

 

9 truths about raising goatsRaising goats teaches valuable lessons. Goats are popular additions to small farms and homesteading family’s back yards.  Goats are a versatile animals that can provide, milk, meat, and weed control.  Some breeds of goat are raised for fiber, that is spun into yarn. They are mostly easy to keep, friendly and comical additions to the family farm. And, goats can be a handful!  After raising goats, breeding, and caring for goats for fifteen years, I have compiled a list of 9 truths about raising goats.  I felt you should know some behind the scenes, real life experience from the goat barn.  

9 truths about goats

There is No Such Thing as a Dumb Goat

1. Goats will be directly in the path of where you want to walk, will stand in the feed bowl you wish to fill, and generally be jumping in your face when you are  in the pen.  Except for the time that you need to catch one for a health check or to treat an illness or injury.  The goats can smell a lead rope coming from 500 feet away.  The Herd Boss will tense and the herd will pick up on this body language.  They will work as a team to scatter the herd so you can not catch any of them.  It will look like the goats are just frantically running from you, but believe me, t they have a well orchestrated plan that will end with you sprawled in the mud with no goat at the end of the lead rope. 

9 truths about goats

Raising Goats will be Easy They Said……

Raising goats can be fairly easy but you need to remember that they have a mischief streak a mile wide!  You will learn to watch for potential danger to the goat and your belongings and learn to not leave things to chance.

2.  A goat with horns will be able to shove her head through a small fence opening.  She will not be able to remove her head however and will be stuck standing there until you rescue her.  This is particularly important to be aware of when anything is low hanging like a hay feeder.  Goats can become stuck and hang themselves.

3. Goats are herd animals and even if you have two goats, they may attempt to escape to locate a herd.  If the fencing is not strong and tall enough to keep them in, they will repeatedly escape.  The height of the fencing will depend on the size and breed of goat you choose.  I have had a pygmy goat jump over a four foot fence as if it was nothing.  

4. Goats prefer to forage rather than graze on grass.  If you let the goats out to graze in your yard, you will probably find them eating the bushes, vegetable garden or your neighbors flower bed.  

 

9 truths about goats

 

You Will Wonder at Times Why You Decided to Start Raising Goats

5.  Stopping by the barn, for a quick moment while wearing clean clothes will  require time set aside to go back to the house and change your clothes before heading to the appointment or meeting.  During the fall mating season, the buck will try everything imaginable to rub his smelly body against your pants, no matter how hard you try to avoid him touching you.  The goat who never jumps up will jump on you if you are wearing clean clothes.  

6.  Trying to pull a reluctant goat out of the stall using a lead rope and collar will get you nowhere, with a strained back.  Learn to work with the animal and its natural tendencies and not against.  Goats are unusually strong animals.

7.  Goats will go on a hunger strike if they have to walk across wet ground to get to the hay.

9 truths about goats

Raising Goats and Having Babies!

8.  While waiting for a pregnant doe to deliver, on her expected due date, nothing will happen.  When you take a break to use the bathroom or eat a meal, the doe will deliver one or two perfect kids in record time and you will miss the whole thing.  

The kids will be the cutest things since sliced bread. You will be totally smitten with each one. This may lead to you considering goat breeding as a side hobby, so that you can have more baby goats arrive on the farm. 

Raising Goats and Learning Lessons

9.  If you leave the feed shed or room open while the goats are out of their pen, they will know!  You will find a party going on in the feed room with containers opened, and goats trying to eat as much grain as they can before they are found.  It is extremely hard to convince them that the party is over.  This is a great lesson in behavior management, your behavior not theirs. You will learn to not leave the feed room open. 

Raising goats will show you where all of your farming weaknesses are. If you have a broken fence board, the goats will be happy to point that out to you. It will be the gaping hole where they left to visit the neighborhood across the way.  You know the one. Its the neighborhood with the gate at the entrance and all the yards are full of well tended flower beds and grass.  Oh and it will also be the one with the homeowner standing in the front yard waving wildly at your goats and yelling.

The goats will remind you that you haven’t yet given them a ride in your car. They will stand on the hood and have a head butting match.  Which will remind you of why you can’t have nice things. 

 

9 truths about raising goats

Goats will enrich your homestead life, drive you nuts, and make you laugh.  Provide your goats with plenty of sunshine, fresh air, a suitable stall or housing, and quality forage.  Use grain sparingly, unless feeding lactating does and kids.  Your goats will reward you with years of good farming fun and plenty of behavior lessons along the way. 

9 truths about goats

 

For further information read  Goat Care and Maintenance