Easing our goats back onto grass
It's been a long time since I took our goats out to play. First, the honeysuckle
started to give out, then the snow fell and completely covered
everything edible. But now our grass is just barely starting to grow in
the sunniest part of the yard, so I decided it was high time I started
reconditioning our herd's gut bacteria. Five minutes longer nibbling on
grass each day means that our goats' digestive system will stay happy on
the fresh greenery, and I figure within a week or two the ruminants
will be safe to graze lush grass at will. Abigail thinks this plan is
the ultimate in human stupidity...but I hold the leash.
Well, I try
to hold the leash. I'd meant to walk our little herd to the other side
of our core homestead where sun is really making the grass grow, but as
soon as Abby saw the tall rye coming up in the front garden, she decided
it was time to dine. Rye held little to no appeal this past winter, but
I guess the lush new growth tastes sweeter now --- the leaves even
smell sweeter as I stand by and watch our doe chew. She also went for
tiny new clover leaves barely pushing a quarter of an inch above the
ground, in search of protein to go in her milk, I suspect. Those alfalfa
pellets we bought are being eaten avidly, but who wants dried when they
can have fresh?
Abigail has a voracious
appetite --- making milk uses up lots of calories. In contrast,
Artemesia is just learning to walk on a leash, so our smaller goat spent
much more time figuring out how not to get her feet tangled than she
did eating. As for Lamb Chop, he apparently thinks dirt is tastier than
grass. And who really needs to eat solid food when the milk bar is open?
At the moment, Lamb Chop
is also too young to need a leash. Which is a good thing since I'm not
sure I could handle three goats in my two hands. On the other hand, our
buckling is much braver at two weeks old than Artemesia was at six
months old. When Mark came out for our photo shoot, Lamb Chop kept
trying to follow my husband across the yard rather than staying with the
goat herd. Maybe our buckling has realized that he's one of very few
males on our farm and figures the guys need to hang together?
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