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Easing our goats back onto grass

Walking goats

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.

Pulling goat

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?

Three goats

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?

Buckling

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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