The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Winter mud in the goat pasture

Muddy goat yard

One of the problems with goats in the winter is mud. Even if you pick a very well-drained spot for them, they'll tend to hang out at the gate closest to human activity. The result is trampled up mud, like this.

(In case you're curious, this is one of the bucks Artemesia turned down during her driveway date. She had three choices --- such a lucky girl!)

Finishing a goat gate

Our caprine companions deal with the issue by finding stumps to stand on, which keeps their hooves dry but still leaves me feeling like a slacker goatkeeper. So Mark finished off the gate he'd been adding to pasture two so we could rotate the girls over.

Goat stretching for honeysuckle

I'd like to say we'd stockpiled winter forage for the goats to enjoy in this new pasture, but we're not to that point yet. Abigail ate the few honeysuckle leaves she'd missed during her previous occupation, then the girls went back to the barn to dine on hay. At least they won't have to walk through mud for a few weeks now.

I'm curious to hear what others do about mud-pits in their winter pastures. Do you lay down gravel in those sacrifice areas, have big enough pastures that the goats don't congregate in the same spot all the time, or something entirely different?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Wood chips. Often the local tree trimmers who work for town or county or power company clearing lines are happy to dump these for free. You might have to haul yours in from wherever they could dump close to your entrance, but i love the chips and use em everywhere
Comment by Deb Sat Dec 19 16:16:53 2015
Deb --- That's the one flaw of us living so far from the road. We've gotten wood chips dumped before, but it ends up being too much effort to get them back here in bulk. So I generally rake leaves out of the woods instead for easy found carbon. But I agree wood chips would be perfect in this scenario!
Comment by anna Sun Dec 20 16:59:11 2015

I just put their hay in the muddy spots. They eat what they want and the rest takes care of the trampled ground. Even though they are on an acre they still spend most of the day in that one spot by the gate.

Comment by T Mon Dec 21 14:48:23 2015

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