Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Kids Being Kids

Two-month old goat kids feeding their curiosities.
Last year's week-old kids and lambs.

Yanking out the dandelions.
As I bicycled up the farm driveway on Monday, I noticed a few white shapes frolicking across the field. Some of the goat kids had managed to escape from their creek-side pasture into the vegetable field! I quickly parked my bike and alerted a farmer. "Yeah, we know." she told me, followed by, "Not again! I've had just about enough of those. . ."

It seems the goat kids have tried this trick frequently during the past week. Every year, the farmers build a veritable playground out of planks and stumps for the new flock of youngsters to practice jumping and climbing on. They gain dexterity very quickly, finding their way onto their mothers' backs for a walkabout or onto any low-slung rooftops and trees, and yes, even out of fences within the first week or two of their lives.

Looks like the camera is next on the menu!
After about two months of canoodling with their mothers, they are weened and put in a separate pen. By then their natural curiosities have turned from climbing on everything to nibbling on everything. Rather than graze like sheep, goats tend to browse like deer, choosing the most succulent shrubs and weeds.

In the case of these goats, the most succulent weeds were to be found in the not-yet planted vegetable patch! During the time I spent with them, it seemed like they sought out dandelion flowers to eat first, before eating the rosettes of leaves, deadnettle stalks and long grasses. Grazing the tops of these weeds and grasses, just as they may be cut with a lawnmower, shrinks the roots every time it is done. So even though the goats may not eat the whole weed (although they might eat the roots too if they were easy to access), they are helping prepare the vegetable field in their own way. Goats at this farm also help reduce poison ivy throughout the year, eating all parts of the noxious vine.


  1. Hi Kate, great photos and tidbits about goats. Sounds like an unexpectedly charming bike ride. I recently heard about a new local company that rents out goats to clear properties of weeds and poison ivy. I thought that was a creative solution!

  2. What a cute blog and a cute post! I never expected to see goat kids when I read your title. I love the background on your blog, too!

  3. what a nice blog you have. and tnx for visiting me :)

  4. Thanks for your comments! I've heard of renting chickens from one of the farms around here, but never goats- what a great idea (as long as they stay far away from the perennials)!


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