Monday, February 13, 2012

Putting the girls to bed

There is nothing like feeding the animals in a cozy barn on a cold night.  Deep bedding, gorgeous hay, grateful goats....wind swirling outside but not coming into the open barn door.....heaven!
Hmm, what happened to Ginger's huge ears in this picture?  They are there, I promise!  See her baby bump?  Triplets again, maybe?

Peach, Second in Command, steals hay from Mya The Queen's hay bag while Mya is locked up in a stall temporarily.

Plum slips out into the dark (that light is all was very dark out tonight!) to see if anyone left anything good behind in their feed tubs....look at those rusty thighs on that girl.  Past time to copper bolus everyone.  The flash does make it look worse than it is, though.

Plum is wary...both Peach and Mya tend to kick her out.  She is very good at sneaking some hay and biding her time until she can safely slip in, usually as the Queen and First Princess start feeling full and satisfied.

She is a very good eater and makes sure she gets plenty.  She is also very clever at begging food from me when I am filling hay bags.  She's very quiet about it and gets a fair amount of hay into her belly before anyone else even notices that hay is being doled out.

I recently decided that the pregnant girls who are no longer lactating need some reserves.  Last spring, when Peach's first litter was triplets, she was absolutely skeletal for many weeks while she put everything into making those babies and then into producing milk for three.  Towards the end of summer she was finally a healthy weight again.  I'm not taking any chances this year.  They are all getting some reserves in the form of once a day graining. 

To do this, I needed to figure out a way to feed everyone and still maintain my sanity.  Rotating each girl through the stall or taking them out into the yard one by one did NOT work.  It meant a fight at the gate with lots of shoving and yelling and trampling....I was the one yelling and getting shoved and trampled.  Not working.  Hence this the girls on this video of me putting the girls to bed.



  1. Watched your video of bedtime. Looks like you've worked out a good safe system! Fascinating watching the dynamics of flock or herd behaviors, isn't it?

  2. Yes, I've always enjoyed that, and spent many an hour watching the horses interact when I worked on a horse farm. It is probably my work with horses that makes me not feed grain communally to my goats. Each individual has different needs, and I do like interacting with them individually each day.

  3. Ahh, the horse connection. I've had horses since childhood and it was them that taught me to watch the body language and herd dynamics. Once you know that, it makes watching humans even more fascinating. LOL

  4. Just came in from a late feeding. After a week of this system, I'm officially hooked. So peaceful, and I get better quality goat therapy myself, since everyone gets to eat and I can scritchy-scratch and snuggle each goat without interruption. Especially Ginger, my most picked on girl and my best snuggler.