When I first started breeding goats, like many others I went in blind. I didn't have a lot of knowledge about them at all so I read everything I could on the internet, bought all of the goat books I could find and joined every goat Facebook page ever invented. BUT did any of these tell me the REAL story of owning goats? No...not one, they conveniently or maybe on purpose left a lot of the reality out. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my goats, they are my life, my world and sooo entertaining and full of love but they sure do keep me on my toes...trust me if their is mischief to be found they will find it.
So I have put together just a few things that I have learnt while owning these addictive little creatures.
LESSON NUMBER 1 - unless you are a world famous goat wrangler, you will never catch a goat in a large pen or paddock by trying to chase it around and around.
They are much faster, more nimble and can jump way better than you can so you need to think smart to be a goat handler/owner. I do everything as stress free as possible now days, instead of chasing them into a pen when I need to handle them I regularly go into the pen and feed them a treat so when it's time to round them all up for worming/vaccinations/hoof trimming they happily follow me in there and I just shut the gate behind them. I have them so happy to have their hooves done etc now that they actually fight over who is going to get onto the milk stand first to get the yummy food.
LESSON NUMBER 2 - Don't EVER wear thongs around your goats.
Trust me when I say you should never, ever under any circumstances go barefoot or wear thongs around your goats. They will always stand on your toes, and if you have just ONE toe that is sore they will find it and stand on it...I'm still trying to decide if this is accidental or if they have some inert 6th sense for sniffing out a sore toe and standing on it. Gum boots or work boots is what you need, however I have had a few goats with a fetish for anything rubber so they may take a liking to your gumboots and thongs and will show this by biting and butting them while you're wearing them to your utter distraction and annoyance.
LESSON NUMBER 3 - Goats never learn by their mistakes.
You know how it is, you come home and check on your goats and there's one with it's head stuck in somewhere it shouldn't be, you help the goat and say "well that will teach you not to stick your head in where it shouldn't be in future won't it?".....I hate to break it to you guys but nope it will still stick it's head back in there time and time again and get stuck. Only way for that not to happen is to fix the hole where it got it's head stuck.
I also falsely believed that with goats being all agile and such they wouldn't break a leg, wrong again...I've heard of a lot of goats with broken legs because of their inbuilt desire to be up high...they will jump on anything they can even your beautiful car. So don't ever put anything near a fence or they will be over it in a flash.
LESSON NUMBER 4 - You will acquire supersonic goat hearing.
You will come to know any little sound that your goats make that is out of the ordinary. No matter how many goats you own you will know every little bleat and who it belongs to. If one is bleating more than usual or in an out of the ordinary way you will notice it....but your partner sitting right beside you on his phone/tablet won't hear a thing and think you're completely mad. On investigation you will find that you were evidently correct and your favourite little 4 legged bundle of mischief has managed to get itself stuck somewhere yet again.....always check everything that doesn't sound right to you.
LESSON NUMBER 5 - You don't choose your goats food....they do.
You know that story you've heard about goats eating anything? A pure myth.
You know that gorgeous smelling expensive hay/chaff you bought that you thought your goats will love? A pure myth.
I have learnt that goats will choose their feed. Sometimes I can buy awesome looking hay and they will turn their noses up at it but then go and eat the straw bedding I've put down for them. I have bought bags of mixed lucerne/barley chaff and they won't touch it. I bought separate bags of lucerne, oaten and barley chaff and mixed them together and they don't like it but will eat it begrudgingly.....and yet I buy a pre-mixed bag of combination chaff from a different produce store and they fight each other for it...go figure.
Well guys and girls there you have it, I have many more lessons I could teach you but I think 5 is enough for today,