Friday, October 3, 2008

Gotta love goats!

The Colorado Springs Gazette has a great article about pack goats. I am already sold on the idea of training a wether to pull a cart and work in the garden. In fact, little Maestro, my mini mancha, is going to be trained to drive. I had not given much thought to using the goats as pack animals until I read this story, but it points out a lot of reasons why goats are well suited to this job. Now I'm thinking about how Maestro can help us to carry firewood and things like that.

The article also included a bit of goat trivia, including a hypothesis about why goats have such a bad reputation in this country:

At best they're seen as ornery, randy, aggressive, stinky beasts - bad boys of the barnyard that will eat anything from tin cans to laundry off the line. At worst, they are a symbol of Satan himself.

Maybe all the bad press goes back to ancient Hebrew practices of heaping the community's ills on a sacrificial scapegoat, or to early Christianity's demonization of the half-goat Pagan god Pan. Maybe it's a xenophobic remnant of America's first immigrants, who were mostly cow-tending English, against later goat-tending immigrants from the Mediterranean.

I've always wondered why goats lack popularity in this country. Of course, no one has to convince me of how awesome goats are ... they are definitely my favorite animals on the homestead. If only my sheep made more milk and were amenable to being milked, then it would be tough to choose a favorite. In fact, the sheep milk is even richer than the Nigerian goat milk, and it makes delicious yogurt.


melanie said...

Well...if someone could invent a fence that kept goats where they were supposed to stay that didn't rely on cement block and razor wire...I'm sure their popularity would rise! (*grin*)

I'll take the Shetlands...

Deborah said...

Doesn't sound like you've been reading my blog very long. The goats are not any tougher to keep fenced than the sheep. In fact, last spring, my husband was ready to make lamb chops out of the whole flock. They spent one night in the woods about 1/2 mile from our farm. They wouldn't budge once the sun started to set, so we finally gave up well after dark and went back at sunrise the next morning. Their wool insulates them against being shocked by electric fencing, so it only works for about three months after they're sheared. After that, the world is their pasture. Their new pasture is woven wire, which is working so far.

Woven wire also works for the goats, although I have small goats, so that might make it easier. I've heard that electric works better for large breeds.

Gizmo said...

Electric does work better for the large breeds. :) We, however, choose not to use it because of our dogs...only the buck pens get electrified.
We use the stiff cattle panels around the perimeter, and a lot of yelling, calling their names, name calling and sighing, throughout the rest of the farm. ;)


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