Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Goats Everywhere...

Meet Emma and Ben, two Boer goats. Boer goats are brown and white. You may have noticed that our Boer goats are also red. That's good 'ol South Carolina red clay. It doesn't come out of ANYTHING. (Notice it on their tails. Sigh.) Emma is Ben's mother. Boer goats are raised for meat, but these are pets.

Goat management is another issue that turns out to be more trouble than we thought. We did read up on goats before we got them, and everyone said that fencing is a major problem, since goats are escape artists and appear to have strong feelings about getting to that greener grass on the other side. But the fellow we got them from said that these were big goats and would love our pasture so much they wouldn't want to leave.
Ha, ha, ha.
We have barbed wire fencing around the entire property, divided into two pasture areas, one of which contains the pond. When the two Boer goats arrived, we realized to our dismay that one was a kid. The owner said he wouldn't stray far from mama. And he doesn't stray far -- just to the other side of the fence, which drives her wild, so she pushes through any available opening to get to him. It turns out there are a lot of available openings.
Most are now plugged up with anything we could find, but none of it is quite enough. So Sunday we're having someone come to hot-wire the top and bottom strands so they'll get a slight shock if they try to get through.
I really, really hope it works. We're spending a lot of time chasing goats right now. (If we don't, they'll eat our new landscaping around the house, and possibly get out into the road.) They're tame enough that they'll eat out of our hands, but they don't like getting chased back into the pasture, and we don't like doing it.
This property was originally set up for cattle. When we decided to get horses, we learned that horse people don't consider barbed wire safe for horses. In fact, when we visited a local equine rescue facility, we found that they won't even give a horse to someone with barbed wire fencing. The fear is that the horse will bolt, and get entangled in the wire, seriously injuring itself.
This is one of those areas where we're finding a big gulf between what should be done...and what country people actually do. Most of the locals we mentioned this to told us that they've had horses with barbed wire their whole lives and never have had a problem. We've found several people willing to give us horses who have no issue with our having barbed wire, including the lady we got Gus and Tina from. Since it would be a small forture to re-fence the place, we're just electrifying the fence and hoping they're right.

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