Thursday, September 10, 2009

Busy

I just found a couple of comments and thought I would answer them here since they were a few posts ago.

Most of the goats in the photos belong to Black Locust Farm, a large cashmere goat farm in Liberty, Maine. I help out there doing various farm chores, and comb cashmere during the season. They have a web site at http://blacklocust.com . I have some goats of my own, as well; a few fiber goats and some dairy types.

Horns vs no horns. Most folks like to disbud. One blog I follow, allnaturalsimplelife.blogspot.com disbuds. I am sure she would discuss the pros of disbudding. All of the black locust goats, and all but one of my goats, are horned. At first I was a bit frightened of the horns. There is certainly a risk of injury with a horned goat.

Once I was combing a goat on his neck, and he turned his head quickly and I got a horn in the eye. I thought I was in big trouble, but it was fine after I rolled in agony on the snow for a minute. Sometimes if you go in with grain or hay they will push you in the back of the legs. So we tie them up and then grain them. Or toss the hay over the fence and then go in and spread it.

I have read that goats can't sweat and their horns help keep them from overheating. And obviously they are a defense against predators. We also use horns as handles, but they can be broken so care must be taken. Goats really don't like their horns grabbed, so I only do it as a last resort to hold them.

I feel sorry for my one goat that was disbudded. He does try to butt heads with the other goats, but not for long. Also he has to run from them since he can't fight back.

The biggest risk of injury to other goats is sometimes they play a goat version of "mercy". One goat will wedge the front leg of another goat in between their horns and twist. The owner of BLF and I were talking about it the other day, and she said she has heard of goats getting their legs broken that way, but it has yet to happen to one of her goats.

Bucks and wethers get big horns, does have much smaller, more fragile horns. Different breeds have different styles of horns. Even among the fiber goats, you can have swept back horns (curled by the head) or horns that stick out sideways and curl out. I have had alpine goats, and their horns grow straight up and then curl back.

I hope that helps!

Now to my blog posting today:

It's that time of year, running around like a squirrel gathering nuts.

Busy working at the farm, doing all kinds of stuff. My favorite task is playing goat herder, or is that herdress?

The nineteen big bucks go for a walk everyday. They are kept on a big old farm (we call it Jenny Nash Farm)that a woman is leasing to grow organic vegetables. So when the bucks go out of site into the lower field, someone has to go keep an eye on them, or they might get into the garden.

You can see how they like to eat right up to the edge. This is two of the yearling boys, Jacolby on the left, and Yul. And no, that fence is not hot, it is just for looks, I guess.





This is not a particularly nice pic of the bucks, but it shows autumn coming on, and a nice view of the waning moon.



Here is one of the old guys, Monarch.

2 comments:

~Tonia said...

I love the old man goat. They are all so pretty!!
My goats would be right in the middle of that garden as soon as you turned your back!!

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