Goats Galore


Carol TornettaFrancis

On Valentine’s Day, some couples dress up and go out to a fancy dinner. Some couples exchange candy and flowers and cards and other gifts. Still others go away for a romantic weekend. This year, we went to a livestock seminar at our local feed store.

As the presenter from the county extension office discussed the general benefits and shortcomings of raising one’s own sheep, pigs, and goats, we were watching a baby goat jumping on and off a somewhat disinterested pig. It was a fascinating visual aid. It was difficult to focus on the presenter’s message with so much cuteness and plain joy in that pen, but Mark and I both heard him say “sheep will cut your lawn, but goats will eat all your weeds.” Our heads snapped toward each other simultaneously as we chirped to one another “we need a goat.”

We had struggled mightily the first year on the farm keeping weeds under control, with a resulting infestation of burdocks that damaged some of our alpacas’ fleece. We wanted to decrease the likelihood that this would happen again, but without the application of gallons of chemical with dubious safety effects. So we began the obligatory Google surfing for “goats for sale near me.” As luck would have it, our friends at Blue Mountain Farm and Fiber Mill had an angora buckling available. It seemed both providential, and also too easy.

We set out to find a place on the property to house the goat, and quickly realized that a good goat home could be established in what we called the “run in,” a large, three sided building that, at some time in the past, had housed dairy cows. In our eighteen months on Hard Hill, it had served as an auxiliary, free choice shelter for the alpacas and hens. Its location uphill from the barnyard and house offered more direct sunlight and breezes; the herd often slept there on spring nights while in full fleece, presumably to escape the warmth of the barn.

Colin carries materials

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