Bummer! I had this all written, but lost it. Ugh! Sooo, I will try again. I will just have to remember to hit “Save Draft” numerous times as I go!
Anyhow, I have been making short forays out into our pasture with my little herd of goats over the last week or so. Not all planned, but when they are out and about and see me with the dogs in the field, they think that they should be following too! I had texted my neighbor and let him know that I would be venturing out onto his field sometime when the weather and time permitted and had vague plans of taking them this weekend. But I had a long list of things to do, (still undone!) and wasn’t really planning on taking them today. But they had other plans, as they were hanging out in front of my house when I was going to take the dogs for their morning walk. So off we went, 8 dogs, 10 goats, and me!
It is rather difficult to walk in a straight line when the goats are milling around you and sometimes surging forward, sometimes stopping, just because. But we made it down to the fence line and we went through without any tripping on my part and without losing any of the goats. I did kinda get hung up on the barbed wire fence, but with the boys’ help, I made it through and we headed out into the neighboring field.
The boys weren’t too impressed with the food choices at the fence line, only nibbling and tasting here and there. This field is not watered at all, so the only thing that grows is native plants and sagebrush for the most part. Oh, and lots of Russian Knapweed. Ugh! So I headed towards the gully where there are some Russian Olive trees and some Tamarisk. They enjoyed the few leaves left on the Russian Olive but didn’t touch the Tamarisk. Bummer, as it is a noxious weed tree and I am hoping that the goats will take it on. Maybe sometime later, like in the spring when it starts to leaf out, it will taste good to them.
They sampled a bit here and a bit there, but as they are browsers and not grazers, they didn’t hang around any one plant too long. They all did gather around a little juniper tree and munched on it for a minute or two, but then grew bored and decided to explore a bit down the gully.
Here is a video that I took of our first venture off of our property.
Probably the wrong time of year to start taking them for walks, but it is good for them to learn to stay with me and go where I go. I need to figure out how to get them across the field, across the road and through the neighbors ranchyard to his field where a lot of coyote willow is growing. It is so darn thick that it makes it almost impossible to get through to find the ditch to irrigate from. Hoping that if I am still here with my goats in the springtime that I can walk them down there and see how they do on it. Although I don’t expect them to make a big dent in it at first, if they continue to eat it down, I think it will set the plants back to a point where they will die off. We will see. If they can do well there, then I can get them to munch on the willows in other areas of his acreage that is in the way of the irrigation pipes and just really needs to be controlled and removed.
I might need to get a few more goats to really do much, but at least my little herd of 10 will be a good start for me. As I mentioned, if I stay here, I will be exploring the goat and weed control business on some of the neighboring ranches. But in order to do it justice, I will need a lot more goats.