Monday, March 26, 2007

Web footed chickens and wild goats

Rain, rain, and more rain. We seemed to go from winter to late spring in the course of a day. The past few days we have had buckets of rain. There is a ditch that runs through our pasture that is supposed to direct all the runoff from the hillside towards the stream. Years of bush-hogging the pasture has broken down the ditch to the point that it does very little water directing. The result is that when we get a lot of rain the pasture gets pretty soggy. The chickens had to live in 2 or 3 inches of running water for a couple of days. They didn't seem to mind, but there feet are becoming webbed.

After the rain stopped I thought it would be a good idea to put the goats out on pasture. They need some time in the sun and some new green grass. Last year we had three young goats that had been hand raised and were easy for us to train to lead. In the morning we would put a lead on each of them and take them to where ever we had their fence set for the day. In the evening we would lead them back to the barn. This year things are a little different. We have six goats, the three from last year and three we purchased in February. Of the three new goats one of them is small and very easy to handle. The other two are larger, the biggest weighing about 165 lbs, and not used to being handled. We have been working with them since February and they have calmed down a lot. So... we captured the four easy goats and led them to pasture. The other two gave us quite a rodeo getting leads on them, but we got them out to the pasture too. Once they were there they settled right down to eating. Each goat tested the electric fence once and then left it alone. After the excitement of catching and leading them to get them out to pasture I knew we wouldn't be able to get them back to the barn the same way. In Texas we had moved the goats to and from the barn in an ally made from electric fence. I thought I could set up a similar system here that would be easy to relocate when we moved the goats to a new paddock. So, I got the fencing supplies and set up the ally. Everything looked great. The goats had spent a nice day on pasture and were ready to come back to the barn. I got a bucket of grain, switched the charger to the ally fence and called the goats to follow me back to the barn. Goats went everywhere except where I wanted them too. I lost my temper, threw things, and had a general fit. (I've been working with the kids on not doing this, some great example I am.) We eventually got everyone returned to the barn, milked, and settled in for the night. It looks like the goats will be spending the next few days in the barn while I try to figure out a new fencing plan.
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