Sunday, August 10, 2014

It's a Girl!

Eiar poses for the camera.
We have a girl!  Today we made a trip to Grand Isle, VT to pick up the newest member of our herd, a small female Nigerian Dwarf named Eiar.  Eiar comes to us from Capsand Creamery, where she lived with her siblings.

Our plan is to breed Eiar, with hopes of having kidlings and milk for the spring.  This will be something new for us, as we've only had wethers in the past.

Eiar was gentle and calm on the ride home, barely making a sound.  She had no problems with either the kids or adults that we introduced her to.

As my wife led her down to the barn, the boys sat up and took notice.  Our barn suddenly turned into a high-school dance.  The boys started butting each other, trying to show off, but wouldn't go near Eiar.  For her part, she just ignored them as she checked out her new home.

Time to introduce her to the boys.

Look!  A girl!

Is that food?


Friday, August 8, 2014

Moving Day!

Kids in a car.
The big day is here!  This afternoon we loaded up goats, cattle panels, fence, fence posts, hay and food, and move our boys from one farm to another.

For those who are wondering, yes, you can fit three Nigerian Dwarfs into the back of a Ford Escape with room to spare, and no, they don't back-seat drive.

Goats and supplies were picked up at my sister's farm by my father-in-law and ourselves.  With everything loaded up, we made the 45 minute trek north to the goats' new home in West Rutland.

Blackberry checking out the new space.
Once at the new location, we let the goats out of the back of my SUV and let them play in the field while we unloaded the fence.  Since there wasn't time to erect the permanent fence, Christy and I unloaded the cattle panels that we use for temporary fencing and placed those next to the barn, giving the boys enough room to run, and plenty of grass to eat while we get more permanent features in place.

Hoover, Blackberry and Strawberry seem to like the new location.  They'll have a lot more grass to eat here, and the barn is bigger than what they've been living in.

More photos of moving day:

Kelen loads Hoover into the back.

Elaina and Daddy mug for the camera.

Strawberry and Hoover are unimpressed.

My Wife's Goats. They'll follow her anywhere.

Gabriella visits with the boys.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

More Barn Work

Horse (soon to be goat) barn.
This evening we went up to my in-laws to do some more work on the barn in preparation for moving our goats.  Mostly this consisted of filling in holes in the dirt floor, patching open open spaces in the walls, and putting down a nice clean bed of wood shavings for the animals.  We also closed off the storage section of the barn.

Things are looking good for the move.  We'll bring the goat's current fence along with us when we move them, along with their water buckets, mineral feeder, and so on.

Christy and Elaina finish leveling the stall.

The girls make the goat pen into an impromptu dance floor.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Preparing for Goats

Farmer G.
For the last three years, my wife and I have been keeping our pet goats, Hoover, Blackberry and Strawberry on my sister's property while we lived in a rental house in a nearby town.  Every few days we'd go water them, check their feed, and do whatever chores needed to be done.

Recently it was decided that our family would be moving to my in-law's house.  Their property is roughly 18 acres, which includes a barn where my wife kept horses when she was a teenager.  After many years, our animals and our family would be in the same place.

Before we could move anyone, though, we had to prepare.  Our first step was to clean out the horse barn, and build a new pen for the goats.  Gabriella dressed in her best farmer outfit for the occasion.

Cleaning out the barn and building the new pen took up a good part of the day.  First we had to move a pile of insulation that was being stored in the barn, then clean up the rocks, boards, nails, and various bits of old car parts that had been put in the building over the years.  Once that was finished, we raked and dug the years-old powdery horse manure left by the previous occupants.  In the area where we were going to build the goat pen, we dug down to bare earth.

With the digging and raking complete, we partitioned the barn into three sections.  On the left side we built the goat pen, fencing in a room-sized area with metal wire and a gate.  On the right side, we fenced off the length of the barn, setting that space aside for storage.  The center section of the barn was left open.  Later we'll clean up some more, and add windows to the goat pen so that it can be closed up against winter weather.

Gab and Christy show off the new goat stall.

New pressboard for one side.
Gate and new fence.