Goats in the Garden- June 2012

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Rain, rain and more rain!

Someone up there must be laughing at us.  Ever since they declared a hosepipe ban in the South East the rain has barely stopped. Not one day has gone by without rain sometime during the day and some days, like today, it is torrential and has been raining for 5 hours. My goat run is awash and as it is on a slope, which slopes the wrong way, I am beginning to think sandbags are the only option. The rain is bad enough but garden goat keepers know it is clearing up the mess left after the rain has stopped which is worse and  what`s more my wellington boots have sprung a leak! I use a power hose occasionally to hose down the run, I find it quite therapeutic, (we have a water meter so I don`t feel too guilty) but since the hosepipe ban this pleasure has been denied me. (I don`t get out much)

 In one of the rainstorms I did think about donning my wet weather gear and going out with a broom to sweep the run, but I soon decided against that and curled up with a cup of tea and a chocolate digestive instead.

It is the end of April as I write this, we are off on holiday next week with our daughter and her family, hopefully when we get back it will have stopped raining.

Talking of holidays, I have got a `Debbie`. Everyone should have one, especially if you live in a town with very few goat loving friends. A lot of garden goat keepers do not have the back up support of our more rural friends and this has always been a problem for me at holiday time. My children had all flown the nest and anyway they were never very interested in the goats. I tried Homesitters a couple of times but they were very expensive and I gave up on them when we came home to find the boyfriend had moved in as well.

I found my `Debbie` by advertising in the local paper. I put in an ad asking if anyone would be interested in looking after a small herd of pygmy goats for holiday cover. I was amazed at the response. Most of them were quite unsuitable but out of the numerous applicants one or two seemed possible. Then a few days later I had a call from a lady who lived in the next street and she was perfect. She loved animals, rescued rabbits, enjoyed being outside all weathers and seemed a very sensible person. I had found my `Debbie` That was 5 years ago now and it changed my life.


I know a lot of garden goat keepers are also breeders, it is not so easy when you do not keep your own male and most of us are unable to do that in a garden situation. There are, however, pluses to not keeping a male. Looking after an entire male is hard work, just their general care is much more difficult and they are very hard on the fencing. This year I am having my fencing replaced in the area I keep for the borrowed male as the constant butting of the posts has loosened several of them and he has used his horns to make holes in the wire.  Therefore I feel the stud fees that are charged are well earned.


 Most of my kids have now gone to their new homes and the run looks sadly empty. I am only keeping one female kid this year as I really don`t have the room for more, it was quite difficult to decide who to keep but I am pleased with Flora and fingers crossed she will behave well in the show ring.

The showing season is beginning so why not make this the year you give it a try.


In a few weeks time when hopefully someone is reading this, we may be basking in glorious sunshine and the times when we were giving up goat keeping will be forgotten.


Best wishes


Viv McNeil