Goats in the Garden-June 2010

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We have had some lovely weather recently, (it is the end of April as I write this) and everything in the garden is beginning to grow and blossom. The Jerusalem artichokes I mentioned previously are showing through and it looks like it will be another bumper crop.

I gave my redundant henhouse and run away on Freecycle, and now have a bigger area for my vegetables. This year I am trying onions, beetroot, runner beans and potatoes, it is beginning to feel like `The Good Life`

I had five females in kid this year and I ended up with seven kids, three girls and four boys. The vet paid a few visits as usual but they all survived and are now lively, healthy kids enjoying the warm sunshine.

With kidding comes the problem of finding `good` homes for the kids. It was difficult in the past when the main contact with potential goat keepers was at shows or by word of mouth. As I enjoyed showing I wanted to breed to try and improve my stock, but being a garden goat keeper I had very limited space and knew I would have to part with some.

It is much easier now with the coming of the Internet. I have a website and I receive a lot of enquiries in this way, so finding good homes is no longer a problem. That is not to say that all the enquiries are from `good homes`, I still need to vet potential customers carefully and get to know them before I will let any kids go.

If you want to breed and have limited space then an ageing population of elderly goats can become a problem. You then have to either stop breeding or, as I occasionally do, consider selling a mother with her kids. This is actually much more difficult than selling kids as you become very attached to your goats the longer you have them, each with their own personality and likes and dislikes. I have to remind myself that this might be kinder than separating the mothers from their kids, although, having said that, most mothers do seem to get over the separation very quickly.

I spent yesterday morning vaccinating and tagging my kids, a job I dislike intensely. It is a two-man job and my reluctant husband was prised off his computer to come and help. He has always maintained that he is allergic to my goats (something which I dispute) and will only touch them once he is kitted out with a coat and very thick gloves. I always find the boy kids make much more fuss than the girl kids. (No surprise there then!)  However, they were all duly tagged and apart from the odd shake of the head seem not to be too bothered.

In fairness to my husband, he has spent today fixing holes in the goat fencing. After twenty odd years the post and rail with chain link is beginning to show signs of wear and one of the inquisitive kids found her way out. She trampled my onions, with the odd nibble here and there, I was just glad she had not discovered anything more dangerous. I found another hole left by the removal of the henhouse. It is surprising just how small a hole needs to be for a kid to squeeze through. Looks like the brownie points are mounting up for Ian.

The Pygmy Goat Chat group has been fairly busy recently and some topics covered include, contracted leg tendons, signs of kidding, worming, transporting, urinary calculi and fencing. If anyone would like to join the group send an email to:


It is an easy way to get helpful advice on all subjects to do with

pygmy goat keeping.

Just to finish, I hope some of you have given a little thought to showing your goats this summer, it really is a great day out and there are plenty of people who will be pleased to help.


Happy Summer Time


Viv McNeil


01372 818039.