Goats in the Garden-June 2011

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Viv McNeil


Well, we certainly can`t complain about the weather at the moment.(it is early May), here in the South East the weather has been glorious for several weeks and looking at the forecast it would seem to be similar in most places. No doubt we will soon be worrying about the lack of rain and a hosepipe ban, but for the moment just let`s enjoy the sunshine.

I have just come back up from the garden where I was tagging and vaccinating my kids with the help of my husband. You certainly need someone with a strong grip to hold them still, ear tagging is probably the worst job I can think of and it is such a relief when it is done. I had six kids this year, all boys, all very quick and easy except for one caesarean. which was head only, and the vet was unable to bring the legs forward. I was hoping for at least one girl for me to show but it was not to be.

A slight worry for breeders in this area has been the lack of prospective buyers. My kids are usually spoken for by the time they are a couple of weeks old, but not this year. It took about ten weeks before they were all sold. and I was very glad I only had six. Other years I have wished I had more to sell so as not to disappoint anyone. I must admit my Website has made a lot of difference, in the days before we had the Internet it was much more difficult to sell kids, we relied heavily on meeting people at shows. It was always a worry as with a limited space I knew I needed to be able to sell my kids, but this year, even with the Website, it has proven more difficult. Once the shows start I am sure we see the interest rekindled.

Primary Schools seem to have become very interested in having pygmy goats to enrich their already established animal sections., I have had three enquiries this year from schools and I was very impressed with the standard of care at the school I visited.

As mentioned in the previous article, and to the sound of many of your chuckles, I am now a fully paid up member of the Women`s Institute. At a coffee morning for new members I mentioned that I kept pygmy goats and such was the interest I was asked to give a talk at one of the meetings. I felt it would be churlish to refuse in the face of such enthusiasm and went home wondering what I had let myself in for. I was not sure it was a suitable subject for a hall full of elderly ladies but bravely decided to give it a go, after all, I felt that those who were not deaf would probably be asleep before I was half way through.

As it happens it went rather well and I really enjoyed myself. I think I am a bit of a showman on the quiet. I had some photos and cards with headings to stop me rambling too much, everyone laughed in the right places and no-one fell asleep. I was surprised how many had never heard of pygmy goats and were very eager to hear about them.

My apologies to all members of W.I`s, I am quite aware that most members are not elderly or deaf and they really are lovely ladies.

The Show season is just around the corner, so I hope some of you are giving some thought to showing your goats. As I had no female kids this year I am limited to the adult female and goatling classes. I have four goatlings and I would like to show at least two at a time but there are never enough people to take them into the ring. On the one occasion I persuaded my reluctant husband into the show ring he behaved very badly, I mean my husband, not the goat. He made it clear this was not what his day at a show included, once the goats were in their pens he was there to eat lunch, read the paper and fall asleep.


Garden goat keepers usually have a very limited area for their goats and I am no different. The area of grass in the middle of my run has become very bare over the years and is now mostly mud. It would probably be better to get rid of the grass and pave the entire area but I always feel it makes the run look rather spartan. The alternative is removing the top few inches of soil and lay turfs but that is very labour intensive and I expect quite expensive. I will wait till my kids have all gone to their new homes and decide then what to do.


Viv McNeil