Goats in the Garden-March 2010

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When you read this article you may well be basking in early spring sunshine, some hope, I hear you say. However, I thought the picture would remind you of the difficult conditions we, and our goats, had to put up with as we greeted the New Year. As a garden goat keeper I was able to clear the paths for my goats, but I just wanted to show you how the deep snow seemed not to bother Isla. She ran out to investigate as soon as her pen was opened. Those in more rural situations would not have been so lucky and I am sure it must have caused quite a few problems.

My problems started once the snow melted, which it did  very quickly. I was left with a thick layer of slurry mixed with hay covering all the paths and hard standing, which had to be cleared away before the neighbours could complain about the smell.  I went to work with my power hose and reduced it to a cesspool in one corner which once it had dried out was shovelled into a wheel barrow and put on the compost heap. It was whilst doing this I decided I really did not want to keep pygmy goats after all.


During this bitterly cold weather some of you used the Pygmy Goat Chat Group to ask for advice about looking after your goats. Many suggestions came forward, the main ones being, give warm water (especially important for wethers ) and ensure they have a constant supply of hay. It is not advisable  to increase the amount of goat mix. Although you might be tempted to close them up to keep them warm at night it must be remembered that good ventilation is still important.


January and February is always the quiet time for me. Matings are all finished, kidding not due till March and apart from cleaning out and feeding there is very little to do. I always feel I should take the opportunity to do some maintenance in my goat run, but to be honest the weather is never warm enough for me to become too enthusiastic so I end up writing a list of `Jobs to be Done` and leave it at that.


This issue of the Magazine always contains a list of shows for the year.  As I show my goats I always read this section with interest to see if there are any new shows that may be within reach. Here in the South East we are suffering badly from lack of entries, and consequently may well lose some shows here altogether. It is such a shame that more people do not show their goats. Perhaps people believe that their goats are not good enough to show, that show goats are somehow different, but I assure you they are not. You do not need any special skill to enter a show, in fact the most experienced of us still have trouble getting our goats to stand properly at times. Apart from the main breed classes there are always classes for wethers and usually junior handlers as well, you never know you could go home with a rosette or two. An added bonus is that the price of entering your goats is far less than entry to the show and you get a good family day out.

So why not have a look at the Show List and see if there is a show near you, your Area Adviser or any committee member would be pleased to give you advice.


By the time you  read this I expect some of your goats will have kidded, I hope it went well for you. For those still waiting I wish you well.


Best wishes

Viv McNeil