Goats in the Garden- March 2012

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Garden Goats


Viv McNeil


I have just come in from  closing my goats up for the night, the temperature has not gone above freezing all day and snow is promised for tonight. When I opened them up this morning their buckets of water were frozen solid. I replaced them with warm water but I don`t think it stayed warm very long. I made sure there was plenty of hay for everyone  and when I let them out they did not seem too bothered about the cold. Tonight I have left the heat lamp over a couple of particularly small kids, not sure if it was for their benefit or mine, I rather feel it was more for mine.

Kidding is over for the time being, I had the usual ups and downs I now associate with kidding. Two goats presented heads only (no legs in sight), with Cerys  I managed to bring one leg forward and the kid shot out rather like Superman and the second kid followed easily. Crystal wasn`t so lucky, even the vet couldn`t help with her kid and sadly the kid died. Then twins were born to a first time kidder, very fast and very small. The boy knew he had to look for milk in principle, but kept getting under his sister instead of his mum, after a while he started to get weaker so I decided it was time to intervene. Being unable to get him to take from his mum and not wanting to put mum off feeding the other kid, I gave him 30ml  of Colstart, a colostrum substitute, from a bottle. To my delight, he finished it off in a few minutes and was much happier. I fed him another couple of times and once I decided he was strong enough to try his mother, I held the mother and lifted the kid up to the teat. He latched on straight away, had a good drink and has never looked back.

Unfortunately, two other goats turned out not to be pregnant. I blame that on the fact that due to fly strike on the male I borrowed I was unable to keep him for the three weeks after mating which is the safest way of making sure. I have one left to kid at the beginning of March, hopefully it will be warmer by then.


To take into account the Queen`s Diamond Jubilee, the bank holiday at the end of May has been put forward to the beginning of June. The Surrey Show, which is always that weekend, has obviously also changed. This will cause problems for the South of England Show which will be 5 days later. Without an isolation unit exhibitors will not be able to go to both shows, owing to the 6 day standstill rule.

As we have so few shows in the South East and very few exhibitors it will sadly affect both shows.

I have an isolation unit so it is not that difficult to obtain, it does not require a lot of room and as far as I can remember it did not cost anything. If you are interested you can find out more about from your vet or Trading Standards.


I had a nice surprise last week when I went to my forage merchant. The price of hay had gone down to 6.00 and according to my goats it is very tasty. I do not know how long it will last so I had better stock up.


When you read this, the daffodils will be in full bloom and we can be looking forward to some warmer weather in which to enjoy our goats.