Goats in the Garden-Sept 2011

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Viv McNeil


Garden goat keepers are what it says on the tin. We keep a few goats in our back garden, and this usually means that the space we are able to give them is rather limited. I have kept my goats for almost twenty five years on the same piece of ground and although there is a large amount of paving I still have a grassed area in the centre. Until this year I have managed to keep it looking reasonable, and as the goats did not eat the grass I mowed it occasionally. I was always conscious that the ground must be pretty rancid but fortunately it did not seem to affect the goats. This year, however, with the lack of rain in the south the grass disappeared almost completely and I was left with something that resembled the Australian outback in miniature. My husband just looked at it, shook his head and went back indoors.

I decided to get a man in.

When he arrived he was somewhat bemused when I showed him the area I wanted turfed and he asked, somewhat anxiously, where the goats would be while he worked. I assured him I would keep them out of his way.

He completed the job in a day and it looks really good. I had to keep the goats off it for three weeks and the grass grew well. I thought the goats would love it when I let them back in but they showed no interest in eating the new grass, in fact, in suspicious goat fashion, they wouldn`t even walk on it. Well that is probably for the best as I don`t want them messing it up with their droppings!


I have a jumper!  Not the sort that Aunty Flo might have given you for Christmas but a four legged one. She is a very pretty, gentle goat and butter wouldn`t melt in her mouth. There was no hint of this talent until the day I tried to take her to the Surrey Show, in fact, until then she had shown no interest in anything more athletic than a rush for the food bowl. I put her in the trailer, put the back up and went to get the other goats, when I got back she had completely disappeared. Memories of losing Bluebell for 5 days on Epsom Common came flooding back and I felt sick.

At this point Astra came strolling back through the gate and up the drive without a care in the world.She walked up to me and I grabbed her collar. Needless to say I didn`t take her to the show that day. Since then she has decided it is a good game and constantly jumps out of her pen. It would appear that she just hates to be confined, she has never tried to jump out of the run and I am hoping that once she has kidded she may give up all these aerial displays.


I realised what a sad creature I had become when I drove into my local  goat food/hay merchant`s yard last week. As soon as I turned in the gate I could smell it, yes, it was the smell of new hay, unmistakable! I jumped out of the car, looked in the barn and there it was. Oh joy! (I don`t get out much). After the dried up hay I had been serving up over the last few months it was a relief to see something edible. I filled my car with as many bales as I could get in, which was only four and drove home. I  returned twice more and now have a shed full of sweet smelling hay which should last at least a couple of months.

 It is mating time again, my goodness doesn`t it come round quickly. I already know who I am using this year. It is Heatherview Borneville who now lives at Horton Park Children`s Farm where I work one day a week. He is a super looking male and I hope he behaves as well as Heatherview Phoenix did last year. I will let you know how we get on next time.

 Take Care.