Shortly after bringing our first two 2 1/2 yr old Alpine does home, we bought an older (4-5 yr old) white Saanen doe. We all got a first hand look at animal behavior (does that count as science class?) and spent an hour watching the two Alpines take turns welcoming(?) her. I knew most animals had a ‘pecking order’ but it was interesting to see it taking place among the goats.
Secretly I was cheering for Candy as she was older. Kinda like the older women teaching the younger (Titus 2). The younger ones needed guidance.
I’m glad to report that after two days of cracking heads together, they’ve finally figured out whose going to rule their little trio. Candy’s calmness amidst repeated ‘pecking’ seems to have earned her the privilege of matron doe.
And now, just for the fun of it, (and because we’re so glad we’re done with the project!), I’m posting some pics of our goat setup. I’d LOVE to hear from seasoned goat veterans and newbies alike on any suggestions or comments.
Technically this set up is temporary. We build the goats’ pen in our woodshed. We have about three years worth of wood stacked back there, so rather than moving the wood, we built a ‘temporary’ pen in front of the wood piles. After the wood is gone we’ll take the hay feeders and everything apart and move it down to that end of the shed and build a solid wall. We figured this into the plan when we cut out the doors so that we can use the same doorways later.
Travis built the feeder after we perused You Tube trying to find ideas that would prevent the goats from wasting so much hay. We found this video and decided to give their feeder a go. It’s based on Harvey Considine’s book and the angled boards are to keep the goats from jerking their head out and pulling hay to the ground. So far it’s working well.
This is the kidding/kid pen. The plan is to milk once a day a couple of weeks after the does freshen (start producing milk after giving birth). We’d let the kids stay with the does during the day and then separate them at night so the does would be ready to be milked in the morning. I’ve heard some say this works well and others who say it doesn’t. I guess we’ll give it a try and find out!
Travis used latches that would shut easily simply by closing the door. Froze, glove-encased hands will appreciate that this winter! Our second son devised a string system so that you can pull the string from the outside and lift the lever.
The outdoor pen/pasture measures about 1,300 sq. feet. It encases the tree house and boys’ zip line – but so far the goats haven’t played Tarzan yet.
We read several articles and information about fencing for goats. They’re notorious for getting out. After debating through size, cost, and time, we decided to build an electric fence. We used five strands of 12 gauge wire and spaced them so: the bottom wire is 9.5″ from the ground. The second wire is 16″ from the ground, the third wire is 23″, the fourth wire is 32″ and the top wire is 43.5″ from ground level making it roughly 3.5 feet high.
Artemis got shocked the first day, but as far as I know the other two have given the fence a wide berth. Before we bought Candy, the other two did get out once. For the life of us we can’t figure out how – the fence wasn’t damaged, the gates were all shut. . .we’re guessing they jumped right over the fence. So far it hasn’t happened again. . .
I’ll get some pictures of our stanchion and milking set up soon. Hope you enjoyed the little tour of our summer project.