Monday, October 18, 2010

Barnyard rebellion

We have been goat owners for about 14 months now. We have learned a lot, but we thought all of the stories we had heard about goats being trouble were just "romanticized" versions of life on a farm. Penny would just stand there watching us, and the girls were just playful little balls of fur, no trouble.

For the past couple of months, certain young hens have been flying the coop and invading goat territory. It started because they liked the sweet goat feed that would sometimes spill on the ground when the piggies, er I mean goats, were stuffing their faces. At first the goat girls would give them a little headbutt from time to time and the hens would all go back to their yard. Lately it has been getting worse and some days all 14 of our new hens would be in there (and even Sandy, the pesky little cockerel). None of the old hens were doing it though.

Well on Saturday the tables were turned. I looked up from the kitchen sink to see Daisy standing in the middle of the chicken yard. When I got outside I saw that Lily was there too. I'm trying not to anthropomorphize too much, but it felt like the goats were saying, "Lets see how you like us stealing your food and pooping in your yard!" I did a quick fence repair by hammering a few extra staples into the shared fence and attaching a piece of wood to the bottom to prevent them from going under. The next day, it was worse, all 3 goats were in there, even meek and mild old Penny. Damon thinks she only went in to scold her daughters.

Notice in the photo there are only 2 goats in the yard, that's when we figured out that a 100 lb goat squeezed into the chicken coop itself and were stealing grain. I brought my camera, but dropped it in the coop, losing all the batteries in the straw on the floor. By this time both girls were in the coop. I hung the feeder from the ceiling to keep it away from them while I tried to jam one stubborn and horned goat head through the 1 foot square door. While I was trying to shove her chubby body out, the other one opened up the can that we store the chicken feed in. Goats are so much smarter and stronger than chickens! Finally I managed to get them out of the coop and Damon got them through the fence.

Matt repaired their fence with many more staples and released them again. As soon as he let them out of their stall into their yard again, the first thing they did was tested his repair job. So far it's still holding.

As for the hens, there is one in the goat yard today. I hate to do it, but I may need to clip some wings around here.