Friday, May 10, 2013

Mares Eat Oats...

     Today is an exciting day at our house.  In a few hours, I'm going to have 40 goats in my yard!  A local company called the Goat Lady rents herds of goats by the day to eat... well... everything.  Many people around here use them for blackberries, but we don't have much of a problem and I like the ones I have.  But the other big problem in the Pacific Northwest is English ivy.  It's like kudzu in the South.  It doesn't grow quite as fast, but it does smother everything in its path.  In the four years we've lived here, we've lost three large maple trees to ivy.  Ivy is also terrible for combating soil erosion and can even make it worse.  Considering we live on the side of a hill, erosion is a big concern of mine.

 It looks like a beautiful woodland setting.  And it is.  But most of the green on the floor here is ivy.  All it wants to do is crawl up trees and smother them to death.  

Again, mostly ivy.  You can see the ivy advancing up the trees in the background.  It's insanely beautiful, but so, so, deadly! 

Goodbye, ivy.  I look forward to replacing you with non-invasive natives.  Preferably ones that make food...

I'm going to try to post pictures throughout the day so stay tuned!

UPDATE!!
THEY'RE HERE!!!

 First came the truck...

Then Mr. Farmer let the boys help him install the fence.




And then it was time to release the goats!!


 A couple of the babies.  Mr. Farmer says that babies that are raised nursing from browsing mothers gain much more weight and are healthier than kids raised on the bottle.  Who knew, right?


And here they are!  They have attacked the ivy with such vigor, I'm afraid they may run out of food by the time the afternoon is over!  One of the does is pregnant and may kid any time!  I'll try to get a picture of her when she comes near the fence again.

Such an exciting day!

More pics soon!

UPDATE AGAIN!!

I'm pretty sure this is the doe that's due any minute. She hasn't done much traveling up and down the bank. (Update: This is actually a sheep.  I thought it looked pretty sheepish, but didn't know for sure.  I asked Mr. Farmer today [5/12] and she is, indeed a ewe and still full of lambs!  Still no babies yet, but we have actually retained their services for two more days because we were so happy with the job they did!  Still time!)

This is toward the end of the day.  You can see how far up the trees they've eaten and there is a noticeable difference on the bank.


 We have been telling the kids all day not to touch the fence as it is electrified.  It pulses so you can touch it 20 times and not get zapped, but that next time, boy you wish you hadn't done that.  Guess who is the only one who got shocked today.  ME!  I had my hand through a hole.  I wasn't touching anything at all, but I still got zapped.  It was like a strong jolt of static electricity.  The goat I was petting felt it, too.  She forgave me though, when I offered her a few tasty weeds.  Sorry goatie!

We will have these beauties until Sunday morning.  I will post a few after shots then!!

Check out my next post for before and after pics!

12 comments:

  1. Awwww! Your boys look so excited! Alaru would have loved to have so many goats around :)
    Love this post...

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    Replies
    1. I really had no idea how great goats were until this. They are pretty quiet. They're neat to watch. I really like them! I have previously only had experience with them in petting zoos where you get attacked for treats as soon as you step in to the fence and once when I was a kid I got butted pretty hard on the leg by someone's buck. They're really like tame, super hungry deer! I'm loving it!

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  2. Love this idea! I actually have seen this before, Google is close to where we live and they have lots of undeveloped land, they rented farm animals to graze the land. How awesome you did this, I bet it was fun for your boys to see them in action! Happy Mother's Day, Brooke!

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    Replies
    1. They are loving every minute! We've got them at least two more days and maybe as many as four! They have spent considerably more time with the goats than me today! I first saw goats in action in California several years ago. It is so cost effective environmentally friendly (if you count the goats eating every green thing within neck reach friendly) and free fertilizer, too!

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  3. What a GREAT idea . . . I think we need one or two in our backyard . . the weeds have taken over.

    Wonder if Momma Sheep will deliver before she leave your "forest."

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    Replies
    1. I hope so! How cute would that be?!

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  4. Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week; I hope you’ll join us again!


    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. I LOVE GOATS! We don't have any sort of land (here in Brooklyn), but I'm living vicariously through your photos. How precious are those babies!

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    Replies
    1. They are just about the cutest things ever!

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  6. Brooke, this is fantastic! My brother-in-law also did this in California with his hillside yard and it worked out so well. So funny you mention kudzu...just a few minutes ago a friend from Mississippi was talking about it. What a fun adventure for your family!

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    Replies
    1. I reckon a herd of goats in a kudzu field might make a pretty good dent! But at least you can eat kudzu, ivy isn't! =)

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  7. They're such efficient little lawnmowers! Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

    Cheers,
    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick
    http://www.The-Chicken-Chick.com

    ReplyDelete

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