The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Free Goat

March 10th, 2014 · No Comments · Posted in farming


No, we’re not giving away our boy goat. But he has been liberated to roam the confines of our main paddock and hang with our six Friesian sheep and Jersey heifer.

It’s been almost five months since we first purchased the goat buckling and what an adventure it’s been. Not five minutes after we brought him onto the property and released him into the goat enclosure he escaped by slipping under the bottom wire of our electric perimeter fence. We thought we’d never see him again until he turned up at a vacant house nearby. We taught him to eat grain out of a bucket and manged to slip a collar on him. For the last two months he’s been living confined to a 10-foot-by-10-foot pen I built with two lengths of metal gate mounted in a corner of the walk-in shelter located inside the paddock.

Initially, he was chained inside his pen. After a month of that I removed the chain. He seemed perfectly content to spend his days inside the pen until this weekend when I decided it was time to see whether he was going to be one of us into the future, or whether he was bound and determined to flee. I opened the gates and chased him out. After exploring the paddock a bit, he joined the sheep and cow to nosh on a fresh bale of hay and he hasn’t shown any inclination to bust out. When not lying around chewing his cud, the boy goat–Tigger–seems perfectly happy butting heads with the other animals and otherwise enjoying his new freedom.

He also comes to greet me when I approach the paddock with his grain. Twice a day he gets about a cup of heifer ration–ground corn, soybean and oats with a bit of molasses–mixed with a mineral supplement. Goats need copper in their diet, but copper is toxic to sheep. That presents a bit of a problem when the goats and sheep are housed together and that’s why I feed Tigger out of a bucket.

Lately the heifer–Emily–happily enters the now vacated goat pen to eat her bucket of grain which keeps her safe from the sheep, who would love nothing better than to swarm over the cow’s grain. Meanwhile, I hold the bucket for Tigger and he greedily laps up his ration. He’s a growing boy and needs to stay warm during these cold winter (spring?) nights, so I have no problem giving him extra calories in the form of locally grown grain.

The next test will be when the snow melts and we release the animals from the paddock to graze the adjacent pasture. The sheep and cow have been honoring the wires I strung to keep them in that pasture. Will Tigger?

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