Thursday, November 17, 2016

Feral Goat Herd

I don't think I've mentioned my feral goat herd. They're fairly recent additions but have been around long enough now that they are getting use to seeing me come & go. With them being captured ferals, I don't expect them ever to become friendly, but at least now I get to see them daily, albeit at a distance. So all of the photos I have of them are taken at quite a distance, thus are fuzzy.   

I started out with 6 goats, but I think one flew the coop. So it looks like I still have 2 billys and 3 nannys.  In the above photo, the big brown billy can be seen walking in front of the large tree. This was a lucky shot, plus the closest I've been to that goat since I released him into the pastures. I didn't have to use a lot of camera zoom. To his right there are 2 black girls, but it's tough to pick them out. 

Usually this is how close I can get to him......that little light dot in the center of the above pic, to the right of the tree trunks. And further into the distance are the 3 black nannys. 

Checking on the sheep one morning I was surprised to see the black billy among them. He was quite obvious to me, because he has horns. My sheep don't. I had to use quite a bit of zoom to get the photo because as I tried getting closer the billy saw me and took off. Flash.....gone! 

Just this morning I lucked out again, finding all 5 up with the sheep flock. Still had to use quite a bit of camera zoom to get this photo, but you can see not only the brown billy but the young small black nanny standing in front of him. Once they spot me, they take off. But at least they are running slower and take their time before deciding to leave. Ah, I'm making progress. 

Why keep feral goats? Because I'm a sucker. A local hunter needed some cash and was going around selling a pick up truckload of feral goats that he had captured. He had managed to sell all but these last ones. After being tied up in the back of a truck for two days, they were really sad looking and terrified goats, not to mention hungry. Judging from their dirt and smell, they had been on the bottom of the pile of goats. Since he had run out of a market to buy these last few, he planned to slaughter and smoke them himself. I happened to enter the picture at that time when he drove to my gate. Being a sucker for a stressed animal, I ended up buying them. Geez, I'm a wuss. 

If I don't want to admit to being a softee, I can always claim that goats help round out pasture management and keep it healthier and more productive by eating the browse that sheep won't. Gee, sounds like good reasoning to me!!!


  1. Hey, those little goat pellets are free fertilizer. I used to help my dad to collect the piles of that under the bushes where the feral goats frequented. He treated that stuff like black gold for his garden. He'd lift some of the vranches enough for me to scoot under and hand scoop those nuggets into a little bucket. Mom never was the wiser as I just loved being out there with my dad. You bet that's where I got my love for gardening!

    1. Great memories, eh? I use one of those dustpans on a handle and a small leaf rake for scooping up the sheep "berries". They are a good addition to gardens and grow boxes. The scattered ones I leave to fertilize that pastures and I only gather the clumps.