Normally, before making any decisions (big or small) I do an ample amount of research. Apparently, there was a particular area regarding keeping goats, that I failed to check out.
Goats are the Harry Houdini of the farm!
We thought we were going to be able to simply keep them in the duck run. We do realize that they are use to quite a large run, as well as many more goats to socialize with. They are so timid and shy that we assumed (ASSUMING as my grandfather always told me, makes an ASS out of U & ME!!) that they would be so shy they wouldn't want to wonder off in unfamiliar territory. Wow, were we WRONG!!
All they want to do is escape from multiple fencing techniques we've tried and run away down the road. Of course, this is terrifying for many reasons.
They could get hit by a car, taken by someone (who wouldn't love them as we do and keep the bonded soul sisters together), attacked by predators, hurt or injured...the list goes on!
We have an electrical fence box that I purchased online, but it failed to work. It's just a small, ten acre, 15 watt box that's safe for chickens to accidentally bump into or attempt to perch on. Once we get this working, hopefully the goats will no longer escape, we will see...
In the mean time, as we try to accommodate our tricky little ladies, here are some articles to better fencing for goats, dwarf/pygmy or standard size.
Mother Earth News
Tractor Supply: Choosing the right fencing for your goats
Goat Fencing Video by USMeatGoat on YouTube
Swamp Acres Farm
Cheap, easy DIY scratch post your goats will love!
Lately, I've been thinking about when we first brought Tippy and Periwinkle home, our Nigerian Dwarf Goats. We tried to keep them in the run with the ducks and chickens, which didn't work out because the fence is so low that they can jump it quite easily. When they would jump the fence, they didn't just hang around in the yard. Oh no! That would have made things MUCH too easy for me! They insisted on walking down the road to the neighbors' house, which is a good half mile. Once, they even got out on the main highway! Scary!
What worries me about that incident isn't that they kept jumping the fence, it's that they walked so far away from our property. We live on a 20 acre lot of land, and there's a good size field next to the duck run. However, we only found them in the field once. I know they were probably terrified, they had just had their first car ride, and that was a two hour journey to bring them home! They weren't handled as often as some of the other goats at their previous home, so they're very timid.
I think they kept running away because they were nervous, and maybe they were bored. They were use to having a large family of goats to graze with, now it's just the two of them. I've been looking around for ways to increase their happiness with us, and to help keep them busy.
Of course, we already have the spools for them to jump up on, but we want to add more toys and things to do for them. The first project we completed may be the easiest, we've made them a scratching post. I was worried it would take them a few days to figure out how to use it, maybe have to accidentally bump into it a few times to figure it out. No! That wasn't the case at all! As soon as we put it together and went to put away the supplies, they were checking it out.
Tippy was enjoying a good scratch before the post was up for five whole minutes!
It's a very cheap way to give them a bit of happiness! The best thing about it, I only spent $4.00 on 4 scrub brushes at Might Dollar, and we used what we already had for the rest! Our post was a piece of wood that was discarded from an old porch last summer, when my sister got a new porch. It's not in the best condition, but it doesn't have to be for this project! However, if you have full sized goats, or even horses, that will be pressing their body weight into the brushes for a good scratch, you may need a strong post that can take the weight!
Here's what you need to get started:
These are pretty nice scrub brushes to only cost $1.00 each! The girls tried to chew on the bristles when they were first investigating their new post, but now they'd rather just rub their head against it and get that hard to reach place between their horns!
This is the post we used. It's actually quite long for our purpose, but I hope to have it multi-task and maybe attach a tether ball to it later on.
After you have your supplies, pick your spot and start digging with the post digger!
For us, digging anywhere on the property is usually a difficult task. Just last year our front yard was a large field. Also, we live next to a creek, so there are always rocks to hit anytime a shovel touches dirt! If you have the same problem, here's what we do.
Use a pick ax to get into the whole without damaging or expanding the sides, then use it to break up or pull up the rock.
Quick tip: if you find your post digger becoming warped at the edges from hitting rocks, use a hammer to straighten it out! Lay the damaged edge of the post digger against a sturdy, flat surface, then use a hammer to beat the warped edge straight. It's easier to go ahead and straighten it out at the time that it's damaged. If for some reason you get into a situation where you need to use it in a hurry, it can be frustrating if you have to stop and repair it before you can finish your task.
Check the post to make sure it's stable by pulling or shaking it. If it seems sturdy, you're ready to start attaching the scrub brushes!
I noticed while he was screwing the brushes down, they want to spin a bit with the screw. This isn't a big deal, you just may need to hold the brush steady as you attach it, or even have someone else hold it for you. Just don't allow the brush to spin and then continue to drill the screw in tightly, if you do you'll have to loosen it and spin the brush around to be straight so you can put the second support screw in.
After you get all of the brushes attached, you're good to go!
Like I said, it doesn't take long for them to figure out what to do! Here's a video of Tippy and Periwinkle enjoying their new goat toy!