Feeding the Goats

I’d prefer not to feed our goats anything other than hay to supplement their natural foraging, but this winter has been harsh and I’ve worried that they aren’t getting enough nutrition.  So I sometimes give them some grain feed.

Whenever I put out feed for them, World War Goat breaks out.  Each goat’s mission, it seems, is not to eat as much as possible, but rather to do everything possible to prevent the other goats from eating.  Instead of just lining up at the trough and eating their fill, they growl, push, shove, ram and trample each other.  I’ve tried to reason with them, carefully explaining how  they will all have plenty if they share, but to no avail.

Laying down in the feed trough is a favored technique.

Laying down in the feed trough is a favored technique.

And when I put feed in more than one trough, rather than divide into groups to eat, they’ll all crowd around one of the troughs, presumably to intensify the combat.  Then, when finished, they’ll all stampede to the other trough to resume it.

In the foreground, a feed trough attended only by 3 curious kids.  In the background, a goat melee.

In the foreground, a feed trough attended only by 3 curious kids. In the background, a goat melee.

When they see me coming with a bucket they all descend upon me and I have to kick my way to the trough, usually to find that kids have been walking and pooping in it since the last feeding.  I can’t set the bucket down to clean the trough, so I have to fight my way back to the gate to put the bucket down outside the fence, then fight my way back to the trough to try to clean it while dozens of crazed goats press against me from all sides, scrambling for position.  By that time I’m generally cussing and resolving never to give them feed again.

If anyone should ever film the affair and post it on youtube it would likely become one of the viral videos that end up on millions of facebook pages.

Sharing a hay bale is, by comparison, a much more civilized affair.

Sharing a hay bale is, by comparison, a much more civilized event.

I’m ready for spring.

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