September 10, 2006
When my Wife and I first started out raising goats we didnít know anything, and I mean ANYTHING, about goats! The only thing we could find as far as publications was The New Goat Handbook by Ulrich Jaudas from West Germany. Now donít get me wrong, this is a fine book if you are raising goats in a snowy climate, but itís only good for general information anywhere else. The one thing that I learned from this book is that goats donít like to get wet. The fastest way to kill a goat is to leave it out in the open when itís cold and wet with no shelter. Cold, wet goats get pneumonia very easy and die very fast!
This is the voice of experience speaking! We drove a long way once to buy a handsome, solid mahogany red full blood buck. We had a chance to breed him to our does once, and left him in the pasture one day when a cold front blew in. By the next day he was laying on his side breathing the death rattle. No amount of Nuflor could save him. Please take my advice Folks, and provide your goats some kind of shelter. Shelters can be as simple as a tarp tied between two trees or as fancy schmancy as a heated and air conditioned barn but they must provide protection from the elements.
I have several types of huts and sheds that Iíve built, some are portable and can be pulled with the tractor or 4-wheeler and some are permanent but they all provide a warm, dry cubby hole for the goats. As I said previously, you can build shelters out of anything. I have used a variety of materials such as recycled trampoline frames and legs, the big, round underground tubing reels, and landscape timbers and covered them with corrugated tin. Let your imagination run wild!
About hay... I commute from Dew to the Houston area every week to earn my pennies so I drive up and down I-45 quite a bit. From Centerville to Galveston I see the most beautiful hay meadow in the state running right down the middle and sides of the road bed. Iíd like Mr. Horace to think about this if he reads my column as religiously as I read his. If Guvner Rick and all his cohorts in Austin are concerned about the drought conditions in the state, then why donít they encourage ranchers to hay all of that lovely, green Bermuda grass instead of paying someone with our tax dollars to chop it up with a shredder. Iím leaping upon my soapbox and declaring this a crying shame and a tragic waste of resources!
Whew! Venting like that made me all atwitter!
Bye, for now.