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Doctor Jekyll, Mister Hide
Goat Gossip by Fred Vandermartin

The Mad Doctor is at it again! Heís running all sorts of evil experiments on his goats and feeding them concoctions that only an alchemist would approve of. You can never tell when one of them may explode in a cataclysmic firebomb!

I donít know if a smorgasbord of turnip greens, apache arrowleaf clover, and Austrian winter peas would cause any type of explosion, but it sure has me hoping the Good Lord blesses us with some rains to cause this cornucopia of collards to sprout bountifully!

Happy Holidays, you all! Yes I am running some experiments with various forages to see what the goats will take to and also add some amendments to the soil that may benefit the growth of all of the forages that Iím hoping to plant in the future. With the cost of fertilizers, weed killers, and other soil additives such as lime, and with the consequences of what these things do to the natural balance of soils, it can only help to add any naturally helpful plants or other stuff.

Planting clovers and such may not be the fast solution to curing what may ail your pastures, but it canít hurt, and in the long run may allow your pastures and hay meadows to improve naturally. Adding lime and fixing the ph of your soil only adds to the amount of tonnage of forage that a pasture can provide. Many folks who choose to go the natural route will mow their pasture in the summer to cut back on the goat weed that can seed. Personally, I kinda like spraying 2-4D, but the natural folks say it adds salts to the soils, so who can say whoís right? Many of the natural folks use compost teas and other microorganisms and such as soil additives that Iím gonna hafta look into. It all boils down to providing good winter forage for your goats. Donít be afraid to get out and spread a little seed around your pastures to add to the forage and hay you provide for your stock. Cutting back on the feed can only help your bottom line. Experiment with various winter forages that will work with your soil types and that your goats will eat. Donít just plant winter forage recommended by Joe at the feed store because itís cheap and heís got a warehouse full of it. Plant some small plots of various forages and go out and observe your goats and see what they like. If they donít eat it up, then donít plant so much of that forage next year. Look into planting legumes that can add nitrogen to your soil. Small grains provide good winter forage for your goats but may need fertilizers to thrive. Iím hoping the winter peas can provide plenty of forage and also add nitrogen to the soil that the turnips will use up.

Gwen and I will continue to provide Likkum buckets and loose mineral for the goats, but will continue to allow the weeds to grow up around the feeders until most of the forages are spent and we start to feed hay. The protein tubs offer good energy and the yeasts and other micronutrients in the tubs help their rumen stomachs process and digest the forages they take in. Them fat little butterballs are so busy rooting around under the oaks for acorns that they donít want to bother with the green stuff or any feed.

Gary Tugwell and I made my annual trek to the Howard Gin Company, which is southwest of Ennis for a load of whole Cottonseed. It is my very unprofessional opinion that cottonseed is the most complete feed that is available for your goats. Hereís the Big But. But you can not feed it to your bucks or any bucklings you may want to use as breeding stock. Cottonseed has a chemical in it called Gossypol that can affect your buckís fertility. All of the rest of your goats will thrive on cottonseed and will get extremely fat on it if they are overfed. It only takes a little bit to keep your goats in good condition. You may need to mix it with a little sweet feed or goat kibble until they acquire a taste for it, but once they learn that itís good groceries, then step back and watch the ensuing hilarity! If you donít believe me, then e-mail Dr. Frank Pinkerton and he will tell you all about it. For you folks in the trans-tweener region who are feeding goats and other ruminants, Mr. Joel Withrow says he will be ginning thru the middle of December and would sell you all of the cottonseed you can carry. Give Mr. Joel a ring at 972-646-5360 for prices and directions to the Gin from your location. There now, Iíve told you my secret formula! Bye, for now.


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