goat kid in rabbit hutch

Like water, goats will always find their own level. Unlike water, they always flow UP. As high as possible and the more improbable the better. The garage roof is always a firm favourite, closely followed by the top of your next door neighbour’s shiny new BMW

Its not a myth – goats WILL eat anything: cardboard, paper, cotton t-shirts, £20 notes, bits of old carpet……but heaven forbid that the hay in the rack should be ANTHING but the sweetest, freshest, choicest hay man can make!

goat kid

A billy goat with a horn span of 2′ CAN squeeze through a 10″ gap

For all other goats – apply the same rules of physics as for cats. Measure the width of the skull, subtract 20% and that is the size of the gap they can fit through.

No matter how much time and effort you may invest in addressing the problems of fencing goats in, goats will always have 24 hours a day to invest in addressing the problems of escaping from that fencing. Watch them long enough and you will learn the signs – the quiet contemplation as they sit chewing the cud, that faraway look in their eyes – its a faraway look because they are dreaming of being far away. Or at least as far away as the other side of the fence.

When training a first freshener to milk, you will discover she has all the athletic ability of a 12yo Russian gymnast. Somehow, she can do a perfect handstand, with her hind legs wrapped around her ears, one foot in the milk bucket, one horn wrapped through your belt-loop, and STILL have her nose in the feed bucket munching on oats.

Goats are not hairy sheep, nor are they miniature cows. Rather, they are a cross between the stubborness of a donkey, the independent thinking of a cat, the athletic ability of a deer and, on occasion, the devoted affection of the family dog (this side of the goat’s nature is at its most evident when your pockets contain mints, gingernuts or chocolate).

Goats are perfectly in tune with their owners. Goats are so perfectly in tune with their owners that every goat, when it escapes, will instinctively be drawn to whatever the owner prizes most. If, for the last 20 years, you have won the cabbage cup every year without fail, you can guarantee that the very first time your goat escapes, she will be found contentedly munching away amongst the January Kings. And if your children are passionate about strawberries, and you are the W.I. strawberry jam champion, then your precious milker will be found, lips red from strawberry juice, knee deep in the Cambridge Favourites and the best you can hope for is strawberry flavoured milk.

Golden Guernsey goat

Goats don’t understand the word “surrender”, and they don’t relinquish their prizes easily. No self-respecting goat is going to surrender the tender delicacies to be found in the veg garden for a mere bucket of oats. The best you can do is enjoy the exercise as you chase the little darling up and down the rows, use it as a teaching experience to demonstrate to your chlidren teamwork and strategic thinking, and console yourself that if your son is able to wrestle down your goat when she has your prize roses on her mind, then playing rugby for England will be a piece of cake.

Number ten? I’ll leave number ten to you to add. What do your goats do that drive you to distraction, but make you stand and laugh at them at the same time?

Leave a comment – what’s number ten for you?

Preparing for kidding