Archive for May, 2010

What’s New on Pasqualina’s Plate?

Last summer was our first summer with goats, and my first experience with goats, so I wasn’t very adventurous in what to feed them. They were only between five to seven months old at that point, so I was nervous I’d give them something that would upset their digestive tracts. We stuck to feed, fresh grasses, and hay.

Now that lots of fruits and veggies are coming into season, though, and we have a big strong Mamma goat, I feel like it’s time to test Pasqualina’s palate. Besides, there are also a lot more peels and shavings and even the errant strawberry that’s going off, so it’s a great way to recycle the food, so to speak (if the goats don’t eat it, it goes to the chickens).

So after making sure the food is not poisonous for goats, I’ve been trying new samples with Pasqualina, always a little at a time as you never want to give goats large amounts of any new food as it can, indeed, upset their digestive systems.

You’ve already seen some results of our new experimenting with pea pods and cantaloupe; Pinta hasn’t shown interest in anything but the pea pods and prickly pear cactus so far, but we’ll keep an eye on that too.

One huge surprise for me has been the strawberry. Pasqualina won’t even take one! How can you not like this fresh from the garden?

It’s been a fun experience for me, so I’m now keeping track of what Pasqualina (and eventually Pinta) likes and doesn’t like to eat on a page called “Goat Eats,” which you can always find in the upper right corner of every page.

Please feel free to tell me what your goats like and don’t like in the comments!


When Life Hands You a Lemon, Trade It for a Goat

I got a lovely surprise in the mail the other day from a Bleeding Espresso and Goat Berries reader turned friend, Jill. She had spotted some drawings by a Brooklyn-based artist named Charrow in New York City, and then checked out her Etsy shop once she got home.

While browsing online, Jill came across this:

Gah! Adorable!

So carissima Jill snatched it up and sent it to me (blank so I could use it, but truth be told, I might frame it!) along with the sweetest note on another *adorable* card about thinning our herd, reminding me of all the joy that the does and their kids brought as I continue to deal with their absence.

Thank you so much, Jill, not only for thinking of me, the kind sentiments, and the adorable card, but also for introducing me to Charrow, a fabulous new-to-me artist! Love her stuff!


Goats and Cantaloupe

I recently found a new food that Pasqualina loves: cantaloupe.

Here she is *so* happy to get some cantaloupe rinds:

I just love watching goats eat, don’t you?

I call this blackmail material for when future prom dates show up:

OK, admittedly, this is only for true goat lovers, but here is some video of Pasqualina meets cantaloupe:

 

By the way, Pasqualina doesn’t care for the melon or seeds; just the rinds. Except for when a rind touches the ground…then it stays there.

Blech, says Pasqualina, and I can’t blame her. And then the rind gets recycled to the chickens.


Letting Your Kids Cry It Out

I know this topic is something that mothers of human babies deal with all the time, but did you know goat maaaas must deal with this as well?

Inevitably there are times when goats, especially kids, cry for their humans. They may be hungry, they may be thirsty, or they may just want some company. Goats are *very* social creatures and hate being left alone, which is why they say you should never have just one goat. Indeed, it’s the reason we added Margherita last year around this time, so Pasqualina wouldn’t have to be alone.

Before we found Margherita, Pasqualina would WAIL when we left her. And I don’t just mean quaint little bleats. She actually sounded like she was in pain — and quite frankly, she probably was, emotionally. Poverina! She was just a wee lass at the time, so it’s not surprising that she wanted us around.

But then along came a buddy, and she was fine ever since.

Now, though, since we’ve taken out the others, it’s just her and her daughter Pinta in the pen . . . and she again cries when we leave. Not all the time, not as dramatically, and not for nearly as long as she used to, but ask any mother (of humans or otherwise), and she’ll tell you just how heartbreaking it is to hear their kids cry.

And although I don’t know that I could let human kids cry it out (taking after my mother in this respect), with goats, you just have to walk away — assuming you can’t play in the goat pen all day.

Magari!


Goat Gets Last Laugh On Fox News Reporter

Live from Bolinas, California, a Fox News reporter waxed poetic about how tasty goat meat is and how it is rising in popularity in the United States. At least one goat wasn’t too impressed with his analysis, though:

Never turn your back on a goat, people. Especially if you’re talking about eating him.


Thinning the Herd

Well, we are down to just Pasqualina and Pinta in the pen.

Carmelina and kid Nina and Margherita and kid Colombo have moved on to greener pastures, literally. We were always going to sell the kids of those two dams, but when the opportunity came up to send off the dams *with* their kids, we decided it was really for the best — for all of us.

Forgive me if I don’t include a photo of them in this post. It’s all still a little raw, even though the transfer was made a week ago.

*

The biggest issue for us has been finding room to store all the hay that our goats need throughout the year; since ours mostly stay in the stall and graze very little, they go through a lot of hay, and you can only buy it twice a year when it’s bundled. So that means we need *a lot* of room, and we just don’t have it.

Compounding that, though, we (mostly I) also aren’t crazy about the idea of breeding four or five (or more) dams every year and having to sell off so many kids to slaughter; the hard fact of consuming dairy products is that there are lots of unwanted kids, especially the boys, so we’re aiming to keep our herd very small for now and play it by ear.

This way, if we eventually do want to build, we’ll do it around our best milker, Pasqualina, and her kid Pinta. Pasqualina was always non-negotiable anyway as she was our first doe, but besides that, her breed is a dairy breed; the other two are more “meat goats.” We’re still looking toward breeding Pasqualina and possibly Pinta in the fall, but nothing is decided. We may just keep them for “bellezza” as Paolo says — for beauty. And they are beauties!

And the final issue was that the other two dams bullied Pasqualina quite a bit, and we were worried about accidents and injuries — and already it seemed like Pasqualina may not have been getting enough to eat with the other two pushing her around.

BUT on the bright side, the Big Four have gone to the good home of a young couple who lives in the village (and they have some good grazing land), and we will still get to visit them. Plus I love that they’re all staying together, so I’m sure they’ve already adjusted quite well.

Pasqualina, on the other hand, has really missed her buddies; she has taken to crying for us when we walk away, which she hasn’t done since she was a kid, before we got Margherita. Pinta just kind of looks at her like, “What’s the matter, Mamma?” and chews her cud. Very sweet.

*

I’m trying to be brave, but it’s truly a heartbreaking change for me. And yet, I know it’s for the best, and I’m sure sooner or later I won’t tear up when I look at photos of my goats gone by, and I’ll also get around to adjusting the information on this site, change out the header, etc.

For now I still want to see their faces every now and again, though, as I realize we were lucky to have them as long as we did. And I have no choice but to regroup as I still have two adorable, sweet faces to scratch in the pen . . . and even a little bum when she sticks it up in the air.

Don’t you just *love* when they “kneel?”

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