Archive for the ‘Goat Fun Facts’ Category

Goat Information from Heifer International

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More Goat Questions Answered!

It’s time again to talk about some of the searches that have brought people to Goat Berries. Read previous entries at Answering Goat Questions: Part I and Part II.

As I mentioned before, goats and watermelons have been on a lot of goatie friends’ minds these days, but here’s what else they’ve been wondering about:

1. Goats fig leaves edible : I’m assuming this is asking whether goats can eat fig leaves. Mine have, although we were told by a an experienced goat herder here that they shouldn’t have too much, so we tend to give them to our girlies just when we’re pruning the fig trees a bit — they never get more than a few branches at a time, and that’s usually weeks or months apart.

2. Goats and pit fruit / can goats eat fruit with seeds/pits : They sure can, and many times they’ll just spit the pit out if they don’t want it. Pasqualina has spit out both apricot and plum pits. It’s *so* fun to watch them eat these as they roll them around in their mouths. That said, don’t give them too many at a time — just like our digestive systems don’t love too much of a good thing like apricots and plums, neither do theirs.

3. Can goats eat banana peelings? : Whoo boy, can they — and my girl Pasqualina *loves* them. Loves bananas too. The other does we had also loved both fruit and peel, but Pinta isn’t old enough to care yet, apparently. Again, though, everything in moderation!

4. Kid goat cries all the time / why does my goat cry : Dig if you will the pic-ture. Oh wait, that’s When Doves Cry. Anyway, this is a tough one and requires that you know your kid pretty well. Some kids are just loud and cry when they want attention or food or milk or all of the above. Generally it’s not a problem unless it sounds like the kid’s in pain.

Of course, my kid cries like she’s in pain when she’s bored, so even that’s not a reliable measure. Who her?

In short, I think the answer to the question is most likely the age-old one: because s/he can. But if the crying seems abnormal to you, do look for other signs of illness such as lack of appetite, bloating, and just otherwise not doing goat-like things.

5. Milky sticky discharge coming out of nanny goat before kidding : Gross, but totally normal. We noticed it on two of ours about 24 hours before kidding. The other one didn’t show anything, or maybe we just weren’t looking (she was the first to go). I actually have a photo of this, but I think you get the idea; if you want to see it though, please feel free to contact me. In any event, you’ll be having a kid or more *very* soon. Congratulations!

Remember if you have any goat questions that aren’t answered somewhere in the blog, don’t be afraid to ask! I can’t promise to know the answer, but I will be happy to put it out there to other goatie lovers if I don’t.

And please feel free to add your bleats of wisdom on the above questions as well!

Buon weekend!

Answering Goat Questions: Part II

Following up Answering Goat Questions: Part I, here is Part II:

6. “why do goats poop berries” – This has to do with the way their digestive system is set up (hint: nothing like ours) and what they eat, but you can read all about it at The Straight Dope.

7. “coffee discovered by goats” – Well, yes, kind of. Read all about it at The Legend of Coffee and the Dancing Goats.

8. “training goats” – Hah! Good luck with that. No, seriously, depends on the kind of training you want to do. Goats are highly intelligent, but they can also be stubborn. We’ve taught two of ours to walk on leashes. I don’t know about house-training, though…those little trap doors seem to open and drop a load of goat berries whenever they damn well please.

9. “who is pasqualina” – OK, I don’t know for sure that you were actually looking for *my* Pasqualina, but you can find lots of photos of her on Flickr, her kidding story on this site, and various posts about her at Bleeding Espresso.

P.S. She looks like this:

10. “michelle fabio” + paolo” – OK, pretty sure you were looking for us on this one. Congratulations! You are here.

That’s all until next time; thanks for finding us!

Answering Goat Questions: Part I

Those of you with websites know that far too much fun can be derived from looking through the search terms people used to find your site.

The searches for Goat Berries have been extra interesting to read as they let me know what fellow goat people want to know.  I’ve noticed some questions I haven’t yet answered, so I’m going to answer some here (mostly about the kidding process) and then more in Part II, forthcoming:

1. “lover of goats in Italian” –  Literally, it would be “l’amante delle capre,” but in Italian you’d more likely say someone is “appassionato (or appassionata if it’s a woman) delle capre.” It’s safe to say I’m one of those.

2. “should I separate goat when kidding” – Most things I read on the Internet and in books talk about kidding stalls to separate the mom from the rest of the herd when she’s about to give birth. In fact, we did separate out one of our moms because we thought she’d be more comfortable that way.

The other two of our dams, though, gave birth in the same pen with the other present (and one even had another kid present). Everything went fine, but I imagine this is something you get a feel for regarding specific goats and their preferences.

3. “goat how long after water sac birth” – When Pasqualina gave birth, her water broke, she had about two minutes of rest (if that), and then she started pushing. We had a kid within five minutes or so, with the whole birth taking not more than 15 minutes.

4. “goat kidding – fresh blood” – This is an interesting query. I actually expected more blood with the birth of the kids, but there really wasn’t any during the actual birth. Lots of goo, yes, but not blood.

The moms *did* however pass fresh blood the following day (usually in clots) and also for the following two weeks — *not* constant streams of blood by any means, just every once in a while. In sum, if you think you’re seeing too much blood, you probably are, so call a veterinarian. Better to err on the side of caution.

5. “what if the goat doesn’t deliver the placenta” – You could have yourself a problem here. A new goat mom should pass her placenta within 24 hours or so of giving birth, but if you weren’t watching the whole time, she may have eaten it. Or a dog may have eaten it, if it had access.

Our three goats all passed the placenta completely within two or three hours of giving birth (in all cases it started to come out almost immediately). If yours hasn’t done so after a whole day, you may have a “retained placenta” on your hands, and you should consult a veterinarian. Basically the vet is going to have to give her something to start contractions to get it out.

Stay tuned for more questions and answers in Part II!

Buon weekend!

On Goats, Banana Peels, Tin Cans, and Pants

You know you’re a goat mom when after you eat a banana, without thinking, you split the peel into six parts — two for each of your goats.

Did you know goats love banana peels? Mine sure do.

They do *not* however eat tin cans. Yes, I know what you’ve heard. LIES! ALL LIES, I tell you! Seriously, it’s a nasty rumor, so let’s just stop it right here.

They may, however, nibble on your pants if given half the chance as recently happened to Jorge Garcia, Hurley of Lost, at Maui Surfing Goat Dairy:

Thanks to my friend Girasoli of Shave Ice & Gelato for passing along that link.

If you have any other questions about what goats eat, please leave them in the comments!

The Legend of Coffee and the Dancing Goats

Coffee berry by jkirkhart35 on Flickr

Coffee berry by jkirkhart35 on Flickr

Do *you* know how coffee was discovered?

Legend has it that in about 800 A.D. an Ethiopian goatherder named Kaldi noticed his goats dancing around a shrub with bright red berries.

Kaldi deduced that these berries were causing this strange (but fun!) behavior in his goats, so he decided to try them for himself.

[Ed: I probably wouldn’t take this route if my girls start acting funny from something they ate. Call me overly cautious or just plain boring, but you know what you can also call me? Alive.]

Kaldi then experienced one of the world’s first caffeine buzzes as the berries contained what we now know as coffee beans. Some local monks got word of the buzz and started popping coffee berries to stay awake during nightly prayers.

[Ed: Rumors that Kaldi and the monks held weekend dance parties have not been confirmed.]

So there you have it. Goats and coffee. Coffee and goats. Espresso berries and goat berries. A match made in heaven!

[Ed: Or, you know, Ethiopia.]

See, I knew I was meant for this goat thing.

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Goats that readers have spotted out and about. Send your photos to michelle(at)goatberries(dot)com! 

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Goat at Maine Fiber Frolic 2011