Time for a barn-raising…?

The future sees two new additions to the family, both pets, both stirring a frenzy of excitement amongst the residents of the house.

The first being a new rat. I’ve often had pet rats over the years, at one time there were four of the critters, Gizmo, Majora, Pickle and Pete. Rats are very intelligent and highly trainable and unbelievably loyal as pets. They don’t stick around long, having a life-span of only 3-4 years, but it’s time well spent.  I prefer the American Blue rat, much like I adore Russian Blue kitties and Blue American Staffordshires, but the Hooded rat is the most common domesticated rat and Blues are hard to come by as breeders tend to think Albinos are the most sought after pet variety.

Our new rat will not be coming from a breeder. Our new rat will be coming from my daughter, who returned to her home one day last week to find that her recently purchased rat had given birth to ten babies!

The other new addition will be a goat. I have absolutely no idea what kind of goat, whether it is a dairy goat or a meat goat. All I know is, my husband has made arrangements with a local farmer to  do a boatload of work on his pick-up truck in exchange for a goat. I was quite surprised to hear this news, I have been talking about acquiring a goat for about a year now, but never got the impression that it was something Paul wanted to follow through on.

We have a large area behind the chicken coop and at the back of the house that is full of rocks, making it impossible to mow down during the summer. This makes it a haven for the rattlers, but is a little too close to home to be comfortable.  Having a goat roaming around that area would help minimize the alfalfa growing there, lowering the population of chipmunks and field mice hiding in the tall grass, thereby lowering the population of rattlers. So, I guess you could say we’re getting a new lawnmower!

I’ve been researching the various goat species for the past few days, just so I’m ready to raise it when it gets here. I’m hoping we don’t end up with a dairy goat, because I have neither the time, nor the inclination to be milking it when the need strikes. I do know that the goats up for offer are free-range, hand-fed and so are gentle and comfortable. I have a concern regarding our Rottie’s ability to accept this new addition, but I’ve been assured that the goat will be fully capable of defending itself! Wouldn’t a “fainting goat” be an intriguing addition!

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15 Comments

  1. April 17, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    I like goats. The one’s I’ve known are right between horses and cattle on the intelligence/skittishness scale. Not as smart as a smart horse, nor as nervous. Not as placid as a cow, but more demonstrative and interested in relating to people. If by chance husband has facial hair, they usually like that (it looks more like goat to them). When I wore a “goatee”, all the pregnant females at the fair would come over to me like “are you mah baby-daddy?”

    Hope the Rottie chooses to adjust. THEY are really smart, but with higher intelligence comes more “personality”.

  2. April 17, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    HAHAHAHAHA! I’ll be sure to warn him to keep trimmed! He’s got enough kids running around as it is.

  3. Sarah Baram said,

    April 18, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Ah, a goat! I want a farm complete with a goat and a pig, so I feel very, very jealous of you! I knew a woman when I was younger who made a fortune with her dairy goats, making soap. If your goat isn’t going to be anyone’s dinner, you should look in to it! It would make a great project, I’m sure!

    • April 18, 2010 at 11:03 pm

      Okay… *insert reallly whiney voice here* I don’t wannnnnaaa milk the goat! The soap idea would be an exceptional project, yes, but I just don’t relish the idea of milking the damn thing!

      • Sarah Baram said,

        April 18, 2010 at 11:14 pm

        Ah, I could see that being… Gross? Awkward? A whole list of things actually!
        This may be incredibly out of the blue, BUT, have you ever had a llama, or considered one? Here in Central NJ, it seems to be the thing to do. We know a young girl who is paying for her college tuition with a llama she bought when she was young and has been sheering and selling the wool? from ever since. Coming from CT, llama farming is a whole new culture to me!

        • April 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm

          Now THAT would be cool. As I sit here contemplating the things I could come up with using the wool…..hmmm, I wonder if I can talk hubby into a llama. Must. Do. Research. The goat’s a done deal, he or she’s coming sometime in the near future, but bet he could do with a friend. Do goats and llamas get along, I wonder?

          • Sarah Baram said,

            April 18, 2010 at 11:31 pm

            I’m sure they do! Their booths are next door to each other at our local fairs. So I can only assume!

  4. willowbatel said,

    April 20, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Oh a goat! Oh how exciting! Are you going to build a fence for it then? So it doesn’t get attacked by the local wildlife? I’d love to get a goat, but I really don’t have the room or enough food for it.
    A dairy goat would be loads of fun! They only produce milk when they have babies though (don’t they) so you wouldn’t have to worry too much unless it got pregnant. Or you could just get a boy and be done with that whole issue.

    • April 20, 2010 at 8:21 am

      Hmmm….I don’t know about the pregnant/milk thing, I don’t recall coming across anything specific enough in all my reading. It’s a good thought, I’ll have to dig a little deeper. Yep, we’re going to build it a pen on the back of the chicken coop, he/she will have the “downstairs” in the coop and a pen on the backside. The goat should be able to get all the food it needs from the land, the rock ridge where he’ll hang out is full of alfalfa, a good hearty diet. My daughter made a comment the other day that we’re going to need more “kitchen scraps”. Right now we split scraps up between the compost, the worms, and the chickens, but soon we’re going to have to give the goat his share! Speaking of chicken scraps, I read an article the other day about composting and worm bins. It said to make the process a little quicker, you should run scraps through a food processor or chop them up small. It makes them decompose faster and easier for the worms to ingest. I’ve always just tossed stuff on the compost pile as is, and patiently waited till the following year…I thought that was normal, and the way everyone did it. Apparently, chopping things makes the same amount of compost in a third of the time. I started doing it the next day and hopefully, I’ll have perfect compost before the end of the summer.

      • willowbatel said,

        April 20, 2010 at 6:32 pm

        Oh that should be nice. Will you give it free range of the yard every once in a while? Goats eat a crap load of grass, so it’s going to need new pastures quickly.
        I’ve heard about doing that. We just throw everything into the worm bin though. I’m not going to take the time to sift threw everything and chop it up. Sorry. The worms will digest the food just the same, and it’s less work for me. You have a compost AND a worm pile? Why don’t you just make it one big pile and save the trouble. Worms will eat paper and things like that, so you don’t NEED to separate the piles. I dunno, I’m lazy so I’d just make it one big thing. Plus the dirt would be richer if it was all turned over by the worms anyway.

        • April 20, 2010 at 10:16 pm

          Yes, it’ll be like the chickens, free to roam when we’re outside, or when there’s no threat (although it didn’t really make a difference for the ducks and chickens when the fox got in) There’s about a full acre of alfalfa and other stuff for him to eat, I’m hoping it will at least get him through the summers, if not, there’s a farm down the road where we can get bales of it (this is what we’re planning to do over the winter)
          I’ve been semi-chopping stuff, it’s almost like a juice….lol. I do it every now and then, when I’ve got a full bucket of stuff to take out and a minute or two to throw it in the food processor. Don’t really know if it does work any better, but we’ll see by the end of the summer. And I have so many piles because I’M lazy! They are all over the place. The worm pile is beside the chicken coop and mostly for the vast amount of yard waste, but because there are so many gardens, and because I’m too damn lazy to walk from a garden to a compost pile, I just start them all over. I started a new one today in the kitchen garden. There’s different things in different piles, because different gardens need different things…some are high nitrogen etc. Plus, this is the first year for the worm pile, so some of the compost piles have already be around a while…lol

          • willowbatel said,

            April 21, 2010 at 2:04 am

            Will foxes bother a goat…? I suppose it would depend on the size… but then maybe not because foxes are pretty strong. Maybe you do need a llama lol.
            You have the convience of having a yard big enough to do that with. The only things I leave lying around are the occasional weeds (which I turn over and put back into the flower beds) or the yard tools because I get side tracked and forget to put back the things I don’t need. I really need to get my other worm bin up and running though, because we have too much yard waste for the bin that we have now. And I’d like to stop putting so much yard waste into the yard waste bin for the city to collect every week. I feel like I should be putting all of those nutrients back into the soil instead of removing it from the neighborhood.
            Lol, yea you’re much nicer to your plants than I am. I plant them where I plant them and they grow. That’s all there is to it. They get what they get and they like it. Depending on how poor the soil is, I will put a layer of the worm compost on top of the surrounding ground to make sure the plant gets enough nutrients for a while. The dirt in my yard is actually really poor, so I’m surprised I have so much growing in it. I intend on slowly rotating the dirt out with worm compost, so that there is plenty of nutrients for everything.

            • April 21, 2010 at 7:48 pm

              There’s plenty of times when I just stick plants in the ground willy-nilly, but I like the design aspect of gardening so much and I hate permanence so much, that I’m ALWAYS rearranging things. Willow, I think you could grow a beautiful garden on nothing but stale air….lol all of your fingers and toes are green, nevermind your thumbs! Some people just have the right vibe, like you. Some people have to work a little harder at it, like me 😛 This is your first summer in your new house, did you have gardens that big in your old house? I’m sure you’ll be able to turn the soil around by next spring…it probably has a lot to do with all the pesticides the previous owners used. What are the bylaws about owning wild animals down there? Maybe a fox is in your future. I had a friend once who owned a wolf hybrid, excellent dog, but it was HUGE.
              I’m hoping the foxes won’t bother the goat too much, I guess we’ll see how well he can defend himself against our dog, it might be like the chickens, only free-range when one of us is outside in the yard somewhere.

  5. willowbatel said,

    April 22, 2010 at 2:19 am

    We plant everything according to how much sunlight it needs and how it looks in the yard. If it doesn’t go well somewhere, then we stick it somewhere else. So far our stragtegy has worked very nicely. I’d really love to have what I call a “Ms. Honey yard.” Have you seen Matilda? The teacher Ms. Honey has a yard full of wild flowers and I’d love to have a spot very similar to that in our yard. Possibly in the front…
    What can I say; my ancestors (on both sides of the family) were farmers and my dad’s in the produce business. Growing plants is quite literally in my blood. Don’t sell yourself short; you are quite the gardener.
    Nope, before we moved I did absolutely NO yard work. All of my efforts went into houseplants. My mom wouldn’t let me do anything outdoors (besides mow the lawn) because we were renting so she didn’t want to waste time on the yard. I guess it’s for the best though; I had no regrets leaving. She was worried that she wouldn’t get any help from me with the yard work. Hahahaha; I do more yard work than she does.
    I don’t think my neighbors would take too kindly to having a fox running around. And I wouldn’t be able to keep it in the yard at all. Foxes are pretty spry aren’t they? A wolf hybrid would be perfect. I would enjoy having an enormous dog around. Of course, I’d take him (or her) to a bunch of obedience classes so that, in the event of a burglary, the dog would be able to take orders and rip someone to shreds. I don’t take kindly to burglars.
    If the goat has horns he should be alright… I think a goat might be a bit too much for a fox to handle. I might need to research this just because it’s interesting. Lol.


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