From Ready Nutrition:
Along with a variety of other animals, we raise meat goats for market on our farm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Our herd consists of Boers and Kikos (plus a couple of dairy goat mutts for our own milk consumption) and we breed towards production, not show. As such, all of our goats are expected to be hardy, easy-keepers that require little intervention and are able to produce a good feed-to-meat ratio on mostly forage. Adult goats are expected to mostly forgo the pampering that some people’s herds are blessed with, like warm barns and cozy nests of hay, even though our area averages below freezing temperatures in winter and it’s not uncommon to get several feet of snow after a storm. The only exception to this rule is during kidding season when does and kids need additional shelter or we have an animal that requires veterinary care or convalescing. We do have a 3-sided shelter for the goats to come in out of wind and rain, but for the most part, they choose to be out and about unless it’s really pouring.
Stella, a five-year-old Boer doe, came to us about a year ago from a local woman who homesteads. She had dwarf Nigerians and small children; and Stella, in all her big, brassy Boer glory, was running them all ragged. The woman’s property had a perimeter fence and a smaller fenced area for the goats, but for the most part, she allowed all the goats to run around freely in her yard and driveway area. This meant neither species of “kid” was able to get away from Stella and her horns. So, despite the fact that she was an easy keeper, proven kidder, and great mother Stella had to go.
She proved to be just as much a handful once we got her to our farm as she had been at the homestead that she came from. She had no concept of what a stanchion was about, didn’t want anyone touching her feet, and acted like her life depended on getting away every time we put a lead on her. It was obvious Stella was going to need some hands-on work to make it safe for us to work with her.
Handling a New Goat
The first order of business was to take the dog collar off of her. We don’t keep any kind of rope, collar, or halter on our goats. As pastured goats with horns, it’s too easy for them to get them caught on branches or each other. Stella didn’t like us much and if she had been trained to come to a feed bucket, she didn’t act like it. She was not about to be fooled by our shenanigans. So how do you catch an ornery, unfriendly goat that can out-run and out-mountain climb you? With a lariat, of course!
We roped Stella from the ground and quickly tied her to a sturdy picket line. For those of you that don’t know,…