Acquired: Rescue / shelter group
Posted Feb 14, 2015
Blanchette was one of two goats that we acquired, effectively rescuing them from somebody who had rescued them herself but could no longer look after them.
Blanchette jumped out of the back of the vehicle on arrival and looked quite lively.
"What have we done?"
Her age, however, meant that she was not the nightmare that people had assured us she would be.
She destroyed most small trees and plants within her range, but nothing was worth running too far or too fast in her opinion. She escaped multiple times, but could normally be herded back into her enclosure, which was a farly simple wire fence, fortified with logs and branches in places. I say 'fortified', but as I write this I recall that logs also served as steps for her to climb up and over.
The dogs immediately challenged her for the enclosure. She head-butted one of them and the dispute was quickly over. Both dogs decided that they didn't like that part of the garden anyway, but that they might come and splash around in her water when she wasn't looking.
Blanchette used to watch my hands when I locked up the gate behind me. She'd look from my hands, to my eyes and back to my hands, suggesting that she really understood the mechanism of what I was doing, but fortunately she had hooves instead of fingers and thumbs, otherwise she'd have been in the cottage and I'd have ended up in the enclosure for the night.
Bit by bit, she tested and discovered weaknesses in the fence, which then had to be strengthened, but on the whole this seemed like an exercise in exerting her independence ... and sometimes attempting to eat the rose bush.
I was hoping that Blanchette would keep the grass down, but she was not particularly interested in grass at all. I'm afraid I don't recall why that was. Perhaps it was the time of year or simply that goats don't care that much for grass.
At first, I would go out to the field and suggest that she, you know, got up and ate some grass. Now! Eventually, I ended up just sitting down next to her.
"You know, you're right," I'd say. "This view is amazing."
The grass grew up around us, but we could feed her the sharpest, nastiest brambles and they'd disappear in seconds, so that was good.
I don't know much about milk production, quality of meat or fibres. We didn't go there.
An interesting animal to have around, but, yes, do watch out for the destruction of your plant life and other structures, especially if your goat is quite young. And yes, they will escape at some point.