Learning experiences continue.
Without any lawnmowers in our small paddocks the grass grew rapidly through early spring. The arrival of 3 wether, weaned lambs was delayed and so, two weeks ago, as a start to reducing the grass we got a couple of young goats. People had told us that goats were trouble, but we had this idyllic view of these cute animals occupying the paddocks. We strengthened some fencing before we got them. Although a bit scaredy, for the whole of the first week, they stayed inside the fence. Then, last Saturday, they got out. We found them over on the boundary in the orchard and promptly guided them back to their home. I did some further improvements to the fence and left them for the night.
On Sunday morning they were out again. This time they were over the boundary on the neighbour’s property. This neighbour’s house sits within their paddock. Half an hour before leaving for church, there we were chasing these goats round and round their house. Fortunately, they were away! We had to leave the goats there. Arriving back mid-afternoon, we saw these goats sprawled over the neighbour’s out-door furniture on their deck. Again, we try to catch them, in their garden, around their spa-pool, behind their sheds – no chance. These goats are part Boer (a South African meat breed), no one told us they were also part antelope! Eventually we got them back to the boundary and both of them decide to push through the fence. Whew, they are home! I thought one had gone into the vegetable garden and so we guided the other in that direction and into the home paddock. However, by the time we got one there, the other had disappeared off the face of the earth. We looked for her everywhere. We asked other neighbours – no sign of her.
The next day, the remaining goat jumped the fence and took up residence up by our cottage. If I put water out for her by the front it would go round the back – through the dog-proof fence – and if I gave it water round the back… it would go round the front! There it remained. I put notes in letterboxes and it was posted on a local Facebook page, admitting to the neighbourhood we’d lost a goat. We waited. No word. Then, early Tuesday morning there was a call: ‘there’s a little goat in my garden’ – two properties away. We got over there asap and found her trampling some corn seedlings. She took off away from us and behind a garden shed and got stuck in-between it and a fence. The age of miracles is not over!
Rescued, we put her back into the paddock. She promptly jumped the fence and joined her mate up at the cottage. There they stayed for the day (going through the dog-proof fence at will to avoid me). I had ordered a multi-wired fence with a solar powered energiser to make it an electric fence. I was able to pick it up during the day and set up a circle of fencing around their shelter. Then we had to get them from the cottage to the paddock and secured inside the electric fence. We made a barricade with cars, rubbish bins, a set of shelving and some bird netting. We positioned Xara (Beagle dog) to try to put them off going down one lane, and we gently moved them. Perfect! They slipped reasonable quietly into the vege garden and then into the paddock. The fence got electrified and we had them!
And … nearly a week later … its working. They don’t like the fence at all and even though they can jump it, (don’t tell them that) they don’t want to. Like children feel safe within boundaries – these goats have settled down. They are eating the grass down in their area now. We are also trying to befriend them by feeding them stock pellets each day, which they love.
It has been extremely stressful, sometimes you can only laugh in hindsight. The wether-lambs arrive in a week’s time. We’ll work that out when they arrive.