FULL CIRCLE
Twelve years ago I won Goldie at a Halloween carnival. It was a rather demanding goldfish, and ate all its subsequent friends, if the blue heron didn't get to them first. Until July, we kept Goldie, and mosquito fish, in the water tanks in the pasture, but we've just moved the goldfish to a delightful sunken bath in the garden. We will be collecting rain water in giant tanks, and treating it with chlorine tablets, before distributing it, fish-free, to the goats.

bath

Future home for future Goldies

This, and other changes on the farm, follows a visit by Dr. Andrea Mongini, our veterinarian and expert on goat breeding practices. Our farm management evolves constantly, but these particular changes take us full circle, back to the early days of the farm. We used to rear the babies in small groups, split between separate pens - the shop used to be a birthing pen... - and we'll return to these very small groups of five to eight babies each. Andrea made it clear that what may seem like a serene field of goats is more like a school playground of teenage girls: queen bees, acolytes, loners and victims. The boss goat may actually prevent weaker goats from feeding, so there'll be more corrals and feeding troughs. We'll raise the babies off the pasture, on grain and hay, away from the domination of older goats. This should provide a strong start for our breeding goats, and it will help us spot viruses - and hermaphroditism - in the new stock. We're also changing ventilation in the "loafing barn" - their covered hanging-out space. You might notice vents in the ceiling and windows on the side, which will improve air flow over the hay. Hope future Goldies won't be lonely, once they've eaten all their friends. No more goat company for them.

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