FAT GOATS AND FAT BIRDS

Our whole herd of milking goats is tubby and slow, the older goats due to give birth in only three more weeks. We give them special treatment - plenty of clean, dry bedding in the loafing barn, plenty of delicious, fortified grain for them to try and squeeze into their distended tummies.

She's expecting twins, at least

We're thwarted in our tender care, though, by rampaging clouds of birds who anticipate the fresh buckets of feed in the troughs, swoop down to feed themselves, and spoil the grain for the goats, who won't eat birdshit, pregnant or not.

I could eat a little more if the birds had left any

Caramel the farm cat is way out of her depth here. A pride of hungry farm cats wouldn't deter these birds. We've tried a hinged cover, made of sawn-up pipe, to protect the trough from bird attack while leaving a space for goats to nibble, but goats like to see where they're going and what they're doing, and are naturally reluctant to feed with reduced vision.

The trough cover, effective against birds but upsetting for goats

Annie and Ryan saw plenty of English farms and orchards with dangling CDs over the Christmas holiday, the flashes of light in the sun seemingly scaring the birds, so we've decorated the barn. They look like nursery mobiles for the baby goats! I doubt the birds will be fooled for long, though, so send your bird-scaring ideas to us. Meanwhile, best wishes for a happy and healthy 2011!

 

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