Grazing in the snow...

Discussion in 'Goats' started by sbfarmer, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. sbfarmer

    sbfarmer Member

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    Just curious if anyone grazes their goats in snow? I had had them out when it was only a couple inches, but now it's 6 inches, and crusty. They've got plenty to eat, but seem bored, and keep trying to follow me out of the yard, so I'm going to at least take them out for a walk today to see how they feel about it.

    There's plenty to eat above the snowline...catbrier, multiflora rose, and honeysuckle (the rose and honeysuckle still have leaves, too). Is it worth taking them out?
     
  2. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    I take mine for a walk every day, whether there's anything for them to actually eat out there or not. They paw at the ground, chew on branches, and play - then they raid the bird feeders :rolleyes: . I think it's good for them to get some air during the day, I know I feel better when I get outside for a bit.

    We don't have any more snow on the ground since the chinook a couple weeks ago, but there sure isn't anything growing out there right now.
     

  3. trixiwick

    trixiwick bunny slave

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    Our goats have access to pasture all the time, even now (with about 6" of snow left from the last storm). They don't like it much, but they still spend some time outside, seeing what there is to see and eating what little there is to eat. They have been pretty bored for the past week of bad weather and I think it would be much worse if they didn't have any outside access at all.

    Besides, it's just fun to take a walk with your goats! I'm sure they'll appreciate it.
     
  4. moosemaniac

    moosemaniac Well-Known Member

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    We have a pretty large pasture fenced in for them. They are out unless it's really bitter...then they get sooooo humble, poor babies. I can't imagine trying to take a walk with 5 goats. Could be fun though. :haha:

    Ruth
     
  5. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Everyone should walk their goats...I had 9 this summer that I walked daily because at my parents its just a small barn fenced area. I walked and sat for about 2 hrs a day with them. At least until the bear started woofing us. I didnt mind jumping moose and deer but a hungry black bear was too much.

    During the winter even if they dont graze the sunshine is good for them (vit.D). They will eat cedar pine and fir if they can reach it...maple bark is also a favorite and apple tree prunings. I give my gals xmas trees to keep them busy in the barn this time of year, but mine are not fond of the snow and ice is very dangerous...we had a buck break a leg so we gave him to the neighbor for meat. I dont ever see mine paw at the snow like a horse or deer for that matter.
     
  6. sancraft

    sancraft Well-Known Member

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    I'm in GA, so mine have only seen snow once or twice. They always look at it, but won't go out in it. Then they look back at me as if I'm trying to set them up for something. :haha:
     
  7. Corky

    Corky Well-Known Member

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    MY GOATS HAVE ACCESS TO ALL THEIR PASTURES THIS TIME OF YEAR.
    OUR DONKEY USUALLY TAKES THEM OUT A COUPLE OF TIMES A DAY. IT IS SNOWING RIGHT NOW AND THEY DON'T LIKE IT SO THEY HANG AROUND THE BARN MOST OF THE DAY. WE DON'T HAVE MUCH SNOW AND IT WILL BE GONE SOON ENOUGH. I DON'T MIND IF THEY ARE LAZY FOR A DAY. THEY ALWAYS SEEM TO FIND SOMETHING TO EAT IN THE PASTURES AND WE LIVE ON A MOUNTAIN SIDE SO THE EXCERSIZE IS VERY GOOD FOR THEM. HOPEFULLY THEY ARE ALL PREGNANT. WELL... THE DOES ANYWAY. :haha:
     
  8. elly_may

    elly_may Well-Known Member

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    I let my goats out in their yards, unless it is bitter cold. Even though we have about 10 inches of snow with a cleared path to the hay feeder, they still wander through it, shake themselves off, and go back to get a bite to eat. My girls today were sticking their heads into the drifts just to see if there may be some tastier hay pieces or anything that needed to be gotten and looked like snow goats when they looked up at me. The last few days we have had bitter winds so they got their hay inside. On days that it's just cold, I open the doors and let them make the choice and secure them in late in the afternoon when the temps start going down and give more hay inside for the nighttime.
     
  9. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Mine have a three-sided (well, partially four-sided) shelter, and always have access outdoors. If it isn't actually snowing or raining, they are outside quite a bit, though there isn't anything for them to nibble on in their pen. On the coldest night we've had, several degrees below zero, they chose to sleep cuddled up together on some alfalfa stems I'd thrown out of their manger into the outside pen. They could have been inside, but chose not to. They have to go out to get to their water bucket, which is good, as I don't think it's good for them to stay inside all the time, even though they have plenty of room.

    Goats love dry leaves, bark, and twigs, so if you can take them out for a walk, they'll probably find something tasty to nibble on (just keep them away from your fruit trees and berry bushes unless you want them pruned!). I take mine for walks sometimes, and, while I sometimes have to use leashes on a couple of them, and drag them away from the vicinity of their pen, once we get going they follow like puppies. My daughter will go galloping ahead, and they blat at her in distress -- I think they are telling her not to leave the herd! :cool:

    Kathleen
     
  10. sbfarmer

    sbfarmer Member

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    Well, I brought them out for a walk and they were soooo excited. I guess I has thought they wouldn't like the snow because they gave me the "no way Jose" dance the day after the storm, but the snow was blowing then, so I guess that's what they didn't like. After my original post, I had asked my friends at Agway, and they said to stop pampering them and put them out to work!

    BTW: they were out in the sun in the meantime, but only in the barnyard...they've made a little "nest" by a south facing stone wall there. The current grazing field is a 5-10 minute walk from the barnyard (I have a portable electric-mesh fence).

    I love walking around with the goats anyway! I also bring them with me when I'm pruning along the creek, they're like my little fan club, wating for me to toss another branch for them to eat :).