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Goats are loving black berry bushes

posted Jun 26, 2011, 6:06 PM by Admin at Yacolt Mountain Farm and Nursery   [ updated Jun 26, 2011, 6:36 PM ]

After feeding the baby goats milk every morning and evening and keeping them in a small protected pasture they have slowly graduated to the big pasture. Goats can be weaned anywhere between 8 weeks and 20 weeks of age and although I thoroughly enjoyed watching the little ones suck down the milk with overwhelming enthusiasm it was quite a bit of extra work and it was becoming a little difficult to keep up with since we are going to markets three time a week. It wasn't so much the feeding that took time but the pasteurization of the milk that did. You may ask me then why pasteurize if I'm getting quality milk, well it is because of CAE (caprine arthritis encephalitis) a pretty serious disease that can be passed on to goats through milk which does not affect humans. The previous owner who I bought the goats from had followed a careful prevention program by pasteurizing all the milk she fed her baby goats and I wanted to continue the same to guarantee my goats are CAE free, especially since some goats can carry the disease without symptoms. Pasteurizing gallons of milk weekly took quite some time so when the youngest one turned 14 weeks I started decreasing the amount of milk I gave to wean them. 
They have been getting familiar with our sheep from the beginning since their stall is right next to the sheep but now they are following the sheep's daily routine of going to graze on the big pasture. 
Although they definitely love the blackberry bushes, they do not like to venture far in the pasture on their own. I'm guessing the tall grasses are intimidating and they are still pretty small. I try to walk them out the the blackberries every day so that they get a good mouthful but so far as soon as I walk back they seem to just want to follow me back. I'm hoping they will get more comfortable going to eat the large bushes on their own since they are quite nutritious for them and they do seem to love them, but it may take a little time.

Click on the next picture for a little video