Wednesday, June 6, 2012

You have too many goats if:

This past year I have found myself thinking we have too many goats for a number of reasons and here are a few of my conclusions. You know you have too many goats:
  1. When you are asked how many goats you have, and it takes several minutes to count and name them on your fingers before you are able to give an answer.
  2. When you can't take your annual winter vacation this year because you're broke - because of how much money is getting spent on grain, hay and supplements. Or along the same lines but even worse, when you skip high dollar items, treats, at the grocery store so you still have enough money for alfalfa and sunflower seeds for the goats.
  3. When you are constantly excusing bad goat behavior, saying, "she just needs to get handled more." 
  4. When you start cutting corners with their feed regime, wanting to always have kelp, molasses and olive oil on hand, but instead have it around about half the time. Or the milkers are looking scrawny and you know they need more Alfalfa, but since you can't afford it you start soaking the peas or high protein legumes from your kitchen cupboards, if it's summer, taking them for longer browsing walks, etc.
  5. When the manure and leftover hay pile up faster than you can move it out, or maybe that just happens no matter how many livestock you have??
  6. When you run out of room. When goats start sleeping outside instead of fighting for prime indoor space.
  7. When you start fantasizing about a day in the future when you have less goats.
  8. When you sit down with the receipts from the year and realize what else you could have done with that huge chunk of money, several vacations, new house, (hah, just kidding- about the house).
I'll add more as I think of them. Anyone? I'll bet some of you can add to this list. For these reasons, I am in downsizing mode. I'm not making any drastic decisions yet. And I'm not selling any milkers yet. I am committed to providing our shareholders with milk through the season. But this is most likely going to be our last year, for a while at least, selling goat shares.  I found myself dreaming about being an old lady with two or three milkers. Then I starting thinking, why wait? As one of my girlfriends pointed out this week, sometimes you have to take things to the extreme before you find some balance. I started cleaning out a small area of deep pack bedding this week. After an hour of sweating and bug swatting and heavy pitchforking, I yelled out to Dustin that I'd forgotten how much work it is getting the old hay mixed with manure back out of the pen. And again I found myself thinking how much less poo we'd be moving with a few goats. By next summer I'm thinking we'll just have a handful of goats. For now, I'm constantly thinking of who can go and who must stay.


barefootmommy said...

I know all about the deep pack manure cleaning! We only have 5 fiber goats, 2 alpacas and a llama, but they make a lot of manure, particularly in the winter in the barn. It took me a week this spring to clean out their barn a section at a time this time. Usually i can do it in one or two days. We have 2 new babies and plan to sell 2 older mama goats. When you have fiber goats and you don't have time to spin their fiber into yarn because you're too busy taking care of them, you know you have too many goats. :)

Buttons said...

Good luck on your decisions. It is very frustrating isn't it? B

Ashling said...

If you're feeling this way, then after the initial feelings about the letting go, you're going to feel great...and so will the goats who stay!

Rose said...

I cut way down on my goats this year too. Here's one to add to the list:

You know you have too many goats when chores start feeling like WORK!

Miranda said...

I totally understand the need for simplicity. Sometimes things get bigger than we planned. I don't know how you've managed up until this's just such hard work!

We're enjoying our milk, but if at any point, you'd like to get rid of some shares, just let me know. I hope your summer is going wonderful. It seems to be bug-gy and wet so far, but I won't complain since I know winter is will start bearing down on us soon enough.

Reasonable Season (Me) said...

This was an interesting post to read - especially since we don't have goats, but think about going in that direction in the future (the far-off future).

Thank you for sharing!

Jewel said...

After one year of keeping goats and going through a winter of feeding them all. I know the perfect number for me would be 3-4 does and 1 buck. We have 4 does, 1 buck, 1 wether and 2 kids, a doeling and buckling. 3 must go, the wether's first and the doeling is already spoken for thankfully. I only have one Lamancha and she's by far the favorite around here. Making the decisions about who stays and who goes is so hard to do.