Tuesday, April 1, 2008


We once thought it might be a good idea to get a goat. Our back garden had, due to laziness on our part, reverted to overgrown English jungle and to clear it and return it to a manageable garden in which to grow vegetables again seemed like too big a task without a flamethrower. The garden was large by our usual standards, and, rather liking the idea theoretically, we thought 'let's get a goat and it can eat all this lovely greenery and keep it under control'. Bad idea.

We bought a female kid in the local market, feisty and voracious, with a distinct personality that we grew to love; forceful, cute, very bright. She settled in well and began to eat. At first all was fine; we fed her vegetable scraps as well as free run of the plants in the garden, and she ate anything we gave her, even trying to eat our clothes while we weren't looking. She grew up and her appetite increased. She ate washing from the clothes line, I always thought that was a rural myth but she really did! I believe fervently that they can digest anything except concrete.

After a while the garden started to look a bit bare, and as she was now fully grown and we were going to be running out of growing food, we had to buy in goat food, and I began to spend at least an hour a day gathering wild food from hedgerows and woods nearby. Everything we provided she ate. I became slave to the goat. She killed a young tree planted by our daughter by stripping off the bark up to the height she could reach on her hind legs, around eight feet.

She had a wicked sense of humour [I expect it's a goat trait], and would run at the pallet fence you were standing behind, launch into the air aiming all four feet at you [causing a sharp fall backwards in alarm] and turning at the last second to launch off the fence inches from your chest. She also learned quickly how to undo the door to the chicken run by watching us [it was a lift and draw bar sort of latch], and would daily let them out to join her, snickering as we struggled to get all the hens back inside, nibbling at our clothing and giving the occasional loving head butt. Quite a sense of humour.

So if your garden is overgrown, get a mower, a trimmer, a scythe, a large pair of scissors, a samurai sword or even a horse. Just don't get a goat unless you have several productive acres. I can't believe Oxfam send them to Africa.

What happened to Rosie? We found someone with lots of land and three goats already, she joined them happily and set about eating the first hedgerow, and never looked back. We missed her for ages, the garden was returned to vegetables and, with frequent doses of chicken shit, produced beautiful crops.

Will goats never cease to amaze? Thanks Peter for the Rosie story! I hope she is happy in her greener and larger pasture these days! Did you know you can rent goats to clear your yard when needed? Rent-a-goat is very popular in some areas. So, since you know you don't want to own a goat, how about renting one the next time your yard needs clearing?

Rent-a-goat is the new craze! These workers are from the Seattle area.

Goat signs, T-shirts, bumper stickers and more at "Getyergoat.com"


Anonymous said...

Love the Rosie story. I agree, goats love gardens. I hadn't had mine eat the clothes off the clothes line yet thought.lol..
And that picture is the greatest!
Thanks Peter. enjoyed it.

Twinville said...

Loved reading about Rosie! What a terrific smile she had! hehe

Several of my neighbors have asked if they could borrow our goats to clear out their gardens and overgrown areas. I know my goats would love it,too.