Wow, has time kind of slipped away. I’d like to say I’ve been really busy, but mostly, I’ve been lazy. I’ve been trying to think of a way to expand the goat pen, without losing any space or having to move things around a whole lot. HA! Man, I hate doing pens.
Like I said, I’m lazy, but it’s been so hot and humid here that I just can’t get going outside. I go do the chores in the morning and evening when it’s not 98 degrees (that is about 105-110 with the heat index), but in between, I’m in the house trying to get caught up on house work. I haven’t even worked on the blog (as you can tell!).
I have a small 10′ x 10′ goat shed that I call the barn. It is facing South to keep the North winds out, since it is only 3 sided. The doe pen is open to the barn so they have shelter. The buck pen comes off the barn, but is closed off to access as they have a separate shelter.
So here’s what I see for the pens. My plan is to extend the buck pen to the North, to allow access to more field, and then to divide that into smaller pens. I am hoping to end up with four pens inside this one field. Three small pens (with a smaller one inside for weaning and kids) and one large open one (there are currently cows in there, but when they are moved, I hope to have it fenced off with field fence).
Each of the fields will be used for different groups of goats. The first will be for the registered Nigerians. This includes Annie, Indy and Bandit (and of course Jane, but she will be separated soon for weaning). The second will be for the unregistered Nigerians and Pygmies which are Scrappy, Charlie, Ladybug and Nutter Butter. The third pen will be for the Alpines; Hermes, Mocha and Izzy. (We do have 2 goats not mentioned for pens, but they are headed for butcher, so they won’t be included.)
I still have to finish fencing off the area that was the dry lot. They planted seed in it so that it could be used for the goats and cows if needed and that is almost half an acre (maybe, I’m a terrible judge on that) to use as well. I’m planning on a couple of movable temp fences for this fall.
Why a Separate Pen?
This separation makes it easier for breeding season. Everyone will be where they need to be. Afterwards, I will put the boys back in one pen and the does in one. I will be left with an open field that will allow it to rest and one to use as a kidding pen. When the girls have babies, they will be put in the larger field to rotate the other out for rest. So, essentially the plan is to have two areas resting while the other 2 are in use. We will see how this works.
Another reason we separate is to prevent unwanted breeding. While I really don’t mind if Scrappy was to breed the two registered does, I couldn’t register the offspring. I really wish that there was a way to reach his breeder (or figure out who it was!) because he is a really nice looking goat and he has the best temperament! But, since I have no idea, and I’m really going for registered stock, I have to keep him with the other girls. I may eventually breed him to one of these girls but, just for shits and giggles really and to hopefully get a damn nice goat.
I keep some unregistered stock for the milk. Most people who want just milkers don’t care about papers, but just how the goat is towards people. Most of my goats are really friendly, some of them not so much, so having a friendly buck is a great thing! He can pass that down to his babies and I can handle him easily.
What do we Use for our Pen Fence?
We’ve been using field fence for the perimeter of the fields and then I put cattle panels where I want the pens. It makes it easier on me if I want to change things around. Most of the time it is just me doing the fence and I can move panels easier than I could a whole fence.
We buy most of our supplies at Tractor Supply (Danny works there and we get a discount). Fencing that we buy is the RedBrand and it comes in 330′ rolls. We get regular 16′ cattle panels for the pens.
So, while it’s a work in process, I hope to get it done before fall. That way I won’t have to do it this winter while waiting for kids to be born. One of these days I will be ahead of things!
What do you use for fencing and do you rotate your fields?