It’s a little embarrassing to put this out there, but the fact is that we’re not great at following through. We have a great many dreams, a plethora of plans, an unlimited amount of ‘gonna do’s but when push comes to shove, we require a combination of the aforementioned pushing, shoving and a great many other forms of persuasion to actually take the plunge.
So it was with the goat’s introduction to the Homestead. We’d organised the paddock space, bought the feed shed, felled the Yew, and read voluminous screeds on the life, times and how-to-do’s of goat tending but when The Farmer rung to say he was bringing Miss Nessie home with him THAT NIGHT we felt far from prepared. In short, our hand was forced.
Nessie’s arrival heralded stuff getting real
Since that fateful phone call nearly two years ago, we have learnt that this approach is actually a good thing. It’s taught us that, however much we do, we never feel prepared for any major happenings, that some stuff can only be learned by total immersion, and (most exciting of all) we are actually pretty dang inventive, adept at knocking something together with the obligatory binder-twine and long nails, to make do in the interim.
Take an old rabbit hutch,some left over chicken fence, a hand sawn hunk of plywood and, hey presto: a goat hay feeder!
It’s a common belief that goats will eat anything. It’s probably their ecstatic munching through tree prunings, ivy, gorse, bramble, thistles and all manner of “rubbish” that gives this impression of an unfussy palate, but in truth they’re rather particular. One thing they need to keep their insides healthy is a steady supply of hay… loads of it… constantly; but once that hay hits the dirt, they’re not interested.
As time passes, adaptations are made to our inventions – binder-twine is a much under-rated building material!
Our ladies enthusiasm for sustenance coupled with their innate intelligence and nifty horn work kept us busy thinking up ways to keep the hay du jour dry and the feeder intact, all the while sure in the knowledge that the clock was ticking on our contraption.. Then, one day our resident Mechanical Engineer reached for her drawing board.
In a Union Homestead first, a collaboration with the wonderful Mr Craig King (fixer of weatherboards, welder extraordinaire, and one not easily surprised – “…a goat feeder,” barely detected eyebrow raise, “…okay...”) we give you the result of eighteen months garnered, on-the-fly, knee-jerk, goat feeder knowledge:
The Union Homestead Hay Buffet!
It’s tough, won’t rust, keeps the hay dry, comes with the coveted Geraldine/Leia/Ruby stamp of approval
and, importantly, ensures that almost all the fodder ends up where its meant to – inside the goats.
Yep, right now we’re feeling pretty pleased with ourselves.