Monday, September 21, 2009

Goats are like water

What is a stanchion? It's a stand for securing a goat (or sheep or cow). I use a stanchion for hoof trimming and milking. I'd been using a friend's stanchion. It worked well enough. It got the animal up to a height easier to milk, and had cleats for tying the back feet to prevent kicking. However, the neck guide was great in theory and didn't work so well for my mini goats.

So before building my new stanchion I took a look at design variations at the library and online. I particularly liked this one from Fias Co Farm, with a keyhole neck gate design. Best of all, the plans were in an easy-to-print pdf and included shopping details. It took one afternoon to build, with DH doing the keyhole neck cuts with the jigsaw.

I have two changes to the original design. The first is the addition of cleats for tying hind feet. (It really isn't any fun when your goat sticks her hind foot in the milking pail, although the chickens enjoy the treat of resulting contaminated milk.) The other is height. 14" legs might work for a full size goat, but this is just to low for easy milking on my minis.

You can see that Maharani approves of the mini-feeder attached to the front.

So does this Western fence lizard. I'm not sure how he got in there, but he was really happy to be let loose back on the ground.

A discussion with a local forester with UN experience in Africa had this story to share. After spending LOTS of money to revegetate a particular area, my friend approached the village chief to discuss the goats which were rapidly eating all of the new plantings. "If we don't contain the goats, all of this work will amount to nothing." "Ah," said the chief, "you have to understand. Goats are like water and are not easily contained."

What does this have to do with the price of tea in China? Well, goat fencing occupies a lot of my husband's time, as goats are particularly adept at exploiting any weakness in a fence. So this story has become our new mantra. Goats are like water...

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