“Let’s make our own goat cheese”. That sounds so nice, doesn’t it? To make goat cheese though, you need goat’s milk – and for that, usually, you first need a goat. And that last bit might have been kind of a problem, as all over the internet (and in real life) people were telling us how hard it is to keep goats. Thankfully, our friends Mellissa and Dan happened to have a few of them. And they were willing to lend us some, for the sake of the experience.
They arrived on January 28th around 15:00, and they left again on January 29th around 17:00.
We learned a lot in those 26 hours.
Goats Will Take You To Places You’ve Never Been
Climb every mountain? Yup, been there today. I discovered it wasn’t actually impossible to climb the ridge behind the house – and the view is beautiful.
Goats Will Take Themselves To Places You Can’t Even Imagine
Yes, this is the rooftop they’re standing on. They were just a tiny bit quicker than me… and went to test out the stability of the roof. It’s stable all right. They also kept trying to get inside the house (where the guys were busy tiling, so NOT a good moment for goats to come and visit – as opposed to other moments when it’s very convenient for goats to trot through your living room).
Goats Are Very Gentle Animals
I grew up with ponies; they will push you away, trample you, headbutt you, and try to eat your hand if you give them a treat – basically, they’re rude.
I thought goats would be exactly the same and was amazed at how gentle they were when taking treats, how they would walk around me instead of pushing me out of the way – generally, I found them more gentle than expected.
Goats Need A Lot Of Active Supervision.
And that’s where it all went a little bit wrong. I thought I’d be able to do stuff while herding goats. Like clean out the maset, answer e-mails, do some yoga…none of that happened. As soon as I looked down at my phone, they climbed 3 terraces at the same time and I had to go running after them. Which only made them run faster.
The original plan was to get an electric net fence, so we could keep them confined a bit while we weren’t there. Then I could go to that get-together with friends, clean up the house once in a while, go for a girls’ day out… After watching them for a few hours though, I wasn’t counting on an electric fence being able to hold them for long.
Thankfully Dan wasn’t difficult about taking them back (which was the plan all along, only not quite so soon). Once we’ve finished the house, then building a stable is first on the priority list… so we can get goats again. They really stole my heart!
Note: this story was originally published on January 30th, 2016. Since then, our house has been (kind of) finished, but we have decided goats are not for now… yet. Also, both Billy and Jojo are no longer alive. Some of their progeny survived and are still living in the neighbouring village of Arens de Lledo.
Since the goats didn’t last, we still needed some help with keeping the grass on the finca under control. We weighed the pros and cons of a lot of different animals, and you can find out what our final decision was here.
Do you have any animals on your property to keep the vegetation in check? What are your recommendations when it comes to keeping grazers?