Goats, and the never ending quest for chicken feed

So my goats LOVE chicken feed. Problem is, they are not supposed to have it. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really know why, and I still have yet to find out. Mostly because I am far too busy keeping them out of it to do the research!

As many of you know, I have goats because they are supposed to be champion poison ivy eaters. I don’t know about that either. Mostly because I am still learning how to keep them under control when they are outside their goat proof fence.


Smeck (in the rear) & Kramer (front) out on weed patrol

The first couple times I had them outside the fence on weed patrol they were AWESOME! They needed very little disciplining. I think I had them out to graze for about an hour, and only forty five minutes of that time was spent getting them out of trouble

Once I got the wife and the boy out there to help I was able to double the amount of time spent keeping them out of trouble.

I really don’t understand it! If you saw my yard, you would have a hard time understanding it too. The place hasn’t seen a working lawn mower in almost a year! It was last October when my big orange expensive model gave up the ghost on me. I believe it was about two months after the factory warranty ran out.

At any rate, there is PLENTY of stuff for hungry goats to eat. I have roses, raspberries, jewel weed, thistle, burdocks, Queen Anne’s lace, rag weed, dandelions, grass, mint, and who knows what else! But all those goats want are the three things they are not allowed to have: My Concord grapes, my young apple trees, and of course…CHICKEN FEED!


“Look what I can do!” Said Smeck as he leapt gracefully onto the table…

The wife was out helping me the other day, and Billy came up to her and said “Good morning! How ya been? Hey! Look what I can do!” and he leapt up onto the bistro table beside her.

The wife thought this was amazingly adorable, and snapped a few pictures. Meanwhile, Smeck and Kramer waltzed right by her, and started munching my grape vines. Jen turned around and faced them and gave them a poke with a “HEP!” Stick which is a highly advanced goat herding tool that resembles a ski pole, but the old farmer that sold it to me assured me it was not. Meanwhile, Billy made a 4 foot leap from the table, and landed smack in the middle of the grapes, and munched away with his co-conspirators.

Once we got them under control, I decided that I had enough of the goats for the day, and told Jen and William it was time to get them back into the pen before something bad happened to them.

Apparently, they took my threat seriously, and while Billy and Kramer patiently ate raspberry bushes outside the gate to the pen, Smeck executed a BRILLIANT plan of his own. He acted like he was going to go straight into the pen, but instead made a break for the chicken feed. But AH HA!!! William was waiting for him with a “HEP!” Stick!

William shouted “HEP! HEP!” and poked Smeck in the rear flank, and Smeck bolted into the grazing area that had been occupied by Bruce the visiting bull calf a couple weeks ago.

William and I went after him, and Billy and Kramer made their move on the chicken feed. I turned my back on Smeck who was munching on some goldenrod, and herded Billy and Kramer into the goat pen, and my wife closed the door.

I turned my attention to Smeck, who I expected to see eating chicken feed, and was surprised when I saw that he was just standing there chewing on something.

I walked up to him, intending to grab his collar and take him into the goat pen, but he hopped forward a couple steps. I made a grab for him, and stepped down hard on a board with a nail in it! The nail stuck nice and deep into the meaty part of my left foot, just below the little piggy that stayed home!

Smeck laughed and ran into the goat pen while I taught my ten year old some words he should NOT teach his buddies on the playground, when school starts on Friday. Jen closed the gate behind him, and I could hear those naughty goats high-fouring each other, and giggling.

I’ve never eaten goat before, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to start now, so I decided I better remove myself from the equation for the day, and we took a trip into town.

Before I left, I decided that when I let them out later in the evening to graze, I would remove the chicken feed from the equation.

I took the 5 gallon feeder, and put it inside the shed, and fed the chickens a couple handfuls of grain out in the driveway. Those hens have been eating too much grain anyway! Having chicken feed available all day was making them lazy, and the grasshoppers were starting to think my place was perfect for some sort of grasshopper colony!

When I got into Bangor, I decided that since goats like chicken feed so much, I would just let them out to graze, and then lure them easily back into their pen with GOAT FEED!!!! I mean goat feed is made FOR goats! So if they like chicken feed so much, they must LOVE goat feed!

I went into the feed store, and grabbed a 50lb bag impressed with my cleverness, and headed back home. When I got home, I put the grain in a steel trash barrel, and headed over to the goat pen to let them out. As I approached the gate, Kramer walked up out of the back yard, and said “Hey! How you doin??? Did you know we are out of chicken feed?”

How he got out of the fence, I have NO idea! I walked the entire fence and found nothing that indicated a goat had gone over, under or through!

There has been a large white ape spotted in the area recently, and since my fence is goat proof, he MUST have let him out. That is the only explanation I can come up with!

Anyway, I got a bucket of goat feed, and took it over to Kramer and let him get a good sniff, and sure enough, he followed me right into the pen! I poured equal portions into three separate bowls, and watched as all three goats ate from one bowl. Then they butted heads a few times, before all three of them moved to the next bowl. This time they butted each other in the ribs before moving onto the third bowl. At the third bowl they attempted to but heads, but ended up rearing up and kicked at each other with their front hooves, before going back to the first bowl.

I’ll let you know how the grazing goes today. early indications are that I am finally onto something, and should be able to get the goats out on poison ivy control very soon!

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.