A feast of apples a day keeps the goats at bay!

For the time being the goats have lost their obsession with chicken feed when they are out of the pen to graze. Now they are obsessed with apples!

Down in the area that once was, and one day will be again, my shade garden, there is an old apple tree. I don’t know what kind of apples they are. They are small, and yellow, and they are fairly sweet, and there are millions of them!

Before the goats came, they were a favorite of a trio of deer who like to stop by in the night during deer hunting season, and eat them.

(The deer also like to take selfies outside my bedroom window, in various poses. Some feigning an agonizing death, others with big bunches of my grapes in their mouths, and other forms of mockery, because they know I’ll be getting up an hour and a half before daylight, so I can be in the abandoned orchard up behind the hay field across the street, hoping for a shot at a nice freezer sized deer…But that is another story.)

So since the apples have started falling, the goats head almost straight for the apple tree whenever the gate to their pen is opened at grazing time. The goat that is in the lead will stop along the way and grab a mouthful of grass, and then continue down the hill when the other two goats catch up.

Now Billy, who seems to be the dimmest candle on the cake, will often stop dead in his tracks, and pretend like he has found the most scrumptious greenery to feast on, and will give off little bleats of pleasure with every bite, as he munches plain old grass. This draws Smeck and Kramer over to him.

Once on the spot Billy has selected, Kramer and Smeck will start to fight for position, and will then start sampling a bit of everything within a ten foot radius, trying to determine just what it was Billy found so delightful.

Meanwhile, Billy has made a beeline to the apples, and has already hoovered up a dozen or so of the smallest apples before the other two have caught on.

Eventually, all three goats will make it down to the old tree, and start munching away. Before long the air is full of the sweet aroma of apples! In a few weeks as it gets cooler, when the leaves start to change, and the grasses and weeds start to die out, the smell will be intoxicating.

Now, I have never really checked my goat’s teeth. But apparently they are not equipped with the kind they need to get a good bite on anything but the smallest apples.


Smeck (R) Billy (L) and Kramer (rear) enjoying apples

They will pick up an apple  that is just about a size between a golf ball, and a tennis ball, and jostle it around their mouths with their tongue, trying to move it into position to crush it with their back teeth. Occasionally, because they are drooling so much, the apple will pop right out of their mouths to land sometimes ten or twelve feet away!

All the while, there are little battles going on over the best spots to eat. It doesn’t matter that this is a well established apple tree, that is full of fruit both in the tree, and on the ground. These goats are absolutely positive that they are missing out on something one of the other two has found!

Its pretty entertaining to watch, but the the best thing? They are not plotting my demise! They are so intent on finding the choicest, apples, or in locating the few remaining burdock leaves that they all but ignore me!

I am really enjoying my afternoons with the goats as they feast.  The sun is warm, the air is cool.  The mosquitoes are few and far between, and my goats are behaving themselves…

God help me when the apples run out.


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.