Goatling Greatness

The twins are working hard with mom to clear bramble while the days are dry. This is the last sunny day for many days to come and it certainly feels like the shift into fall is truly here. Leafhopper plans to breed Brownie again in November, crossing her with neighboring Hawthorn Farm’s kinder buck. With such genetic crossing, we’re not quite sure what will come out of the match, but my hope is to have a smaller goat with better milking ability. The farm is not ready to go into milking production yet, but this last summer, Brownie bagged up and kept full for almost 5 months. Her twins were well fed and grow happily now with the extra milk nutrition showing in their strong, healthy bones and stocky stance. Bran, on the left in this picture, has a brilliant wide chest, and I’m glad to see his sir Rex’s genetics taking shape.

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The continued bramble management plan is shifting. Goats can defoliate, but the roots and shoots remain, allowing recovery and spread of more cane each year. This patch has been heavily browsed many times this year already, and still remains. This is why the minimal use of a brush hog to remove overgrowth will allow better continued prevention in future. As small regrowth returns, it will be possible to graze off the young shoots. The old stalks have not been removed by grazing, and even the pigs avoid them.

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Eventually, this area will host chicken paddocks on a well planned rotational system to keep birds on fresh pasture, and bramble growth out. I’ll also be pleachering that alder this fall to reinforce the fence line on that property boundary. It is the divide between the northern zone one human habitation area of the land, and the southern outer zones of cultivation and wildness.

Goats will continue to be a part of Leafhopper Farm, and the land slowly evolves into the thriving holistic habitat for plants, animals, and the stewards who cultivate its richness. I always remember that goats were my first livestock system on the land, and they have helped make the terrain accessible again. I look forward to many more years of goat sculpted edge spaces where forest meets field.

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