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Tiny Butter and Lola sniffing noses at the bottom of the picture. Too cute.

Poison Oak.

Don’t get me wrong. I really like these little goats. Love them? Maybe. I might even love them. But that doesn’t mean I will happily feed them alfalfa (at $20 a bale these days) morning and night while they turn their tiny noses up at the poison oak that they were specifically hired to eat. It’s their JOB. These two boys anyway, were brought to our lovely home, given a luxurious barn, spacious accommodations of the highest quality, and all we asked in exchange was that they eat poison oak. Their alternative fates could have been much worse.  An 8 year old 4-H er, dragging them around to goat shows? Someone with a taste for milk-fed kid goat? Who knows? The options for male dairy goats are few. But we took them in, with one simple request: Please eat our poison oak. We know they CAN. We know other goats consider it a delicacy in fact. But no. They refuse. Hay hay hay. All they want is hay.

It’s hard because the only advice we’ve gotten is to feed them a lot less hay, and they’ll get so hungry they’ll start eating other things. Well, we’ve been doing that, but it hasn’t worked, and they seem STARVING everytime we feed them. They aren’t actually starving. They’re very healthy, but they are growing babies after all. It seems rather harsh to restrict their food to the point where they’re panicking about it. Am I being too soft?

Paul came up with a great idea. Put a bunch of PO leaves in with the hay in the feeder. They’ve got to eat some of it that way, especially the with the way they wolf down their food. And then that way they’ll get a taste for it, and then they’ll start eating it in their pen, and then we can start putting them in the portable pen and…and…

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Eating around the poison oak

Sigh. Ok blogosphere, I need your help. How do I get my goats to start browsing and stop relying exclusively on hay?  I’m getting desperate here!

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