This is Biscuit who is one of our rescued goats. She came originally from a meat market and there are many such places where animals are sold for meat and to the highest bidder. Biscuit would have gone for ritual slaughter if we hadn’t bought her. She is one of our long term residents now and is used to a leisurely life here with us. In the morning there’s a bit of breakfast, usually oats and a handful of pony nuts. Out for a saunter round, a spot of grazing and then back in for a siesta till mid afternoon. Our goats are let out again then for a couple of hours, then it’s a rack of hay, some apples, carrots and a small scoop of corn and they’re bedded down for the night.
Looking after goats is a pleasant thing to do It’s relaxing (unless they escape of course!) and goats are good companions, they are affectionate and it’s not just because they want food. Goats will follow you around whether you feed them or not. They like to browse, eat a few branches or herbs and then have a sit down, after half an hour or so, they’ll be ready to move on. They have four stomachs and chew the cud just like cows. They are herd animals and family groups are important to them, if you keep only one or two goats, then you are their ‘herd’!
Biscuits doesn’t need a rich diet at the moment because she isn’t in kid or milking, so she’s building up her reserves and getting in to good shape after rearing two kids a couple of years ago. We don’t let the goats have kids every year as it wears them down, providing milk for them is a big strain on the body. Biscuit is about ready for motherhood again though and she loves to have a family so we may mate her again this winter.
Goats cme in to season every three weeks during the winter months. The timing is so that they have their kids in the Spring or summer months. Anglo-Nubian goats are slightly different, they come on heat all year round probably because they are desert goats and don’t have to worry about snow and ice. As always our environment shapes us. Goats are in kid for five months and can have anything from one to four kids when they give birth. Two is most usual and to be preferred, mum has two teats and so anything more than that number presents a problem. We once had a goat who gave birth to quads, she reared two naturally by suckling them and we bottle fed the other two – all did well.
Why is this goat called Biscuit? It’s because of her passion for biscuits – she’ll follow you anywhere for a custard cream!