Monday, 16 March 2015

Our Goat - a tale of ivy and custard creams

Posted by Rosie

Goats eat everything right?  Well they always do in kid's story books, including the washing off the line, so why did we end up with such a FUSSY eater?  Meet Maddie - the world's fussiest goat.  Back in early Feb she won a BAA (Best Animal Award!) for her fussiness but I have to say she has got even worse since then.


A little history


Maddie came to us somewhat unexpectedly before Christmas. She had been abandoned at the holiday home of a friend of a friend.  She was there when he came over in early summer and still there when he returned 6 months later.  He needed her moved on so she ended up here, very thin but otherwise in good heath.  At first she ate fine - slowly nibbling the grass and weeds in her pen, wolfing down sheep/goat nuts but refusing hay. Well, refusing hay until I lobbed some in her pen that was meant as bedding and she scoffed that.  Did she eat it a day later?  No!  A friend then suggested we could give her soaked sugar beet pulp and crushed barley to help put some weight on her and that was fine until one day she refused that.  Crushed barley was all she'd eat plus an anorexic amount of hay. Cabbages were good so long as they were hung up but as soon as they hit the ground she refused to eat them.   See what I mean.  FUSSY!


Maddie

By now she had lost all the weight she had put on so I took to Facebook and joined a Goat Group to see if anyone had some good advice.  These are some of the suggestions and the results:

Try her hay in a hay rack

So I rigged up a hay rack made from an old freezer basket.  She promptly knocked this to the floor so I re-rigged it better. It stayed in place but she still ignored her hay. 

Mmmmm - Ivy

 

Take her for a walk and see what she nibbles on the way

Dog collar borrowed from Harry and off we went.  IVY.  She likes ivy.  She now gets some branches of ivy stuffed into her otherwise obsolete hay rack and now she has got over the fact the ivy was in the dreaded rack she happily munches all of it ... until of course the branches fall to the ground.  I have also just pruned the willow/dogwood hedge alongside the play area and threw some of the cut branches in.  She loves stripping the bark from them, evenif they are on the floor.


Custard Creams

Apparently goats have a sweet tooth so you can crumble some Custard Creams in their food and they'll eat it, then gradually reduce the amount of biscuit until there are none included and they'll still eat the food.  I can get Custard Creams here but they are expensive so I bought the cheapest biscuits Aldi had on offer - a 4 pack of sponge fingers for under a Euro.  We LIKE sponge fingers and now we eat our soaked sugar beet with glee ... and are down to one biscuit mixed in.  I am however, wondering if this is giving her a sugar high as her new favourite game is to run round her pen, leap on the duck ark that is in there - do a little clog dance and then jump off before repeating!


I'm the King of the Castle ...


Company

Goats are herd animals and like company and in fairness has fussiness did get more noticeable when the sheep went. We are on the look-out for more sheep or another goat so fingers crossed that will help.

I am not sure we are out of the woods yet with her fussy eating but we are getting there ... and yesterday I saw her sneakily eating the banana skin I had also put in her food.  Tomorrow I will find out if she ate the apple ...

Have you ever had to contend with an animal as fussy as Maddie?  I'd love to hear how you got on.


 photo 4d06e438-4e6a-4f3b-88b2-0c1093350397_zps361ad0e9.jpg Post Comment Love


39 comments :

  1. It's good to hear that things are improving with Maddie Rosie. And now I see photos of her I'm astonished how much she looks like my Kylie! Take a look at this photo, they could be sister!

    http://www.casalinho.com/week-pictures-january-2015/goats-orchard/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are alike, Andrea. Hopefully Kylie is less fussy than Maddie!

      Delete
  2. One of my younger son's earliest memories is of a visit to a petting zoo where a goat ate his ticket as he was walking along with it in his hand. We were all completely taken by surprise and my friend and I laughed but little 3 year old burst into tears and has never fogotten!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww - some things are so important to 3 year olds. His ticket would have been safe around Maddie, mind you ;)

      Delete
  3. What is it about goats and abandoning their young? We have our first abandoned goat this season too. All branch trimmings are a favourite delicacy of our goats too, they are one of the few animals who don't bother much with the grass. Maddie looks adorable and a real character just as goats should be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For "real character" read "pain in the back side" LOL - but you are right - she is a character, just a really fussy one.

      Delete
  4. I don't think I've ever heard of a fussy goat! I am glad you are managing to find things that she will eat now, it must have been a worry!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neither had I until Maddie arrived here.

      Delete
  5. I've never heard of a fussy goat either! Glad things are looking up, she does look lovely! Funny she chose banana skin of all things! X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She didn't eat the apple though, nor the Rosemary cuttings that they are supposed to love.

      Delete
  6. Aww she is lovely and very funny how fussy she is. I'd love goats. We had one once but he got run over :( he wouldn't stay in his field and kept escaping. I love how she went on a lead. So cute

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She did pull a bit but was obviously used to it. I had a goat as a child who loved ryvita and cigarettes of all things. Not that she got to eat many cigarettes and I have no idea how we found out she liked them.

      Delete
  7. Fussy Fussy Fussy. I think all brindles are fussy. (brindle being used broadly here to refer to all animals with mixed colours and may otherwise be considered calico or tortoishell etc. )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting about the Australian use of the word brindle. I would think of brindle as brown with thin black stripes where as I would call Maddie a Piebald. Tortoiseshell are tabby and ginger (poss with white) cats and they are always females. Not used calico in relation to animal colours.

      Delete
  8. My friends have two that were abandoned and were incredibly fussy on arrival. Four years on they are now tethered most of the time, if not they're in the veggie plot and eating everything.
    Good luck with Maddie.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmm - if she gets in the veg patch I'm looking up got curry recipes!

      Delete
  9. I'm just picturing Maddie doing a clog dance with her dog collar on! What a character!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She certainly is and keeps us on our toes.

      Delete
  10. Oh bless, she is so cute! I love goats, I'd love a rescue goat. And a donkey. But there'd be no room for my husband...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL. Reasons for divorce .... I wanted another donkey and we didn't have space for her and husband. Excellent!

      Delete
  11. Naughty Maddie for being so fussy! I do suspect though that one day you'll be standing by your washing line wondering where your best item of clothing has disappeared to...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Lucas says - Maddie looks awesome and I'm glad she's eating a bit better - I like biscuits too. Ash is definitely not a fussy eater - he eats ANYTHING!!!! #animaltales

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh bless you for taking her in and working so hard to see what she likes. Maybe she'll become less fussy as time goes on. My dog won't eat outside of the house so when we are out and offer him a snack he turns his nose up at it. Meanwhile my other dog will gladly eat half a pie on the floor by the shops.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Saari is like that and harry is fast learning that anything *might* be edible thanks to her!

      Delete
  14. Man alive, I thought Stella was fussy for a Labrador! Poor Maddie, she's a proper little character isn't she? :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fussy and Labrador are not two words that should ever be seen in the same sentence. Tell Stella she is letting the breed down ;)

      Delete
  15. Sounds like she's on the way to eating more...she's just testing you. I think her having a friend to conspire with might help too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure a friend will help ... so long as she likes said friend. She can be a bit feisty!

      Delete
  16. Arrr this did make me smile, what a fussy goat. Or maybe she would prefer to be called a selective goat! She looks lovely x #animaltales

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmmmm, selective and fussy. We now don't like biscuits crumbled in our food but will eat them whole. A teaspoon of sugar is good though but molasses must be like poison in her mind .... if you could have seen her face when I offered her that!

      Delete
  17. We usually have cats and dogs at home and when they start being fussy its means they are sick and we would start to panic.

    Glad that you found something that works and she sounds special! #pocolo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With the amount of running round she does I am fairly sure she isn't ill ... and when you do offer her something she likes (for that day at least) she wolfs it down!!

      Delete
  18. Our cat has just started being quite fussy about her food! I've never heard of a goat being like that though. This is such a lovely story. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Luckily our cats are not fussy ... although actually having typed that I do have to get their biscuits from a different shop to all my other shopping as they only like those. The ones from my normal shop contain too many green ones.

      Delete
  19. Aww, nice that you gave her a loving home. Never heard of a fussy goat before! Why not let her loose in the veg patch or polytunnel - be she'd find something yummy there! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neither had I until Maddie arrived, Mandy. As for you suggestion - Pah ... I don't think so thank you very much, my vegetable patch is sacred ground! That said the piglets got in there once. They chewed a few lettuces in the polytunnel and then obviously got a whiff of strawberries and that was where I found them ... with little red mouths just like they had put lipstick on! It took us a while to return them to their field, much to the amusement of the gite guests we had in at the time.

      Delete
    2. Must have been funny, although a tad annoying! I remember my ducks getting at my strawberries one year - these were ones growing outside the fenced in veg patch. They managed to get under the bird netting, and scoffed the lot, green ones included! They nearly got turned into coq au vin! I have looked at some of these links, and also the French ones, which I enjoyed. When I have some mini beast photos later on, I'll join in with your theme. :-)

      Delete

I love receiving comments and I do read every one but if you are simply here to spam me with a link, guess what ... I won't publish it.