For months the goats were out gorging on grass and browse. Winter pasture has little to offer.
Last year’s wind storm blew down big trees. The goats sampled the leaves. There were too many leaves for the goats to eat all of them. Those remaining are now brown and dry.
Normally the grass is deep in the fall from late rains. The rains did not come. The grass is skimpy.
Goats used to walking miles every day don’t like being cooped up. They soon pick on each other. Since several are heavy with kids, this is not good.
Winter pasture helps. There may not be much to eat. The goats must go distances to scrounge what there is.
Don’t think the goats wear themselves out. Goats don’t walk as though on a treadmill. They wander to one area, nibble, lie down and relax. Then they get up and repeat the routine in another place.
Over the warm months the goats eat breakfast then line up at the pasture gate. Now the herd lines up in the barn waiting for hay. Only after the hay is eaten, trampled and otherwise disposed of, do the goats entertain the notion of going out to winter pasture.
My routine changes accordingly. I milk, put out hay and go to the house. A couple of hours later I go back to the barn. If the weather is good, I let the goats out. If the weather is bad, more hay goes into the troughs.
The bucks root for good weather. The does and bucks share the barn lot. When the does are in, the bucks are in their pens. When the does go out, the bucks get out into the lot.
The rains seem to be returning. At least, several storms have dropped an inch of water each lately. The temperatures are warm for February. The grass has noticed and is putting up a few pioneer blades.
Perhaps winter pasture will give way to spring pasture in a couple of weeks. The goats would be delighted.