Hungry Goats

The goats stopped eating their hay. If you recall, they didn’t like the coarse first cutting hay that I had, and so I bought four bales of second cutting. They liked the first few flakes, but then they turned up their noses at it. The hay looked okay, it was green and leafy, but when I shook it, dark dust flew. Mold? If so, it didn’t smell bad yet. However, Pip and Caper, the goat gourmands, pulled the hay out of the rack and piled the rejections on the floor. Look at the deep bedding. Expensive deep bedding.

Also notice Pip’s dirty nose. He was so hungry that he dug under the fallen leaves in the meadow and snuffled in the dirt to find edibles. Also notice the round torsos. They were in no danger of starvation. (Caper disputes that, but don’t believe him.)

Still, it’s important for goats to have full bellies at night. Their four-stomach digestive process produces heat, and so it’s important for them to eat a lot before bedtime in order to stay warm through the night. (Jealous? I am.)

So, despite my busy, pre-surgery schedule, this morning I drove 25 miles to a feed store in New Hampshire that had second cutting hay. I got five bales. I moved the old bales into the HenCam coop. Candy likes the old hay for eating and for snuggling in, so she’ll get it throughout the winter. The one open bale (which I think is the only one that the goats should have had objections to) I put along the fence in the HenCam pen.

That made the hens, and Candy, very happy.

Meanwhile, Steve mucked out the goats’ stall. I put a new flake in the rack.

And the goats ate.

And ate. Pip ate so much that even though there was hay dangling from his mouth, he couldn’t chew anymore.

But he wasn’t too full to have the last laugh.


  1. Candy’s picture could be your next postcard ! Adorable.

  2. Beautiful pictures and entertaining narrative, as always, Terry! I wanted to send fond wishes for a successful surgery on Friday. I know you have to be excited and apprehensive all at once. But your many fans are right behind you, cheering you on – and soon you’ll be able to hear us! It’s been bitter cold here in Savannah – Several nights in the 20s is almost unheard of for us. The first night, my four free-range hens were happily buttoned up on the high roost in their very tight coop, as they do every single night like clockwork. But then at dusk the next evening, we found our elderly girl back on the roost, the two Americaunas roosting in a tree, and our Buff Orpington nowhere to be found. I was so worried about them being outside in that bitter cold! The next morning, the tree roosters seemed OK, but no buff. But then she appeared this evening at dusk, on the roost earlier than usual. She seems fine, but I have to wonder what that was all about. My theory is that they tend to do something “different” when something happens (hawk sighting, etc.) or they are stressed (unusual weather?) Do you find that to be true with your girls? PS – Allow yourself to be taken care of for a change and TRY to stay out of that barn while you’re recovering! And I do have a movie suggestion – A wonderful film that not many people saw: “Everything is Illuminated.”
    All the best, Amy

    • Predators can certainly cause chickens to hide. What might have happened is that night comes quickly this time of year, and if the hens were hiding or a tad far from home, they might not have made it back in time to roost. You might want to keep them close to home for a day or two so they don’t get into any bad habits of tree roosting.

  3. Terry – praying all is well on Friday.

    I always understood you shouldn’t give hay to hens? Because of the mould spores?

  4. Terry – praying all is well on Friday.

    I always understood you shouldn’t give hay to hens? Because of the mould spores? And also because if they eat it, it can cause crop impaction as the blades of grass are too long …

    Would be happy to be persuaded otherwise.

    • You’re right that hay can cause trouble – eat too much and their crops become impacted. But, my hens get plenty of other food and grit, so they don’t overdo it. What you don’t want is to have indoor hens eating and keeping busy with moldy hay! I wouldn’t worry about mold in outside hay. They can avoid it if they want to.

  5. Amy I doubt the weather had anything to do with it. I would definately lean towards some type of predator that scattered the flock. My guess would be a playfull dog if they are all safe and sound. A “natural” ground predator usually is successful in taking a slow and basically earth bound chicken. I also wouldn’t suspect a air borne predator if two were found in a tree, the coop would offer more protection for the airborne predators and chickens are smart enough to realize this. At least mine are, they see a hawk and it’s like there is a huge vaccuum hose attached to their pop door, they can’t get in fast enough.

  6. All the best tomorrow. And I think Amy has it right. Accept a little pampering. People like to help out on these occasions.

  7. I love these pictures! They just look like a bunch of happy (and well-fed) animals!

    I hope surgery went well today, and wish you the very quickest of recoveries. Get plenty of rest. As for movies… I’m a sucker for “Sense and Sensibilities.”