Free Goat Feed

The meadow that I view from my office has gone to weed.

A conservation organization owns it, but no one has been by to caretake all summer. Invasive buckthorn is crowding in along the stonewalls, brambles are growing in what was once a hayfield, and golden rod and Joe Pye weed are taller than me.

Across the street, in my backyard, the goats say that they are hungry. Only boring grass is left in their pasture. All of the good brambly, thorny, leafy things are gone.

So, I cut and gather armloads of weeds and put them in the goats’ manger.

My harvest doesn’t make a dent in the meadow, but the boys are happy,

and that last hay bale in the barn will last a little longer before I have to go to the feed store.


(photos taken with Instagram)


  1. Too bad you can’t bring the boys over to the meadow! Is that a dragonfly on Pip’s nose?

  2. I would get permission from the commission first. I know a farmer who sold his land to a conservation commission and mistakenly cut some of the hay that was on *their* property and they took issue with it. Big issue.

    • You’re right that mowing would be wrong. I’m just taking scissors to it. Also, I do have permission to trim along the stonewalls to keep them clear of invasives.

  3. Happy/content goats! ;-)

    In Forest Park here in St. Louis they use goats to keep the invasive/non-native Japanese honeysuckle at bay in the wooded parts of the park. I believe they are dwarfs as well.

  4. Always so much fun to see what you and goaties (and chickens, and bunny) are up to! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Your two boys are adorable! We have four mature (ok, old :) goats we adopted a few months ago when their owner had to downsize. Having spent all of their eight years in a small area, when we first let them out to pasture they had to be coaxed with corn. Little by little they have ventured further away from their goat house to eat the abundance of poison ivy, multiflora rose and most everything else in between. I’m amazed watching them munch on brush that I can’t even approach without thick gloves and boots on!

    • My goaties are barn sour. They don’t like to go too far from the comfort and safety of the barn – and the corner of the paddock that they can watch me through the kitchen window. But they’ll venture out for food. If I fed them their flake of hay in the morning they’d never leave their stall!

  6. I really enjoy your articles (and pets)! From your experience are there plants that change the goat milk for the good or bad? We have a fenced hayfield and won’t be baling but rather mowing it. Mostly the alfalfa is up and thistles, sow thistles and pigweed (no stinkweed). I thought of getting a calf or lambs but the alfalfa might be dangerous! I go out and cut an armful of alfalfa for our hens everyday and they love it. Getting our hens sure has made a difference in how I look at our land. For example we’ve run out of chickweed and portulaca for chicken treats and I don’t fret about the lettuce bolting, and I don’t leave boxes of zucchini on our neighbors’ doorsteps, ring the doorbell and run anymore ;^

  7. Saw the dragonfly too… what a capture!
    “Manger…” that’s what we need, and a field with some free feed.
    What kind of hay are your goats feeding on?
    I’ve been buying flakes of alfalfa and timothy hay, but I think it’s time to commit to
    an entire bale of something.

    • Alfalfa is too rich for my wethers. They get second cutting grass hay. They turn up their noses at the coarser first cut. And they refuse any hay from one dealer who must store the hay in a musty barn. The hay itself isn’t moldy, but I think it has a faint smell that the boys can’t abide.

  8. Those goat boys sure are spoiled! It amazes me what they will, will not, can and cannot eat! Thanks for the pictures Terry. Just watched a Candy/Polish stand-off, must have been half an hour!

  9. A treat I’m sure those two loved. I saw they had some branches Saturday afternoon too. Just curious, what is on Pip’s nose? Maybe a dragon fly?

  10. Your pictures are an inspiration to my daughter who invested in a pricey camera….and as I told you earlier in the week I have gotten 3 eggs from the one chic but no others are laying, should I be worried that they might be roosters?
    I think I need patience…’s so hard.

  11. I’ve got star,milk & bull thistle like crazy over here. I’d love to borrow those boys! Cute pics Terry! Silly dragonfly :)