Goat Feeder Feng Shui

“It’s not over yet.”  The Bearded One is in a wee contest of wills with our three Pygora goats, and he has just reported their continued strike status — boycotting the new feeder he made.  “I’m not pulling it,” he says.  “Damn goats.”  He’s making new feeders to try and stem the huge amount of waste.

We are just sitting down to lunch, chicken soup and chicken sandwiches with fresh broccoli which the garden is still cranking out, our best crop of the year.  I assure the Bearded One that the new feeder is magnificent.  It’s in the corner of the barn, though.  My guess is that the access is too narrow, only 90 degrees versus 180 degrees like the old one which was against a barn fence, and the goats feel vulnerable to each other.  The feng shui (pronounced fung shway) is bad.  The Bearded One snorts and slurps his soup.

Bad Feng Shui

We’ve had goats for nine months now, and we’ve watched them eat.  They are picky and messy and they don’t like change very much.  And this week, the Fall Equinox, the pasture has been seasoned with rain so we’re not just dumping a flake of hay out there on a dead bush anymore.  There’s even more waste when we do that, anyway.  At the feeders goats yank and grab at hay aggressively.  Vast clumps fall away forever into impurity.  Once on the ground it’s bedding.

The Bearded One thinks that the problem with the new feeder in the barn is that the goats won’t pull the hay through the 4″x6″ holes in the wire.  The old one had bigger 6-inch squares.  Its problem was that it was too high up off the ground.  You don’t want the goats to have to reach up and get little hay flecks in their eyes.  They also beat it to heck by climbing up on it with their front hooves.

He describes this to me over lunch, and I try to pay attention, but I’m thinking of making our own environment more wonderful for the long, dark, wet winter.

Our feng shui issue is color.  For the past three years now, as the days start getting shorter than the nights, I’ve been painting the old white walls. Two years ago it was Wheatfield yellow in the kitchen, and Somerville Red in the kitchen nook and stairwell.  Last year I turned the upstairs bathroom into a gorgeous Townsend Harbor Brown cave, and two walls in the living room and two walls in our bedroom got Desert Tan.

Now I’ve seen the color I want to add this year.  I want to taste it it’s so beautiful.  It’s the coral of a Tucson sunset, and I’ve taped the photo that inspired me on one wall in the downstairs bathroom and on one wall in our bedroom.  The paint color I found is Pink Peach.  A little fire to balance all the rain.

Tucson sunset by Dennis Widman

“When they get hungry enough, they’ll eat from it,” the Bearded One says, but he’s grinning.  His tummy is full and he heads back up to the barn to work on yet another feeder design.  We’ll end up with two indoors and one outdoors in the covered breezeway.

Better Feng Shui — bigger holes and lower down

Of the three goats, LaLa is the lesser somehow.  Pearl is the only female, which gives her power, and Sage is the biggest.  Pearl and Sage are also siblings, if that plays into the complex goat social structure.  There’s a lot of pecking order stuff.  LaLa is the last served and the first finished.  He has to be since he is usually not allowed at the hay when the other two are there.  He is butted and slammed and shoved at various points throughout the meal.  Still he retains a good humor evidenced by his prancing and gentle return jabs, but he always ultimately defers.

Lately LaLa has even been letting me pet his whole body.  Pearl and Sage watch as I coo and stroke the soft black mohair, happily massaging LaLa’s bulging sides and hobbit ears.  If this rankles Pearl and Sage, they don’t show it.  It’s a LaLa thing, they seem to be saying.  It’s all he’s got, poor bugger.

Hours later, I go up to fetch the Bearded One for our evening walk.  The Old New Feeder is gone.  The New New Feeder is installed and I get a tour.  Each goat has always had its own dry cob bowl, but now each has its own hay feeder, too.  The corner feeder is still there, but it is lower now and has 6-inch holes.  The old feeder against the interior fence has been replaced and lowered, as has the third feeder in the barn breezeway.

The Bearded One gives them a bit of dry cob in their feeder bowls and then they charge out to Goat Mountain for a goat rodeo.

Incredibly, LaLa climbs to the top and Sage and Pearl let him, unchallenged.  They stand beside LaLa and look at us, clearly pleased with their lot.  We take their picture, a fine portrait that could end up enhancing our den.

I smile and say, “Nothing like a little feng shui with your hay.”


12 responses to “Goat Feeder Feng Shui

  1. Hi Christi,

    What a wonderful post! I’ve been lucky enough to see your Feng Shui first hand as well as Denny’s Tucson sunset. (It really is on fire!) I wrote a poem a few years ago that comes to mind:


    You’ve been shopping.
    “What’s all this for?” he says,
    third trip in from the car.
    “Time to make over
    the bedroom,” you say.

    He deposits pillows, comforter,
    shams, sheets–says, “What’s wrong
    with what we already have?”
    “Nothing,” you say, “just tired
    of the same old thing.”

    You want something hot,
    tape paint swatches
    to the walls–Chinese Red,
    Burnt Sahara, Tuscan Sunset.

    He stops at the mirror–rubs
    fingers across stubble, straightens
    his shoulders, sucks in his gut–
    re-considers that trial membership
    to Golds’ Gym.
    Terri Cohlene

  2. Ah goat politics! Just like children aren’t they? “You love him more than me!” They certainly look ready for a long winter Christi, sturdy, well fed and ready to fend off the cold with their wonderful thick pelts. Very healthy looking and a credit to you and The Bearded One’s efforts. Sometimes the constant care of animals makes me petulant. I sit and tap away here and suddenly something wants some cheese from the windowsill and I have to get up and adapt myself to their rhythms and cycles and then its something meowing or clucking from beneath the deck or some altercation between some of the meandering menagerie outside. We have 2 little wrens that come to the windowsill now. Like La-la, they are subservient to the bright blue boss male and one of them is a lesser male. I wonder what gave him the courage to come up to the window where he sits protectively while his lady friend bashes tiny little cheese cubes into manageable pieces for her tiny beak to handle as we stand doing dishes or preparing meals etc not a foot away from them? Animals are amazingly adaptive arne’t they! Thanks for another wonderful post full of animal logic (they don’t have any!) and concurrence 🙂

  3. It’s amazing to me how animals have personalities, at least the goats and layers. Perhaps the meat birds, too, but I don’t want to get that close to them, you know? I could end up a vegan like you.:) You remind me of Snow White with all her birdie friends in the windowsills. Earl and Bezial surely qualify as Dopey and Sleepy respectively, eh?

  4. Here it’s the middle of the night and the coyotes are yipping at the full moon.
    A sound I love.
    “It’s a LaLa thing”….I can tell this is going to become a new phrase in my vocabulary. lololol
    Your goat mountain photo with LaLa at the summit is picture perfect.
    I shall be intrigued to see if LaLa’s goat status changes as he becomes the fully petted goat.
    Hope I can make a NW trip for Solstice. Want to see your sunset pink walls…and you, the Bearded One, and the Farmlet.

    • Sage let me pet him for as long as I wanted to yesterday, Christine! Pearl still will not do “the LaLa thing,” though. She let the Bearded One touch her nose and beard once. I haven’t gotten close. How wonderful if you come for the Solstice, you who inspired the pink.:) Thanks again to Den for taking and sharing such a glorious photo!

  5. Your goats are lovely! I’ve been a lurker for a while now, but I just had to comment on those fleeces. I assume you don’t shear, since Pearl especially isn’t into being petted? I hope you have somebody whose interested in the shed fleece! It’s too beautiful to waste!

    • Thanks for commenting, Erika. You’re right, we haven’t sheared because they’re so wild, but I did glean lots of shed fleece and gave it to a friend of a friend. I didn’t even know that goats would shed their fleece if it wasn’t sheared. Our goal is to get them used to our touch so we can shear them this year without trauma…but if not, I’ll glean it again. And learn what to do with it!

      • I think it’s best to get them comfortable before shearing, the process is stressful enough when they’re used to being petted! I’m glad someone’s working with what you glean! I think there’s something really special about taking something from rats nest to garment, especially when the supplies come from a friend. 😉

        Best of luck with working on them! And even more for learning how to work with the fleeces!

      • I just learned from a friend who went to an alpaca farm in Eastern Washington that they give their alpacas a bit of anti-anxiety med (Lavender!) to get them a tipsy and cooperative before sheering. Now THAT is a good idea! LaLa and Sage are letting us brush them now. Pearl just watches. Thanks for the good wishes.:)

  6. I don’t (or didn’t) know much about goats and I found this post really interesting. Obviously never a dull moment. I admire your “Bearded One’s” persistence. Must be a lovely man.

  7. Thanks for your comment, Jean. He is a lovely man! And you’re right about goats, too, they make life interesting. I feel very lucky to live life in proximity to all my bearded ones!:)

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