Spring Grass Enticing Goats

Spring is arriving here in the Ozarks. The result is spring grass enticing goats away from their hay trough and hay.

I will admit the new grass is juicy (for grass) and lush, much tastier (to them) than hay. Those creatures who eat grass are glad to see it. I don’t eat grass and I’m glad to see it.

spring grass enticing goats to race across the pastures
Often time out with my goats is relaxing. They scatter around grazing. I find a good place to sit. Not now. Now my Nubians make sure I get lots of walking in trying to keep up with the herd.

The goats and I have been at odds over their hay all winter. For many years I bought nice alfalfa/grass mix hay and the goats loved it.

My hay supplier retired. I now feed grass hay. Not just any grass hay. This is hay baled from the fields the goats graze all spring, summer and fall.

Still, it is just grass hay with a liberal mix of various other plants commonly referred to as weeds. Goats prefer these so-called weeds to grass.

That is the problem.

grass getting goat kid tall
Many kinds of pasture grasses bloom and seed in the spring. With abundant rain, my pastures are lush with grass growing tall. The goat kids will soon have grass seed stalks towering over them. Hopefully there is warm dry weather then to put up a spring cutting of hay.

The goats busily nose through the hay in their feeder picking out the weeds and rejecting the grass. I look out to see their feeder appears full of hay.

No goat is eating it. They are standing there waiting.

I bring in the tractor to haul out the bedding. I toss the hay from the feeder onto the floor as the new bedding. I refill the hay trough. The goats begin nosing through it.

With spring grass enticing goats out into the pastures they are even more picky. The hay sits there waiting. A few mouthfuls disappear.

spring grass enticing goats
I walked out to take pictures of my Nubian goats to update the My Goats gallery. The whole herd was busy snatching grass as they walked along trying to sample grass from the entire pasture. Most of the pictures are of goats with their heads down in the grass.

Rainy days make the hay disappear. Half of it does end up as bedding as goats are notoriously sloppy eaters.

There won’t be enough rainy days to make all of the hay left in the barn disappear. However, with spring grass enticing goats and other livestock and wild creatures, those bales are left sitting there. They will not be more palatable next fall than they were last fall.

Maybe I will put up a sign at the feed store and find out if anyone else wants this left over hay. Then the goats can complain about the new hay in the fall.

Read more about goats in the novel “Dora’s Story”, a biography of a goat and her owners.