Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Legit Goat Feeder for a Legit Farmer

I do not come from a farming family.  Not. Even. Close. 
Everything I've managed to learn about the animals who now populate our backyard and how to care for them has come from books.  Sure, as we acquire our animals, we are slowly gaining some contacts in the farming community, but it's a community that we're still working ourselves into.  And, like most htings, it's a process.

We are now proud members of our local farm co-op, and to say that I feel out of place there is quite an understatement.  I walk in, make my way to the front counter, where a group of male farmers are congregated, deep in a cow-related discussion.  They pause their conversation, all eyes trained on me, to allow me to have the worker's attention long enough to order my "laying pellets." 
"Oh, no!" I think.  "Am I supposed to call it laying ration?"    There I am, in my tall boots and boho sweater, and I feel like they're all looking at me like "is she for real?"  Maybe I should wear my overalls next time. 
Now, I'm probably just being self-conscious, but I do often feel less than "legit" as a farmer.  The fact is, though, no matter how we come by our knowledge, no matter how new to this we are, no matter what I call the feed we give our chickens, we ARE farmers.  I mean, we've got animals outside, after all.

Still, I really like to feel legit.  And the new-to-us goat feeders really seem to add to our legitimacy as a farm!  Check them out!  They're huge.  They're rusty and well-used.  They get the job done in a practical way, as all good farm equipment should. 

Goats are pretty picky about their hay and feed.  They do not want to eat it off the ground (which is weird, considering how they graze the grassy ground all day).  Nevertheless, we put their hay in feeders.  Goats are pretty messy eaters, though, so there'd always be a lot of waste as hay fell to the ground around our old feeders.  Not anymore!  These new feeders (on loan from my father-in-law who isn't currently "running any cows" --I'm pretty sure that's accurate farm speak, right there -- be impressed!) catch the hay that would otherwise fall to the ground in the trough below, minimizing waste. 

In case you're not well-versed in deciphering the stares of small ruminants, allow me to translate these looks:
"What's she doing now?"
"Oh, the crazy lady's just climbed the fence to take our picture again.  No big deal."

And this look is, "Are you just gonna stand there with that camera all day, or are you gonna scratch me behind the ears already!"

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