With sadness, we bid farewell to our favorite ungulates last week. Pongo and Buddy went back to their home in Fort Valley for the winter.
We look forward to seeing them again in the spring when they will, once again, have the opportunity to eat to their hearts’ content on the plants in the riparian area.
We thank our farm neighbors for their assistance on the two occasions when the goats decided to have a great adventure and explore the neighborhood (outside their fence).
It was interesting seeing what plant species they consumed. They definitely had their preferences. In particular, they enjoyed the wingstem blossoms and the flowers of the wild sunflowers. They ate the lespedeza with relish, fescue (though general goat lore indicates they do not particularly like grass) and, perhaps most importantly, the japanese hops. We were really hoping they would eat the hops as they are one of our two most invasive exotic species in the riparian area. The other super-invasive is the sweet annie. They did not care at all for it but, perhaps in the spring when the greens are more tender and sweet, they will consume more of it. They were fairly ambivalent about the pokeweed, but again, maybe in the spring, they will enjoy it more. Where the boys were in the field, there was only one honey locust but they did nibble on the leaves. This is great as we are trying to control their spread, along with the very invasive stinkweed or ailanthus trees.
We wish the boys well over the winter and look forward to continuing our experiment in the spring with this organic (and really cute!)method of invasive plant control.