Saturday, October 29, 2011

Goats Like Squash, Too!

Yes, our obsession with growing winter squash seems to have rubbed off on our animals.  I make part of the food the dogs eat: a big 'boil-up' of rice, ground pork or beef, oil, garlic and a vegetable.  They've had winter squash in the mixture with no objections.  The house cat has had a little spoonful of the same mixture with similar results (Blondie has been known to carefully eat around every single pea).  Chickens go absolutely nuts for the seeds of any winter squash and will peck at the flesh.  So why not goats?

 We had some of the bigger Hubbard squash damaged on a very cold night earlier in the week.  They were outside, under tarps but still developed some water-soaked spots on the skin - totally edible but not so pretty.  So, Farmer Man decided to roll a big thirty pounder into the goat pen; if nothing else they might play with it a bit.  We have, through the summer, offered the goats some summer squash and once they got the hang of it, they liked it.  Goats only have teeth on the bottom of their mouth, the top is a plate all about grinding leaves and twigs.  It seemed difficult for the goats to take a bite of a zucchini unless we broke it apart for some rough edges.  The large Hubbard proved an instant attraction; fortunately it had gotten dinged getting in place and one, Goldie of course, started to nibble.  Her interest led to the full attention of the other two goatlings and soon they were all gnawing heartily!  They love the skin, chomped through the meat and nibbled delicately at the seeds!  The nice thing is it amused them the whole afternoon, and saved us from the increasingly fruitless search for leafy twigs.  Having a stash of squash will be good for everyone this winter!

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