bales? Josh, our constant researcher, decided on Ketchum feeders and ordered two. Our first round bales were “served” in the center of the barnyard between the buck and doe pens. The Ketchums worked great.

As soon as spring arrived, weight restrictions were lifted on our road, and the gravel truck could transit our long uphill driveway, we began construction of a buck and a doe platform for the feeders to sit on.

Here’s another progression in our hay story. Elliot began storing his round bales at another site, the once famous potato farm, Katahdin View Farm, in Lee, Maine. It only adds a couple of miles to our short drive to pick up two round bales at a time on the old Ford. The view, as suggested by the farm name, never gets old. Elliot and his pups have coffee at 2 o’clock nearly every after- noon with the current owner, so we can just shoot a quick text and pop on over around 2 when we need hay.

Remember the goal of reducing workload and human muscle-

mass? With a few refinements of gates and fence lines, we can now back the Ford right up to the does’ platform where we roll the round bales off and push it into place. Amelia and Josh are much better at the pushing and pulling but Amelia and I can do it if need be. The buck pen side is a little trickier to get to so we back in as close as we can, roll it off the truck to the ground, then roll it 10 feet then tip it onto the platform. This side has less inhabitants so the rounds last a lot longer, so it’s OK that there is more manual labor involved. Also, the investment in a little-bit bigger tractor this winter is sure to help minimize the human involvement as it gets put into service moving the round bales.

The conversion to round hay bales has cut down on the amount of labor.

A bigger herd means more hay. Less humans means refining the process from field to consumption to make it more manageable for both the Banks Family Hay Farm and Marble Creek Acres.

(Josh and Kathy Crise, and their grown children, Amelia and Kevin, operate Marble Creek Acres in Lee, Maine. For interest in a fu- ture year’s Kiko waitlist, questions, or if you have topics you might like to read about in a future Goat Rancher, we can be reached at 207-619- 3758, email or

What happens to your goats when you’re disabled? By Steve Hart

you may ask a spouse, neighbor or friend to take care of your animals.

Who will take care of your goats when

you can’t? You often take for granted that you can take care of your animals daily. When you have to be gone for a short period of time,

What about when you have no prior no- tice, such as a heart attack or stroke? Who is going to take care of them and how do they know what to feed and take care of your ani- mals? Your spouse may be focused on taking

care of you rather than your goats. What about longer-term problems such as sudden death, an accident that results in disability? Also, divorce can cause problems with taking care of animals, especially if a protective order is put in place. And another consequence of divorce is ownership of ani- mals and barn and facilities that are used to take care of them as well as access to prop- erty and animals.

In some cases friends or neighbors can take care of your goats for a short period of time. It would greatly help them if they had a list of all the tasks that need to be done. A long-term situation may require a dedicated relative or friend or you may need to exit the goat business, especially if you have a dis- ability or uncertain future.

If the goat business must be dissolved, an exit plan will help to make sure your valu- able genetics go to those who can utilize them, more value can be captured from your animals and guide those that are terminating the business.

For short-term disability, you need to identify two potential people that could take care of your goats. You shouldn’t rely on your spouse as they may be tied up with car- ing for you and not have the time or emo- tional energy to keep things going.

20 Goat Rancher | April 2021

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