Wild Goats


We have a fair number of goats living on our farm. It’s hard to know precisely how many, as they typically live in the more inaccessible country, but once a year, the nannies go off by themselves to have babies and the the billies all get together in bachelor groups, or “rucks”. Just like groups of human males, these groups of boys are more adventurous and less clever than the usual family groups, so it’s a convenient time to go out with the sheep dogs and bring them home. And this year in particular we wanted to remove some grazing pressure off paddocks that haven’t had an ideal spring. They are much harder work than sheep to move, but we usually manage to get a bunch in; this time around we had 70 once we’d cut out a small handful of stray nannies and their kids.


There’s currently a good market for what are known as rangeland goats. These are an amazingly hardy breed of goats that developed from all the different types of domestic goats which have escaped over the last 200 odd years. We killed a couple for ourselves and they were in amazing condition, despite the poor season we’ve been having; (even the kangaroos are doing it tough this year.)

They are considered a feral pest and we are supposed to be controlling their numbers. The Local Land Services used to shoot them form helicopters, but after “extensive negotiations”, we convinced them not to shoot in our area any more. We like to view them more as a resource than a pest, we can harvest a number of them each year and they require much less work than domestic animals do.

We kept them for a week in a small paddock around the cattle yards and sold them to a few different people each wanting different sizes. As we were bringing them into the yards for sorting every couple of days we got to know one in particular, who we named Elvis, because of his crazy haircut. We decided to keep him, in the hope that next year, we’ll have a whole lot of young Elvii out in the paddock.




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