Angora goats produce thick, warm mohair as their profession. When it is washed and sorted it is as soft and sweet-smelling as can be. On an outdoor goat, though, it gets dirty, stiff, and smells pretty much like a farm animal.
I’ve been a bit worried about my goats as we approach their first winter. We’ve gone below freezing several nights but I find that they choose to spend the night lounging up on their wooden spools instead of cuddling together in their nice dry shelter. Often when I go out to feed them in the morning, Ely is eagerly waiting with his back in curly whorls of icy frost. I have tried a few things to get them comfortable sleeping in their shed. I moved their food into a trough in the shed, I added straw, and earlier we’d enclosed the front with a tarp to keep the wind and wetness out. Still, I find this frosted hair in the morning. One especially wet and windy day they actually did huddle up in their shed, but the next two mornings there they were again, freezing in the yard.
The baby chicks, too, are resisting sleeping in the coop at night with the older chickens. They haven’t cracked the code of the poultry pecking order yet, and they don’t seem to feel they have the right to hop up onto the roost with the big girls and keep warm. Instead, they huddle into a close, feathery pile on top of a straw bale.
I can only hope that these animals are not too stupid to keep warm when the real snow begins to fly. The mother in me wants to force them to protect themselves, but I am trying to learn to let go and trust that it will all work out.