Lotus & Minnie: Berry Spoiled Goats!

Posted by on Sep 14, 2012 in Farm Blog, Goats | 32 comments

This, believe it or not, is our 300th blog post, so we thought we’d celebrate with Lotus and Minnie, and their favorite treat.

We have a few different varieties of berries that grow wild on the property, much to the delight of the goats. California native woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca), Thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), the Pacific Blackberry (Rubus ursinus), and the invasive Himalayan Blackberry (Rubus discolor).

Blackberries are haute cuisine for the goats (click any image to enlarge)

Before the goats arrived, the Himalayan Blackberries would grow so much in a season they could smother almost anything in their path. Their vines are studded with wickedly large thorns, and often the fruits are devoured by our resident deer long before they’re ripe.

Earlier this spring we’d walk the goats along the edges of the farm road, and they’d happily mow down the soft and tender new growth at the tips of the vines.  As the season progressed, and the goats got bigger, they eventually started to eat the more mature leaves, and now that it’s late summer, the berries too!

Eventually though, Lotus and Minnie were so efficient at controlling the blackberries, that they were running out of the tasty vines to eat.  Until the rains return the vines won’t put on much new growth.

“Wha’?!? We’re running out of BLACKBERRIES!?!”

Fortunately, our very sweet neighbors, who are also overrun with these rampant vines, love the girls, and were eager to free up some of their garden space.  So they offered to bring Lotus and Minnie almost as many blackberries as they could eat.  Needless to say, this made the goats, and our neighbors, BERRY happy!

Fresh from the neighbor’s, blackberry vines, for our berry spoiled goats

Although the girls prefer their berries au naturale, personally I prefer my blackberries in a blackberry and apple crisp, sans leaves of course.

“Yay! Lotus! A pile of fresh blackberries!”


“Ohhh…blackberries…I missed yooooou!”

“Mmm…crunchy…juicy…a little sweet…”

“This one’s mine!” CHOMP!

“Heehee, that one was extra juicy. Do I have berry juice on my nose?”

“Ohhhh…I see a ripe one!”

“I just need to…get…around…some of these…OUCH…thorns”

“There’s no use hiding…I will FIND you…and I will EAT you!”

“Oh, that’s helpful…a little lower please”

“That’s much better…mmm…nom!”

“These leaves are tasty too…”

“…but the berries are the bestest, and the green ones are kinda crunchy!”

“Waif…Lotuf…fave me fome berriefs!”

“Minnie, did you say something? I can’t hear you with your mouth full…heehee”

“Lotus, did you eat them all? We’re not going to run out again, are we?”

“You wouldn’t really let us run out of berries, would you?!”

Uh oh, sorry girls, but berry season is almost over!  Maybe this fall we’ll have to plant some native Salmon Berries (Rubus spectabilis) so you have even more berries to look forward to next year.

In the meantime, as some of you have recently pointed out that we haven’t posted a goatie video in a while…here’s a clip of Lotus and Minnie enjoying their blackberry buffet.

I think Lotus looks rather pleased with herself at the end of this video, don’t you?


  1. They’re getting so big! Still adorable though.
    Alison´s last post…A Visit to the Ed Hume Display Garden

    • I know! There’s no question, they’re definitely not babies any more!

  2. 300? Well done. I don’t think I’d have enough to say for 300.
    Turling´s last post…Always Know Your In Hole from your Out Hole

    • I didn’t think I had enough to say for 3! 😛

  3. I’ve been hoping for a goat update, and here it is! Happy 300th!
    Alan @ it’s not work, it’s gardening!´s last post…Cool! Observations

    • I think we were due for a goatie update…of course, if you asked Lotus and Minnie, they would have said all 300 posts should have been about them 😉

  4. Hi Clare,

    Lovely to see an update on the girls! They sure have grown and of course they’re welcome to come eat my brambles any time 🙂
    Liz´s last post…Friday Flowers

    • I half wish I still lived in England sometimes. I knew some really fabulous spots with oodles of wild brambles! We have quite a few here, but deer certainly do their part to stop them from getting too much out of control. I can’t believe I’m actually thinking of planting more, on purpose!

  5. I’m impressed how they can eat them despite all those thorns! Those goats are so cute. And talk about spoiled – I love how in the video one of the goats looks so blissful while getting a back rub!
    Happy 300!
    Indie´s last post…Must…Go…Outside…

    • It is amazing. Every once in a while they seem to notice a thorn, especially if it pokes them in the nose, but their mouths seem almost impervious. I’ve even seen Lotus chewing on a branch after she’s stripped it clean of leaves, and the thorns on the branches are sharp enough they usually pierce through even my toughest garden gloves! 😯

  6. It’s not the berries, it’s the back rub that’s the spoiler. Aaaaaaahhhh.

    You could rent them out for berry abatement.

    • That’s Lotus. She’s super sweet, and has really turned into quite an attention hound. She’ll even forgo alfalfa for a backrub, or a chin scratch, or being brushed. If you ignore her when she comes up to you, she’ll tap you with her front foot for attention until you notice her 😉

  7. They are such cuties!! Always love seeing them and what they are up to! Yum yum berries! What a wonderful treat! Congrats on your 300th post – whew! That is a milestone!

    • I only noticed this would be post 300 a few days ago. I looked at that in WordPress in disbelief…and only 10 of those posts have been goat-related 😛

  8. They’re not spoiled are they?! I can’t believe how fast they are growing up! So adorable!!! If they lived at my house they probably would have found their way into our house by now :O) They really are part of the family!
    Karin/Southern Meadows´s last post…Should it stay or should it go?

    • I swear they were just babies, being bottle fed, a few weeks ago. This year has flown by! These two actually started out in the house, as the barn was so cold when they first arrived. I can’t imagine what they could do the sofa now 😛

  9. Clare, they are such pets! I laughed out loud at the one getting a back rub. I keep trying to convince my dear husband to get a goat, but he said the chickens are probably enough for now. 🙂

    Congratulations on your 300! It is amazing how much there is to write about. Thanks for sharing your adventures.
    Diana´s last post…Eggplant, Solanum melongena and Grilled Eggplant Tomato Stack

    • Maybe I’ll have to post some really REALLY cute photos of the girls, and see if we can sway your husband into getting goats. Honestly, I’d much rather have the goats clear the blackberry vines, than get all scratched up pruning them myself 😉

  10. Clare happy 300th and congrats. I am at half that and know how much work it is…and I am so excited to see Minnie and Lotus so cute and happy to eat those berries….now we can take a great lesson from them about living in the moment and being so happy!!
    [email protected] Eye View´s last post…A Bloom Day Anniversary

    • I practically get mugged as walk through the gate if I’m carrying an armload of vines 😉 Of course, once they start chowing down, they don’t even notice whether I’m standing there or not!

  11. So cute! I think I have some of those invasive blackberries here. Too bad you can’t pack them up for a visit! 😉 They look like they’re eating a blackberry pie instead of just leaves, stems, thorns, and a few blackberries!
    Holleygarden´s last post…It’s All About the Asters for Bloom Day

    • That fifth photo down, with Minnie with her eyes rolled back in her head, you’d think that pie was a la mode too! 😛

  12. You may remember that goats like yours are on the island where we vacation in Maine, and my whole family has befriended them. All my sons and their girlfriends love to walk them. The owners who are both vets got two new girls, a tan one called Maple and a dark brown one with white spots called Clove. Some day I will have a goat of my own.
    Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens´s last post…What’s New at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens

    • Awww, I love the names Maple and Clove. Of course, you can’t have A goat of your own, at a minimum it would have to be two 😉

  13. I enjoyed this post berry much! Your goats are delightfully cute; I loved the video! I am amazed at how efficiently they stripped the plants, despite the thorns. Congratulations on 300 posts! I have been entertained, educated, and amazed as you have given me a peek into life at Curbstone Valley Farm. I look forward to many more posts!
    debsgarden´s last post…Planting a Fern Glade

    • Thanks Deb 🙂 It’s true, if nothing else, goats are very efficient!

  14. They are adorable! It’s good to be a goat on your farm! Why aren’t they bothered by the thorns? Don’t they get poked in the mouth?

    • I think they’re just built a lot tougher than us. Their mouths and tongues really do seem impervious to the thorns. As browsers, it’s really what they’ve evolved eating, brush, twigs, and leaves. I have noticed that when they eat the leaves, which have a few thorns along the stem, that they tend to chew them free from the branches using their molars, but the berries they attack head on, using their incisors. It really is impressive to watch them devour the vines!

  15. Gee, Clare, I wish we were neighbors. I’d be happy to have your girls spend a couple days at my house chomping on rampant blackberry brambles!
    Jean at Jean’s Garden´s last post…A Scarcity of Fall Blooms: GBBD, September 2012

    • With a offer like that, I bet Lotus & Minnie wish we were neighbors too! They’d be thrilled to help 😉

  16. Oh gosh – those are lucky goats! I love goats – and so does my grandbaby – you can see her first meeting with goats (at the SF Zoo petting zoo) – on FB – or maybe you don’t see personal posts being a “business” on FB? Anyway I can mail you. I think you’ll be hiring my grand baby before long as a goat whisperer. Not that you need one!
    Country Mouse´s last post…Riparian Riches – Part the First

    • You’re right, Facebook has made it so that I can’t see personal posts any more, now that we’ve transferred our Facebook page to a business page. I’d love to see the pics though. I bet your grand baby would love our goaties, as they’re nice and small, and probably just about her size! 😉