November 18, 2019

Freeze-Dried Leaves for Goats

Last post ("Change of Seasons"), I showed you about our fall color and early glimpse of winter. Here's what a sudden drop in temperature into the low 20s does to the leaves still on the trees.

Pecan leaves from the half-dozen or so pecan trees in the barnyard. 

It shocks the trees into dropping them in a crunchy green blanket covering both barn roofs and barnyard.

Ellie and River

The're crunchy because they've been freeze-dried by the sudden cold. The goats really like them.

Miracle

Daisy

Miracle, Nova, and River (on the stump)

This doesn't happen every year, but when it does I collect as many bagfuls as I can. I store the bags in the hayloft and add the leaves to their hay from time to time.


Goats love variety and these make nice treats during winter when everything is bare. The ones in the barnyard are pecan leaves, but they also like oak, sweet gum, and poplar. Maple leaves aren't as popular.

River

The pecans are usually our last trees to lose their leaves. Looks like that's happening more quickly this year!

20 comments:

Retired Knitter said...

In my 'next life' I am going to own goats! I love those creatures.

Leigh said...

RT, me too! They make me so happy!

Goatldi said...

Me three! My goats and their Pyrenees have raised my spirits more than once in 34 years!

This happened to my Mulberry tree last week. Temp drop though not as dramatic as yours light breeze and tada instant goat snacks. Mulberry is a huge favorite for goats and I was blessed with one existing tree on my property.

Ellie is such a lovely doe!

J.L. Murphey said...

So do you dry them off to store them or what? I was thinking of long term storage for the winter availability, but it reads like an instant use thing. Not complaining mind you any post from you is useful.

Sam I Am...... said...

I've never seen that happen before. Very fortunate for you and the goats as you save money on feed this winter or treats. I don't imagine the dry 'fall' ones are as appetizing as the freeze dried green ones. Those goats are so cute!

Leigh said...

Goatldi, I'm so glad to know that about mulberry. I have two very young trees planted. Not enough for much in the way of leaves yet, but now I can count on both fruit and leaves for feed!

Jo, I forgot to mention that! I store them in the hayloft. I skipped to "nice treats during winter." I usually toss some in with their hay for variety. I'm going to add that right now.

Sam, it doesn't happen often. I think the goats always prefer green, plus I figure they probably contain more nutrients as well.

Debbie - MountainMama said...

Oh how funny!! I wouldn't even think of freeze dried leaves as a snack, that's smart that you bag them up for 'treats'!!

Ed said...

Who doesn't like a treat in the winter? I know I do!

wyomingheart said...

Your goats are so cute! How did you get the leaves off the roof? Do you leave the bag open when you put them in the hay loft? Sorry,...full of questions. The mini donkeys next door love our magnolia leaves that fall in the pasture. They will eat them over corn fodder! They are pretty good carrot beggars, too! This is my favorite time of year, and I love these days approaching thanksgiving, even if the weather is sharp! Great post today, Leigh! Thank you!

Unknown said...

The flavor must be more concentrated. I'm sure they appreciate the difference. Phil

Leigh said...

Debbie, I would never have thought of it either, except that nature provided them! I'm always on the lookout for things I can forage for the goats. :)

Ed, me too! It's funny, but in winter the goats are less choosy. In summer they won't touch magnolia leaves but in winter they fight over them. Variety makes everybody happy.

Wyomingheart, I use the ladder and a leaf rake. I suppose I could get up there and sweep them off, but I've not tried that yet. Sometimes I just dump the leaves on top of our loose hay, These I have in open feed bags for the time being. I try to keep as much variety for them as possible.

Great story about the donkeys!

Phil, I hadn't thought of that but I'm sure you're right!

J.L. Murphey said...

Ah! I was wondering. I do something similar with my bunnies. I spread them out on nets hung from the ceiling in the workshop for when greens aren't available during winter. Of course bunnies eat a lot less than goats, but as you say, it's a nice change from their diet. Have you tried growing fodder in winter for your goats. I would think alfafa and orchard grass fodder from seed would be easy to come by. I sprouted alfafa seed for my lactating mothers.

Leigh said...

Jo, I've looked into growing fodder and foddering systems but have never tried it. I know some people do. I do sprout grain for my goats though. With the weather cooler again I'll have to get back to that. In summer they sour and get moldy too fast. But the goats love them.

Kelly said...

How funny that there are some varieties they don't like! You'd think they taste fairly similar. I guess not!

Leigh said...

Kelly, for critters with a reputation for "eating anything" they are extremely picky about everything!

Nancy @ Little Homestead In Boise said...

Great idea!!!

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Huh! I had no idea! What a great use of available resources!

Leigh said...

Nancy, thanks!

TB, always on the lookout for available resources. :)

Henny Penny said...

I am so glad you posted this about the leaves. Oh, I love goats too. Anyhow, My two goats are obsessed with leaves and are determined to eat every one that touches the ground. Both goats are fat as little pigs, but they continue to eat every leaf. I've been so afraid the leaves would hurt them; make them sick. So I can stop worrying. Thank you. You have great ideas.

Leigh said...

Henny, leaves are very nutritious for goats! You must have mighty tasty leaves. :)