Introducing goats to Aanandaa
With the forest at Aanandaa now into its third year, many of the trees were over 30 feet high, and the bougainvillea green fence was now resembling the great wall of China! It was taking too much labour and effort to keep wild bushes in check, and the bougainvillea trimmed. We decided it was time to introduce Goats into the eco system.
Incidentally, Bunga (our village) is a Gujjar village, and many families earn their livelihood by keeping livestock. Keeping goats for meat is very common, and large herds of goats are often encountered while driving up to Aanandaa. Rescuing two kids from the slaughterhouse was the best way to get goats on to the farm.
Believe it or not, we bought them for the price of mutton! Rs 350/- per kg. Hira and Moti were about 10kg each, and tiny babies when we got them. It was heart wrenching to separate them from their mother, and their 'baa-ing' cries sounded just like maa maa to me. But I was reassured that they would probably get the best life a goat could expect in the forest at Aanandaa. If we had not separated them from their mother, they would have anyways found themselves as dead meat the next day.
After a few attempts to escape from the farm, Hira and Moti finally found themselves at home wandering around the farm and eating whatever they please. Their favourites are mulberry leaves, rosebushes and bougainvillea. Having each other for company helps them feel at home. And after a few moments of looking at them as food, the dogs finally accepted them as fellow co habitants of Aanandaa. We don't feed the goats. They feed themselves by grazing around the farm. In turn they give us manure, as their droppings contribute to soil nourishment and we also collect them from their pen and make proper manure out of it.
Here are some photos of the goats as the walk around Aanandaa all day.