Goats vs neighbors
Next to one of our fields in a farmstead. House is owned by a former farm kid.. has no livestock. The barn, old concrete feedlot and machine shed are owned by a neighborhood farmer. He bought it mainly for his machinery storage. Rented some storage in the barn after renters did some work on it to fit some of their machinery in it.
Last week the neighborhood zoo.. moved in 30 goats and 2 llamas. They half way put up some cattle panels. At least one goat is out every day. We call them the neighborhood zoo because they like to go to the "auction" and bring home strange and exotic animals. Horses, donkeys, minature donkeys, goats, pigeons, rabbits, horses, llamas. They want a buffalo. I don't think they have any chickens, ducks or geese because their pack of dogs wouldn't allow that. They do not understand rodent control, weed control or basic safety or animal health regulations. They have several kids, (more than 4). As near as we can tell. No feed other than the grass and weeds that are almost gone. Water has to be brought in. House has well problems and can not afford to sell them water. They say this will be temporary because they are going to build a "goat milking parlor" barn this summer.
Now the zoo family is a wonderful christian family. In fact they go to our church. Therefore, we do know that they have a lot of loose ends. These people know nothing about: nutrition, enviromental, USDA, Il. Dept. of Ag. EPA animal health and of course the rodent and weed control. Just generally a MESS! And I'm willing to bet very low insurance liability.
No one said a word to the people living in the house about these goats coming. Their house is about 50ft. from the feedlot. Now these are not the complaining type. They have a 2000 hd hog confinement within 1/2 mile. Hog manure is injected in every field surrounding their home. They understand that country means livestock. Just not this right next to them.
We have nothing planted in the field next to them yet. It will be soybeans and I'm sure those hungry goats will want to try some when they come up. After about tomorrow there will be NO cover left in the lot.
To top it off we think the owner of the feedlot,barn and machine shed is trying to force the house owner to buy the property. He wants too much. He thinks he should get double what he paid for it for spending maybe $1,000 fixing a couple of problems in the 10 years he has owned it. This is going to involve 4 families and we are one of them. We think the goats are illegal. No way a non resident should be able to put 32 animals in a small concrete lot within 50 ft of a inhabited house. They will not meet EPA regulations by the end of the week once it rains. Their only prayer is that our grass waterway keeps the manure from getting directly to the running water of the creek.
I think ...they think they are going to sell goat milk and goat cheese. NO WAY I"d eat any of it. I'm sure one call to the health dept would end that. This might get messy. In fact we are thinking of trying to buy the buildings .. we can always use machinery storage. But, not at the asking price.
To top it all off. We owned these buildings 10 years ago and sold it. Now realize we shouldn't have. We eyed that feedlot a couple of times when the farrowing was going too good and running out of finishing space. But, we knew that it would be wrong and unneighborly thing to do.
So.. how would you get rid of the goats and llamas next to your friend's house, and next to your bean field?
Re: Goats vs neighbors
You have a couple of options, depending upon your local regulations, then there are potentially some state and federal premises ID issues that could get an inspector onto the property. If you have a zoning ordinance, there may be some restrictions in it for keeping livestock setback from an occupied dwelling. Unfortunately, most rural codes exempt agriculture from zoning in many ways.
The other possible avenue is via animal welfare ordinances. Most places require that " adequate" food and water be provided at least once daily. Clearly, this is not being done, and if I bet money, I would bet money that they couldn't afford feed for a fourth of what they own.
If they start to feel regulatory pressure, that might start to worry them about the chldren being investigated as to their care, too...and there is a downside risk they could get into a custody issue, if deficiences exist.
Health department calls over the concern of proximity to anyone else may or may not materialze a response. Now, if they have manure being dropped all around a drinking water well, especially one off their own property, that might be a key element of concern. We have 200- foot setbacks for land application from a well ( any well, even ours, because of potential influx to groundwater) or occupied dwelling, other than our own.
Manure management regs can usually apply to " operations" over a certain number of animal units, or wherever a concern of degradation of environmental quality exists, regardless of size. If you have an inspector and are on good terms, a call and a question might trigger an inspection visit...just make sure you are ready for one on the same day. Hnestly, if I were in your shoes, I would be concerned that their runoff might be blamed on your hogs.
Our inspector called me once, about a problem property in a county elsewhere in the state. Basically the same problem of a goat menagerie, but with a nasty old guy hoarding animals. No one could find an overt cause or probable cause to get onto his place, because it was not readily visible from the road.
I clued him in to the premises ID required, in our case, both state and federal. It comes under the NAIS in USDA-speak. You should have been required to obtain a premises ID for the pig farm. I explained that if thy couldn't find premises ID for livestock at that address, there ought to be cause for a regulatory visit, at last by NCDA, and then what they observed might get them in the door on welfare or environmental agency jurisdictions.
Sraightest line is to call animal control, and express concerns for the one that is slways out and your pending crops, given that the grazing is playing out. You can ask to be kept anonymous as the complainant...at least people can here.
Going straight to them personally Is an option, but this type tends to be transient, and although seemngly nice, can be a tad or more unstable. Good luck.
Now you know why I buy little scraps of land near us, and help occupants, if any, move along. People are problems....
Re: Goats vs neighbors
Premise ID is still voluntary in this state. However, I think to show 4-H animals they have to have one.
No rural zoning to speak of. In fact the county is very Agriculture friendly. Overall, there is hardly a wimper whenever anyone wants to build hog buildings anymore. Deep pits pretty much took away their #1 complaint. Actually, bigger and legit complaint is building on roads that can not handle the truck traffic. The good of hiding them on the back roads is the not good.
Water well is probably 50ft.
The goat family is a good family. But, I think they are absolutely clueless to how to properly take care of livestock. The father is a union constuction laborer, has some rental properites he takes care of. But, he has a "big Kid" mentality. Just jump into it and not realize the problems. They probably have 15 acres where they live. A big part of it is woods. They have ancient farm equipment. The square baler is a nightmare. They have been seen mowing and baling roadbanks... Which is illegal. They'll try to get you to give them any little patch of grass/weeds you might have. Then send 2 teenagers over to try and bale it. Would any of you EVER consider sending out a 15 and 13 year old to run a problematic square baler. while dad was at work?
The goats showed up about 6 weeks ago. They are basically contrators for some guy who sent them 30 bred does to kid and then milk for him. I would think he/owner should be providing either feed or $$ for feed. yes, it will keep all those kids busy. But, every neighbor is going to get tired of their goats being out... Dead goats, then of course then wer're going to hear about all that milk and cheese.
I'm trying to think of how to have a diplomatic conversation with the wife as too: liability, feed, manure, fresh water and health dept concerns if they thing they are going to sell anything. Both parents come from LARGE families and their own large family could go through a lot of food. But, then again.. maybe there is a reason several members of the family have digestive issues.
Re: Goats vs neighbors
This one is sensitive. Since you are a confined feeding farm, I would be careful how I handled this. Or maybe the laws there are different from other states? 32 milking goats on a good quality pasture with a milking parlor and good fence should not be a problem.
But having said that, goats that can get over or through a fence will especially if they have nothing to eat. A herd of goats will take care of the soybean field.
I would first talk to the owner of the property and the owner of the goats and talk about liability issues. Goats that are not contained can be very destructive.
(We got out of the 4-H and goat milking after our goats got through a fence and chewed the wiring off a tractor, as far as they could reach, that DH thought was protected by a fence.)
There must be some type of animal control in your county. I would remind these two owners that the public can become outraged over the lack of welfare of any animals once they are reported.
Re: Goats vs neighbors
Anyone who would allow this baling crew on their property is NUTS!!! Underage and injured on your property? Heaven had better help them....
Having a talk with them about liability is most probably a waste of time...if they have any insurance, it would shock me. Talking with them about animals loose and being poisoned by chemicals, hit by cars, etc., may sink in, if thy have to pay their owner for death losses. Make sure they understand they are liable for crop losses, how many $$ that could cost. They may not be too worried about that, because you cannot recover what thy don't have.
The manure near the well is the biggest potential health risk to everyone. Health department can answer that question.
People like this worry me, but they seem to get through life mostly unscathed by what worries us.
Re: Goats vs neighbors
Actually, the father is a VERY hard and dedicated worker. Needs to be for the health insurance that is provided for his little herd. He works hard on the rental properties, volunteers his skills at the church, even picks up part time work helping people with dry wall during remodeling. Quite often he'll have a couple of his kids with him learning and working. Kids are NOT in trouble. A couple are not the best students. But, a couple of the girls could be #1 in the class and good athetes. They cut wood to heat the old farm house. At one time they homeschooled and then found out our rural school district is highly rated and not the gang problem they had dealt with. Plus, it was free. Mom works part time as a pharmacy tech. Although I have no idea how. The laundry, dr. visits, school activities, cooking, cleaning and farm animals are probably more than 50 hours per week. They have lived in this house for about 10 years now. I think several of the older kids would be good to help in the hog house if we still had sows. The kids have been hiring out for yard work, farm work, and house work since they were 13 or 14. The older one I understand does a pretty good job of powerwashing some hog buildings.
Have contacted our personal Livestock Manure Management specialist. Was informed that a goat is only 1/2 an animal unit so they could fly under the radar for quite awhile. I think the major area to work on is the liablity of these goats getting out. Don't make much of a problem because even though we only have confinement hogs with deep pits any EPA worth their salary could find something to be picky about. Something that was legal 10 years ago???? If they sell the goat cheese as "pet food", they can get around state health rules for farmer's markets according to my Dairy and Farm Bureau policy expert.
As near as I know they are no burden to society, school district, church, or community. I don't think they even get reduced school lunches.
Re: Goats vs neighbors
Have you seen the goats on the road? If they are, then they are a public traffic hazard, just like deer have been. People have been killed when they have hit livestock in the dark. What would this couple think if one of their kids was killed when a horse was on the road in front of their car?
Re: Goats vs neighbors
Your guy is LOT better than my guy, then! Thye soudn truly hardworking. This goat dairying thing just sounds like a harebrained scheme, the way you describe it. (I just wonder, where is the milk being kept refrigerated and such?)
Maybe the right thing to do, given their work ethic, is to sit down and explain to BOTH (not just the wife) that the goats are going to have to stay in, adn that is going to require a LOT more forage. The crop damage issue is bad enough, but the road risk is unacceptable.
Also, do they know the risk the kids are at haying the roadsides, and that it is illegal?
You may mention the proximity of the animals to their well, too. If the kids are sick a lot, a water quality test ( I would want to test fo E. coli and fecal coliform, for starters) is in order. You can't force it on them, though.
Re: The Goats are GONE!
Looks like it 2 or 3 trips through the mud. Left some ruts in our grass field entrance. But, we are happy to say they seem to be gone. This past week at church the dad asked me if there was still corn in the bin. I simply said yes. I think he was looking for some corn. No way.. That is special nonGMO extra premium corn. Wife asked if I'd seen their livestock over next to us. I only gave a short yes. Really wanted to add that I'd noticed them when they were out.
We have a barn and lot where we use to keep sows 1/4 mile from any one's home we might offer. But, only after they have had a SERIOUS fence building lesson. Instead of baling wire they had used single pieces of something that looked like light weight electric fence wire. Oh well, at least it wasn't baling twine. It would require some extra cattle panels since we only kept sows there. Automatic waterer, shed, lots of shade, and a permanent field road to there. Added part... bean field next to it is owned by the owner of the previous lot. Of course we have beans next to it too.