Early one morning we noticed severe damage to large areas of ground on Bat World Sanctuary’s property. The ground in several areas looked like someone had come in with a tiller and caused the ground to be broken up in numerous places, even fairly large rocks had been overturned. We checked the security cameras to see what could have possibly caused such damage and noticed seven large feral hogs, as well as babies, actively digging up the ground in several areas. We were aware that feral hogs were in our area and that they caused damage.
We were shocked, however, at just how much damage could occur. In researching how to humanely keep feral hogs away, we came across disturbing articles of feral hogs causing human fatalities, especially when babies are present. We immediately warned our neighbors and cautioned them to be aware when going outside at night in particular.
Our only option in keeping the feral hogs off the areas of Bat World’s property that we frequently use was to put up a fence. Thankfully, we did so just in time as the population of feral hogs in our area increased to over 30. The fence we chose allows small animals like rabbits to enter but will keep the feral hogs out. Of course, having a fence meant that we could expand our recue efforts for livestock in need, so we chose to save a few goats. Having goats also cuts down on the amount of mowing we have to do in spring and summer.
Four of the goats we rescued came from a family who needed to place them because they were “getting picked off by predators”. They were kept in a very small lot with a short fence and three of the babies had been carried off by coyotes. The four we rescued included two mothers and two babies who we named Hilda, Cheba, Poe and Elvis. More rescues came later. One, a little black and white boy we named Rover, was bought as a pet as a small baby and kept all alone. He was treated much like a dog and even fed dog food, which caused health issues. We corrected his nutritional imbalance and he is now a proper goat. The other rescue, a gray and white little beauty we named Julep, was destined to be dinner. Youngsters Simon, Oscar and George came last after we learned of a woman needing to find new homes for them.
One of the things we enjoy most is giving the goats enrichment with plush toys hanging from branches and even mirrors inside their sleeping quarters. Hilda in particular loves the mirrors and stares at herself quite often.
Having goats on Bat World’s land has proven to be a win-win. Aside from the great job they do keeping the tall weeds down, they seem to love the area where they roam and browse. They also have safe quarters to sleep at night without any fear of coyotes getting in. They have loads of enrichment in the form of a swing made from a pallet, see-saws and wooden spools to climb, all built by our wonderful contractor Arturo.