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Totes m’Goats

Posted by: Mark Putney | April 24, 2014 | No Comment |


Homer High’s Natural Resources class is one the least conventional classes. Instead of writing essays and taking quizzes, the students taking this class learn how to raise crops and care for animals. In past years this class, taught by Francie Roberts, has built a hydroponic system to grow lettuce, raised several chickens (the eggs are sold to teachers), and even cared for several rabbits. This year, however, the natural resources class has taken on an especially large project. The natural resources class has taken on two goats.

Donovan and Harley, both of whom are males, have been the responsibility and often the antagonists of the natural resources students for several months now.

The two goats live in a 30 foot by 15 foot enclosure/shed which students built during the fall semester. Students are responsible for feeding and watering the animals, as wells as cleaning out their enclosure. Additionally, students must make sure the goats get their exercise by walking them on a leash for about 20 minutes. When asked what it was like to walk goats, natural resources student Sam Nielson said, “They get moody sometimes.”

All things considered, the net cost of the enterprise is quite low. According to Mrs. Roberts, who teaches the natural resources class, feeding the goats costs around $100 for the semester, while their enclosure was about $200 in raw materials.

Donovan and Harley’s popularity among the students is decidedly mixed. Some, like Sam Neilsen, see the goats as a constant source of entertainment. “ I think their wonderful,” he said as Donovan (or was it Harley?) chewed on Sam’s fingers. There are others however, who could care less about the goats. “I think they’re gross, and they smell,” said Myra Smith, “ I mean, I don’t not like them, but I don’t like them either.”

As might be imagined the goats have gotten themselves into quite a bit of mischief. Several months back, one of the goats managed to get his horns stuck in a fish net suspended above the chickens’ enclosure, and nearly suffocated as a result. More recently Donovan and Harley took advantage of an opportunity to escape their pen. Luckily, the two did not stray far before becoming distracted by a group of pool goers.

Interestingly enough, this is not the first time that Homer High’s natural resources class has cared for livestock. Back in the 80s students cared for a cows and even a reindeer.


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