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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm curious to hear if anyone has used their harness goats to pull small sleighs or dogsleds? I saw the picture in The Packgoat of the team of goats pulling the freight sled, and I read in Alaska's Wolf Man that Frank used a single Caribou to pull his dogsled during a winter he was without a team of dogs. I'm curious what a couple of harness goats could do pulling a dogsled--mainly because I need an excuse to make a dogsled while I convince my wife we need 22 more dogs.

Josh
 

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Great idea! I was just wondering if I should place my dogsled in a new home! :?

My two Alpine girls were pretty excited when I was moving them the other day during bad weather. I don't doubt they could pull my dogsled loaded with a couple bales of hay because they dragged my butt with my heels dug in to the barn!

Here is a photo of me, dogsled & sled dogs a couple of years ago...

[attachment=0:7wqv4jp2]DSC00696 PSE-C8-700x245.jpg[/attachment:7wqv4jp2]

So now I need harnesses for my girls! I wonder if a custom made x-back harness would work for the goats? One good thing the dogsled has a brake! :D

My pack saddles came yesterday and we've had bitter cold wind ever since. :cry:

Cold I can handle. Cold wind, not if I can avoid it!
 

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Hello,

provided they are in good shape, trained and have a harness that fits, goats can pull up to twice their own body weight.

Other factors are what condition the surface has, how steep (hills), even or rough, length of lines, balance of the load, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies. Great picture IceDog! I trained a harness dog years ago but I've never worked with my goats on pulling. If the bug continues I'll build a sled over Christmas break and pray for snow in the local mountains. Of course, goats will be much slower than dogs, but they have the guts to really pull hard so you could use them in poorer train conditions, and use a lot less of them. JD.
 

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I have one of those Ice fishing sleds that have been pulled on snow packed roads and across a rather dangerous frozen lake. I have also used an old sled with a long rope and cord wrapped around the runners so that momentum doesn't carry them and they don't just slide downhill.
 

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I saw this and had to chime in, first, there are lots of good used sleds available, check the forum dogsled.com, lots of folks selling out, the economy with high gas and high dog food is causing a lot of folks to get out of dog sledding, there is a large classified section on dogsled.com, many of the members in the upper midwest and the PNW.

In northern Alaska the Innuit use reindeer for pulling sleds, that are sat in rather then driven from behind, remind me of canoes some of them, and others look like rebuilt freight dogsleds.

No doubt in my mind several goats could pull them.

Great topic, I would think several goats could pull a days worth of firewood on an Innuit sled. Could make a little more incentive to breed those 250lb wethers !
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@Jake: The mushers are all feeling the pinch aren't they? Lots of stuff for sale right now. The dogs get cheaper as the dog food gets more expensive, too.

I would love to build a good ash sled and I just may still do it. This would have been the year to have one as the coastal mountains got more snow than ever, but 90% of the fun would be building the sled anyway. Our young packing prospect 'Hank' seriously needs a job to do so he's going to start getting cart trained if we ever get any time. Once he's cart trained it should cross over well. It would be pretty fun to load the kids up in the sled basket and break trail on snowshoes--but that's romaticizing it a bit! JD
 

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The big issue with the mushers that I know is the price of gas, its doubled in 3 years. Which makes getting to races a whole lot more expensive, I'd say more then half the mushers who are active are racing and some rec sledding.

And few racers that arnt feeding 15-20 dogs.It all adds up, a LOT of people selling their equipment on the classifieds on SleddogCentral.com, and their dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
You're right, fuel prices are everything. My dog food has gone up almost 25% in the last 5 months (just feeding my border collie mix--not a team, thank goodness) and the prices 5 months ago were high. I did some calling around out of interest a few months ago and the dog food wholesalers are saying their freight costs are going through the roof. A 25% increase in a feeding program could kill a racing kennel.

On the goat subject, we feed our goats the best hay we can find to keep the wether growing and the doe producing milk, and gas prices have driven hay prices up beyond insane. We're paying $20 a bale for 2nd cutting orchard grass! According to one local goat breeder, this has killed the pet goat market in the area (a bit premature, but I get what she's saying). At $20 a bale, it would probably be cheaper to hire a helicopter to remove my yearly elk than keeping a team of 1/2 dozen pack goats! JD
 

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Better yet come to North Idaho. I paid 2 dollars a bale for orchard grass hay and 3 dollars for oat hay at another farm. I told the farmer he couldn't make a living like that but he would not take any more money for his hay. It is some of the best hay I've seen in my 4 years of buying hay. I don't know what it going here. It cost more to make a bale than $2.
 

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idahonancy said:
Better yet come to North Idaho. I paid 2 dollars a bale for orchard grass hay and 3 dollars for oat hay at another farm. I told the farmer he couldn't make a living like that but he would not take any more money for his hay. It is some of the best hay I've seen in my 4 years of buying hay. I don't know what it going here. It cost more to make a bale than $2.
Problem is he is spoiling you with those prices. Now when you have to go to the normal prices it will hurt your pocket more.
 

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We can all stand a good deal of spoiling !

Right now in MI good mixed first cutting alfalfa/grass hay is $6 a bale, 60-75# bales, straight alfalfa is more, 2nd cutting will be $10 or over. But I want grassy hay. Unfortunately I wont be able to bring more then 6-8 bales with me. :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
idahonancy said:
Better yet come to North Idaho.
Nancy, I'm working on it! Ha, ha. I love Idaho. Half my heritage is Idahoan pioneers from the Cascade/Roseberry/Donnelly area. When I was in college I spent a summer as a fly fishing guide out of McCall. Beautiful state and I would move the family to Idaho in a second if the right opportunity came up. Cheers. JD
 

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idahonancy said:
Better yet come to North Idaho. I paid 2 dollars a bale for orchard grass hay and 3 dollars for oat hay at another farm. I told the farmer he couldn't make a living like that but he would not take any more money for his hay. It is some of the best hay I've seen in my 4 years of buying hay. I don't know what it going here. It cost more to make a bale than $2.
Wow that is an unreal deal!
 

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I paid $4.50/bale yesterday for 55-65# grass hay, 2nd cutting , 5 bales $ 22.50, local raised, nice green hay. Will last 2 weeks easy for my guys til we leave on the 16th.
 
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