goats for brush control??

tanama(z7a, southern DE)January 29, 2006

Someone just emailed me and suggested that instead of investing in a lot of equipment to control the brushy areas of the property we hope to get, we should turn it into a goat pen (with a shelter) and let a goat do the work, plus potentially get some milk as a side benefit.

I do remember from WAY back someone telling me here that her daughter wanted to raise a goat as a 4-H project but didn't have a place to keep it. Perhaps if I partnered with a local 4-H group...

Is this a completely insane idea? Talk to me about the realities of raising a goat or goats.

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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

Here in TX people do that all the time....Goats are browsers instead of grazers so clearing brush is a natural for them..

    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 2:13PM
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As a goat person I have 12, and we just closed in an acre of brushy land, with some trees on it, and put our goats in and in a weeks time it was cleaned of any green growing thing. As long as they are confined to the area you are wanting cleaned off, they are notorious around my house for getting out to eat my in-law's flowers!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 4:01PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

What about buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)? Our brushy area is completely overrun by this European invasive. Will goats eat it? Will it harm them if they do? If I get a couple of goats it will be mainly to have the fresh dairy products, but if they could also clear some of that obnoxious shrub that would be a bonus. On the other hand, if I have to keep them totally away from it, it would complicate matters.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 4:46PM
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beth_b_kodiak(zone 5a)

I don't know about the Rhamus but they are super as eaters of Honeysuckle... one of my pestiest weed problems.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2006 at 4:56PM
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Maybe you could rent some,it's my understanding the more the better, than just a few, they will browse more, like raiseing pigs, two seems to feed better than just one,My dad turned about 25 goats loose on 30 acres once, they did a good job, he let them turn wild, getting them out wasn't pretty :(

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 12:54AM
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the only thing is if you are going to be milking them too, don't let them get bitterweed, or the milk will be bitter too, also they won't eat peppermint, but poison oak, ivy, pine trees etc are some of my goat's favs.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2006 at 2:07PM
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Buckthorn is my goats' favorite feed. They strip leaves and bark. They also eat the buds in spring. If I toss a leafy branch over the fence, they will abandon whatever they are eating and race to it like they're starving. They get slick and shiny eating buckthorn and raise healthy kids on it.


    Bookmark   October 16, 2008 at 9:53AM
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The amount of time and energy a goat operation uses compared to conventional mechanical methods is just as inefficient. You have a crew of men showing up to install the fence....multiple trips in their rigs...the energy to put up the fence..time and energy waste. then the goats really dont do that good of job...they do not eat hardwood,dead hardwood branches, and can not eat plants that are poisonous to them.For a 100x100 lot can be done in one or two days with one person working efficiently with a mower and weed whacker...and use about 2 gallons of gas. Instead of 10 trips out with the goat trailor unloading goats all day...just that alone uses more gas then me showing up alone to work. Mechanical methods far exceed any goat eating processes. Not only that...then its 10 more trips out to pick up the goats and all the cyclone fence surrounding the property. In the end the goats do not work efficiently. and goats being "green" is a joke. i can prove it any which way you need.

Also...the goats dont actually eat the stem off at the ground. They eat the fresh green leaves...which mean it will grow back much faster ensuring they get paid to come back again. Wasting more gas and money and time and energy.
...also..they do not eat brush thats more then 4 ft off the ground,leaving stuff dangling on the fence line and trees.
...so to bring out 100-200 goat to your property requires many multiple trips in a truck hauling a trailor. This process is called "gas consumption"....contrary to your belief that goats are green. And remember to multiply this process by not just 2..remember they be coming back...so multiple it by multiples of 4.
.........conventional methods of mechanically clearing the brush with a blade that turns at 8-10,000 rpm does not consume this much gas. I can clear an acre of brush better and fast and more efficiently then any goat...with less time and energy then any goat hauling crew. AND......FOR THE SAME PRICE OR LESS!!!
....brush clearing with brush goats is a sham from start to finish.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 9:58PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

But it's green...your'e not letting pollution up into the air, no noise, ...and your'e getting the exercise you need looking after them, and getting home grown food on the table....on the tractor your belly just grows bigger,...just a few benefits I can think of.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 11:07PM
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Do Not Tie the goat our neighbors did it hung itself.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 7:09PM
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Wow, we're pulling up a lot of old threads.

It sounds like the OP was just acquiring their land. If so you have to figure the first 1-5 years would be on home improvements, lawn improvements, barn building ect. While all that was happening the goats could be working on the brush & maybe give a little back in return.

In this situation I cannot see how mechanical means would possibly benefit the OP. I mean, using mechanical means would clear it in a day, yes, but I'd be so busy painting my interior walls & putting my strawberries in I wouldn't have time to enjoy the benefits of having it mechanically cleared in 1 day, which by the way it would start to grow back almost immediately.

At any rate If the OP is still on the forum I'd love to hear how he/she made out, and if they bought the land.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 9:03PM
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I have two does that I keep in an old dog kennel which I use like a chicken tractor dragging it from place to place. It keeps the goats protected from coyotes and dogs and restricts them to brousing only where I'm not raising berries, grapes etc. They have not been bred so there is no milking for me to do.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 1:24AM
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My neighbor also had a goat stepped on fence to reach a limb somehow fell over the fence there it hung it was around belly just in front of back legs ,it died there.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:01AM
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