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Country Discussion Topics
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Need information on GOATS
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Larry Dudley    Posted 05-10-2004 at 21:05:07       [Reply]  [Send Email]
We live in North Idaho and have about 15 acres of grass and buck brush. We are looking for something to "mow" the grash and brush and heard that goats were the way to go. But we know nothing about goats and would like information. Any goat experts out there? Do goats need to be enclosed in an electrified fence? The 15 acres is enclosed with 4' field fence and one strand of barbed wire above that. Do we need to put up electrified fences? Are there any breeds that don't jump up on cars, etc? How many goats would it take to keep 15 acres cleaned up?

Larry Dudley    Posted 05-11-2004 at 10:28:24       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Thanks everyone for your helpful information. Goats may not be the way to go for us as we have a lot of trees on the 15 acres, and many of them are small. We are now going to look into sheep - may have to do the brush by hand but have the sheep mow down the grass.

Bkeepr    Posted 05-11-2004 at 04:15:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
We've had goats for about 5-6 years now, originally got 2 to clean up some ravines that were too steep for me to bush-hog. For about the past 3 years we've had 12 goats and 2 sheep and let them "mow" about 8 acres or so. They do a great job, the goats eat "rough stuff" and the sheep clip the grass. The pasture had been let go by the previous owner for about a decade so it was really in bad shape, but now it is actually respectable and it didn't take them long to do it.

We've not had much problem with them trying to get out, but we also hand raised most of them and treat them like pets...on the rare occasion when one has slipped out of the fence, we'll find it at the gate by the barn worried he won't get back in for his little handful of evening snack. The sheep are actually more trouble for us, I suspect because they're not as smart.

My guys consider wild rose, honeysuckle, and poison ivy to be the world's 3 greatest delicacies. The place was infested with it all when we move in, but there's almost none to be found in their pasture nowadays.

We have a mix of electric fence (5 wire) and woven wire. If they have enough food and care they don't generally go anywhere. I guess my point there is "don't overstock" up to 18 or so should be good for your land if it grows about like mine. You may still want to mow once a year or so just to clip off something tall they don't like, but sometimes I do and sometimes I don't.

They *will* kill trees. I've had them bark some beautiful, good sized black cherries so you need to protect them if you have ones you want to keep.

"Grade" goats can go very cheap, around here you can get them for as low as $25. I've even got a registered goat that was given to me free just because the owner's husband didn't like it.

I'd recommend the book "Raising Goats the Modern Way." A great book that'll tell you everything you need to know.

good luck,
Tom A

E. G. HENDRICKSON    Posted 05-11-2004 at 03:25:01       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I agree with Donna! Goats are escape atists and
your plans for mowing grass and eating brush
may be different from theirs, like Donna said,
they will probally eat everything except what
you want them to, fruit trees,plants and flowers.
I have seen folks pen them up at night only to
get up the next morning to find them on the hood
of their truck!

Donna from Mo    Posted 05-11-2004 at 02:28:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
All goats will jump on anything they can, the higher the better; I think it's from their ancesters being mountain critters, many centuries ago. Electric fence works well with two or three strands. Regular fencing is fine, but you'll need woven wire, not just barbed wire. Your existing fence might be adequate. Be aware that if you have goats with horns they tend to stick their head through the fence and then get caught by their horns when they try to back out. Also, if you have any trees you value, keep those critters away from them. I've had them kill fruit trees. Goats prefer browsing on brush and small trees to grazing on grass, any time. Oh, and watch out for dogs. Goats and sheep seem to be the favorite prey of many roaming canines. There are lots of good books you can buy, and many spots on the Internet with useful information.

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