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Old 05-28-2008, 11:37 AM   #1
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Goats and land-clearing: long with lots of questions

My husband and I are considering getting a couple of large breed wethers (misspelled?) as brush control and as pets. Since we have children, we want to have disbudded boy goats. Our wooded and rocky property is fenced with wire mesh with a barbed wire strand on top (we're planning to get ride of the barbed wire and replace it with a hot wire). How do we keep coyotes and dogs out of our property? We, like everyone else, are on a very tight budget. We also want to keep the goats healthy, and well, ALIVE. We don't want guardian dogs (since the road in front of our house is a county highway) and don't let our house dogs run loose. They are kept in a chain link fenced-in yard. If we added a guardian donkey, I'm afraid the donkey may be harder on the property than the goats. I've seen what horses can do during the "muddy" months. Would a standard donkey do the same? (No mini donks or mini horses since I read that they could be hurt by coyotes/dogs too. Is that true?) We are in the process of working with the Wildlife people in our state to create an upland bird habitat on our property. Burning the property may be out of the question due to how close our neighbors are (we all have 6 acre tracts). So, using a brush hog, chain saw and a couple of goats is the solution we're coming up with to clear an acre of many trees and brush (and tons of poison ivy and wild roses). I would love to include an equine with the goats but wonder if that wouldn't create more problems for the property. Think Ozarks, and you have a pretty good idea what our land looks like (rocky, woodsy valley with a stream in the middle, oh, and at least 3 springs seeping through the ground!) Lots of reptiles and amphibians. Its a cool piece of property but we need to get a handle on the old forest growth.
Thanks for any suggestions on goats, land clearing, ect. you could provide
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Old 05-28-2008, 12:49 PM   #2
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You want to keep two goats on how many acres? Don't think they can eat that much brush and make a difference!

Picture a tree or bush full of goats....when they are done you are left with naked broken limbs but the plant survives.
We have eight goats and ten kids and this is their destruction. Pic was taken yesterday.

This bush has been attacked by goats for eight years.

The goats will need shelter. They are not the kind of animal that you put out there and forget.

I think it's great that you want to get some goats. Yes they can help keep down some of the brambles and brush but they don't "clear" the land. Not when you own only two.

I can't help you with the question of the best guardian for your goats as I don't use one.
May your troubles be less, Your blessings be more,
and nothing but happiness come through your barn door.
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Old 05-30-2008, 05:21 AM   #3
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Two goats on 6 acres will not keep it eaten down I don't recall what the goat to acre ratio is but we have about 100 on 10 acres and they still have browse...we also give them free choice hay though so they don't stress the pasture to much. I would think 10 would be a better number.

I also don't think wethers is the way to go just like cats they get UC (pee stones) and can be difficult if not impossible to treat. One thing I've heard of people doing is buying up young healthy weaned doelings in the spring, turning them out all summer and selling them in the fall so they don't have to feed in the winter.

If you really want to keep it cleaned up sheep are close grazers and something like a Jacob or Black Belly is fairly wild and self sufficant. Goats browse and will pick/choose what they want to eat.

For a guard animal we've only ever used dogs and they work well. If your goats are fenced in then Iam not understanding why the dog wouldn't be as well? I know of several breeders who contain the LGDs in an electric wire with no problems. I've heard good and bad with the donkeys and Lamas problem is they are both prey animals as well some will run not guard.

Good Luck in your choice
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Old 05-30-2008, 07:46 AM   #4
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Goats aren't the answer to brush control and if you have children I'd get hornless does which make wonderful pets. No strong goat odor either. Use of the brush hog is your best bet but I warn you that there's a time of year to use it or you will simply prune the bushes and they will grow back in thicker than ever. Wait until fall when the leaves first start to turn. This indicates the sap will be going to the roots for storage and you want to prevent this and starve the roots. You can also apply Round-up with a small pressure sprayer to green leaves. The leaves will carry the Round-up to the roots and kill the plant. This product breaks down with contact with the soil. I believe it's a hormone which speeds up the plants life cycle. Premix is good for unwanted grass and small weeds but you will need a concentrate that you mix for woody plants. A pamphlet indicating strengths accompanies the container.
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Old 06-02-2008, 08:47 PM   #5
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Thank you all for sharing with your experiences with goats and brush clearing. I don't think goats would be a good choice for us. It looks like the brush hog and Round-Up will work best for us. Thanks for sharing your cute goat pictures as well!
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Old 06-24-2008, 09:20 AM   #6
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I read the post about the sheep, we have a small flock of jacobs/barbado (hair sheep) that we would like to find a home for...yes they will eat, but they are not tame like as a pet. You can borrow them anytime! I feel bad for them because we have them on dry lot. I know your fencing situation is not the best, but we do need to sell them soon, I want the space for my goats.
Here is a link to pics of them, they are cute!

Last edited by wollenberg6; 06-24-2008 at 09:26 AM.
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