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  #1  
Old 02/02/10, 04:34 PM
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: NW Oregon
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Why are my goats eating the bark off my trees?

I have only had the goats/sheep (2 goats, 2 sheep, 3 wethers, and one ewe) for about 6 months and they have been living off the 2+ with about a pound of gain per day. My question is are they not getting enough food? Or is this what goats do? They are eating the bark off some 40 year old Fir trees and I'm concerned. Will they Kill the 3 trees?

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  #2  
Old 02/02/10, 04:37 PM
Alice In TX/MO's Avatar
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That is part of their normal diet. Yes, they can kill the trees.

I sure hope you have hay out full time / free choice for them.

Goats who aren't being milked don't need the grain, but they do need good quality hay.

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  #3  
Old 02/02/10, 04:48 PM
 
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Because they can. Yes they will kill the trees.
You can wrap chicken wire (1 in.) around the trees you want to keep but it takes some maintaining.

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  #4  
Old 02/02/10, 04:51 PM
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Ours love it when I drop trees. They will strip the tops of needles in less than an hour.

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  #5  
Old 02/02/10, 05:04 PM
 
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Thanks, everyone. I put out only a leaf of hay to them a day. The breeder told me this and the pound 1/2-1 lb would be more than enough for them, with the pasture they have. I'm more concerned that my animals are not getting enough food, but I would like to save the trees.


Edit: The goat/sheep are spoiled rotten and are feed carrots, yams, apples, branches from downed trees, at least one or more everyday.

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  #6  
Old 02/02/10, 05:23 PM
Alice In TX/MO's Avatar
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Unfortunately, goats are not grazers. They don't want grass. Sheep eat grass, but given that it's winter, there's probably not much for them to eat, either.

With eight animals on two acres, I think that's not enough hay. My three adult does and four yearling kids get two to three flakes of alfalfa hay a day plus their pellet feed, plus free choice alfalfa pellets (about six pounds a day for the herd).

The chicken wire will last a while, but for a better 'fix' take cattle panels, cut them in half, and build a square fence around each tree, using T posts at the corners.

Ours are spoiled, too. Right now they are getting a handful of the pecans that aren't good enough to sell added to their breakfast!

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Last edited by Alice In TX/MO; 02/02/10 at 05:27 PM.
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  #7  
Old 02/02/10, 05:26 PM
 
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Goats are browsers. They just do that and will kill bushes and trees all in line of fire.

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  #8  
Old 02/02/10, 06:48 PM
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Goats will eat on trees even if they are getting enough food. They will chew on telephone wires, tractor manuals, oatmeal containers, the side of the house, any cardboard, fence insulators, tennis shoes, insulation, wheel barrow tires, gloves and satellite dishes even when they are getting enough food. Mine get free choice grass hay and free choice forest and free choice pasture...and they still prefer to lick on my truck.

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  #9  
Old 02/02/10, 07:17 PM
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They get minerals from the bark. Trees have deeper roots and can bring up minerals that other browse may not have.

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  #10  
Old 02/02/10, 07:44 PM
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Mine killed several trees prior to us moving. If you up the hay, they might stop, but honestly, mine did it with tons of other options for eating.

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  #11  
Old 02/02/10, 08:26 PM
 
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Minerals.
The floum in the layer just under the bark is how the tree transports it's nutrients.
The goats are tapping in.
Minerals.
B~

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  #12  
Old 02/02/10, 08:37 PM
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There must be minerals on my truck too

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  #13  
Old 02/02/10, 08:37 PM
Katie
 
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All my goats get as much Hay free choice everyday allday that they can eat. I check there manger type hay feeders everyday to make sure they are full or to flugg up what's in there. They also have a good loos mineral free choice all the time.

They will still eat on any tree's that they can. I put up fencing around any ornamental tree's or bushes that I don't want them to eat on & I've also learned over the years not to plant anything where I think they can get to it. We have over 10 acres of alfafa growing & even in the summer they like find some good yummy tree's & bushes to eat on.

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  #14  
Old 02/02/10, 08:39 PM
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Minelson's goats are the exception! They really like alot of different things in there diet!
HeHe!

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  #15  
Old 02/02/10, 08:41 PM
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Phloem, first of all. Not bashing, I just have an odd obsession with spelling/grammar. The phloem is also sweet in many kinds of trees, because in vascular plants, it transports the sugars produced as well as minerals from the soil.

I free feed hay - I hope you mean a flake per goat per day? That's what I feed when I'm in between good sources of hay. I'll buy square bales and feed each of my MINIATURES 1 flake per day until I get another round bale. Sometimes my hay guy and my schedules don't match up for a couple days, and instead of being without hay I just get a couple extra square bales.

However, I don't buy square bales regularly because they're 4.00 (or more!) for a 50-70 lb bale - when I can get an excellent quality grass/alfalfa mix for 55.00, it's about 800-1000lbs. Much more economical. I have hay feeders that I fill every 2 days or so with my 5 adult goats (4 adult minis, 1 full size french alpine wether) and two 6 mon. doelings.

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  #16  
Old 02/02/10, 08:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minelson View Post
Goats will eat on trees even if they are getting enough food. They will chew on telephone wires, tractor manuals, oatmeal containers, the side of the house, any cardboard, fence insulators, tennis shoes, insulation, wheel barrow tires, gloves and satellite dishes even when they are getting enough food. Mine get free choice grass hay and free choice forest and free choice pasture...and they still prefer to lick on my truck.
Amen! And they haven't chewed the paint off of your truck yet? Mine will if I don't catch them.
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  #17  
Old 02/02/10, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minelson View Post
There must be minerals on my truck too
Ours will polka-dot our truck licking the salt off all winter.
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  #18  
Old 02/03/10, 10:41 AM
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We intentionally built our goat pen in an area with lots of "weed" trees we want removed. When the goats finish those off, we'll move them to another area for tree eradication.

They love their browse, and it's only natural for them to exfoliate and girdle trees.

I love to watch my goaties climb the trees!

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  #19  
Old 02/03/10, 12:24 PM
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Yup I intentionally put my goats in and around my house because when I moved in the back half of my house was covered with poison ivy, found out I am very susceptible to it as well. Unfortunately it had grown under the siding, Sugar only nibbled a little on the siding but she got all the poison ivy
and took out the ugly bush at the back of the house. They are now working on the tree near the house I don't like either! Most my 2 acres are tree's and browse, just wish I had a way to fence off the gully for them too...lots and lots of browsing down there. Just not sure if it is safe for them.
OH and when I set up my Buck's pen I included 3 tree's I didnt like either. Guess if your a tree and I don't like you, I'll sick my goats on ya! lol

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Last edited by wintrrwolf; 02/03/10 at 12:28 PM.
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  #20  
Old 02/03/10, 12:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wintrrwolf View Post
Yup I intentionally put my goats in and around my house because when I moved in the back half of my house was covered with poison ivy, found out I am very susceptible to it as well. Unfortunately it had grown under the siding, Sugar only nibbled a little on the siding but she got all the poison ivyl
For the record-- my parents' goats had a whole pasture full of poison ivy. My mom was pregnant with me at the time and drank their milk. I'm completely immune to poison ivy. I think it's pretty cool!
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  #21  
Old 02/03/10, 12:43 PM
 
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One of my wethers reached in my open car window and yanked the little red flashing light off the dash and probably ate it.

They seem to like a wide variety of things even when they have access to good alfalfa or grass hay. They like tall grass too.

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  #22  
Old 02/03/10, 01:30 PM
 
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when I got goats almost 16 years ago I build their first pasture lot in and around an orchard, there was peach, pears, plums, apples, etc. wonna guess how long the trees lasted?, all gone within probably one year. There's no telling how many baking soda boxes mine have eaten over the years. I go out to fill their mineral and baking soda feeders and get distracted and start looking for the empty baking soda box and its no where to be found, its like it just disppeared into thin air. I guess they get their share of extra fiber that way.

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  #23  
Old 02/03/10, 01:43 PM
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It's how you can tell Spring is coming! Minerals and sap, don't cha know...

If you don't want it dead, fence it off!

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  #24  
Old 02/03/10, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishhead View Post
One of my wethers reached in my open car window and yanked the little red flashing light off the dash and probably ate it.

They seem to like a wide variety of things even when they have access to good alfalfa or grass hay. They like tall grass too.

Oh, don't get me started about goats and wiring. Ours stripped, stripped, the wiring off a trailer, ate all the trailer lights wiring off my CJ, and anytime my spedo on the dodge stops working I know they've been to work there too. I went so far as to leave a plugged in 110V extension cord out by their favorite vandalism locations, but they're too smart to hit it.
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  #25  
Old 02/03/10, 04:06 PM
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So, the next question is.....

.... why aren't your goats fenced away from things you don't want eaten?

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  #26  
Old 02/03/10, 04:24 PM
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OH and when I set up my Buck's pen I included 3 tree's I didnt like either. Guess if your a tree and I don't like you, I'll sick my goats on ya! lol
OFF TOPIC!

Just wanted to let you know that one of Cletus' sons lives here at PonyAcres.

A little wether named Clark (his littermate is Lewis). He's so SWEET!

On topic!
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  #27  
Old 02/03/10, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Alice In TX/MO View Post
So, the next question is.....

.... why aren't your goats fenced away from things you don't want eaten?

I believe in freedom for everyone.

We let them free-range the whole mountain, and haven't been able to afford fencing for the home-ranch yet.
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  #28  
Old 02/03/10, 06:41 PM
 
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Thanks everyone, I think it might be a mineral problem. I have noticed over the last month they are hitting the trees hard. They don't seem to be hungry. I fed a extra leaf of hay today and they still went to eating the bark off the trees. As for goats eating other things, they have been very good, now for stealing things that is a different thing. Don't leave gloves, hats, or anything else around, they will make you chase them to get it back.

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  #29  
Old 02/03/10, 07:06 PM
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LOL still haven't found my wire cutters!

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  #30  
Old 02/03/10, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by momagoat61 View Post
when I got goats almost 16 years ago I build their first pasture lot in and around an orchard, there was peach, pears, plums, apples, etc. wonna guess how long the trees lasted?, all gone within probably one year. There's no telling how many baking soda boxes mine have eaten over the years. I go out to fill their mineral and baking soda feeders and get distracted and start looking for the empty baking soda box and its no where to be found, its like it just disppeared into thin air. I guess they get their share of extra fiber that way.
LOL! Yes! Mine do that too..It just disappears into the baking soda box black hole (aka..Gretta)
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