Why are my goats eating the bark off my trees?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by airotciv, Feb 2, 2010.

  1. airotciv

    airotciv Well-Known Member Supporter

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    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?
     
  2. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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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.
     

  3. Cliff

    Cliff Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  4. Montanarchist

    Montanarchist I love boobies

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    Ours love it when I drop trees. They will strip the tops of needles in less than an hour.
     
  5. airotciv

    airotciv Well-Known Member Supporter

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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.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  6. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

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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!
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2010
  7. FarmerChick

    FarmerChick Well-Known Member

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    Goats are browsers. They just do that and will kill bushes and trees all in line of fire.
     
  8. Minelson

    Minelson Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  9. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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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.
     
  10. deineria

    deineria Well-Known Member

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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.
     
  11. Briza

    Briza Well-Known Member

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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~
     
  12. Minelson

    Minelson Well-Known Member

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    There must be minerals on my truck too :)
     
  13. Backfourty,MI.

    Backfourty,MI. Katie Supporter

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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.
     
  14. Backfourty,MI.

    Backfourty,MI. Katie Supporter

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    Minelson's goats are the exception! They really like alot of different things in there diet!
    HeHe!
     
  15. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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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.
     
  16. Nancy_in_GA

    Nancy_in_GA Well-Known Member

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    Amen! And they haven't chewed the paint off of your truck yet? Mine will if I don't catch them.
     
  17. Montanarchist

    Montanarchist I love boobies

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    Ours will polka-dot our truck licking the salt off all winter.
     
  18. Pony

    Pony Well-Known Member Supporter

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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!
     
  19. wintrrwolf

    wintrrwolf Well-Known Member Supporter

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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:clap:
    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
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2010
  20. issylthesthlia

    issylthesthlia Well-Known Member

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    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!:bouncy: