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Discussion in 'Goats' started by vulcan, Oct 20, 2006.
How many goats per acreage should I have? I got 5 acres
The general rule is about 6 goats per acre. Of course that all depends on how your pasture looks. With my brushy stuff, I think about 4 per acre is about all I can handle.
I have 12 on 1/2 acre .Lots of browse and grass.Plus I give hay daily.
I think that really depends on your purpose. This year I had 18 goats on about an acre. I put them in fall last year, and everything was completely overgrown. First, I confined them into the front half, and they killed all of the brush, and then I removed any branches, etc that they elft behind, and seeded a grass/clover mixture there. I would prefer grass/birdsfoot trefoil because no ruminant has ever bloated because of birdsfoot trefoil. You can't say that for clover or alfalfa, which are the other two major legumes. However, I had the clover grass mix laying around, so I used that. Upon seeding, I confined the goats into the back half. By the time that the back half was eaten down, I had mowed the front half twice, and I allowed the goats to have access to the entire area. I am still in the process of clearing out the branches in the back half, but the goats will move this winter to another acre of brush and many small trees, with a few large trees. I only fed two flakes of hay per day in the spring, and that was only because I had two cases of bloat on the lush new seeding. The hay helped to increase the fiber in the goats' diet and elimanated the bloat issue. From May on, I did not feed any hay, and the goats are just now starting to run out of forage, because the grass is only about 1 1/2 inches tall now. The great thing about goats is that they do not seem to favor a specific area of the pasture. They eat wherever the growth gets tall. Not to mention, they did a fantastic job of cleaning up any brush that started to sprout back up from the roots I left behind. Now this pasture will be devoted to horses next year, and I will repeat the process again. If you plan to keep the goats permanently on the 5 acres, I would recommend perhaps as many as 10 goats per acre of good pasture, and split the 5 acres into 1 acre or even 1/2 acre lots. Rotate the goats through the lots as they eat the grass down to about two inches, and if the growth gets ahead of you, that's OK. Skip a lot and let that stockpile for fall grazing. You could even take a cutting or two of hay to store for winter if you would like. The time when forage growth slows down is late summer and autumn. Because of this, it is important to set aside some land to grow tall. You can let the goats out here to give the other areas a break if they start to get eaten down too low. One of the great advantages of rotational grazing is that you will have much less trampling damage to your pasture, and the overall yield is greatly improved because of this. Since I was unable to rotationally graze this year, I have some dirt patches around the feeder and the waterer which would otherwise have been growing pasture.
Great I am planning to buy some land close by my home and to put a fence around it and
keep a couple of goat around there, any advise? I am planning to do this away from home, one of my friend told me to keep a dog in the acrage to discorage bandits. I dont know if I should do this or not is a kind of scary....
One word answer: Nope!
Cattle or Buffalo might be ok with only occasional checking, but that is about it.
Goats and dogs need daily attention. Goats get hung up in fences, get sick or just about any other calamity their curiosity gets them into. Dogs are about the same and they need human attention!
Adron is totally correct, goats need a tremendous about of attention. Leaving them alone as mentioned will never work. Are wanting to buy goats to manicure your property? If so forget it, bush hog the new property first, then buy a good quality riding lawn mower and mow your new land twice a year. It will look like a golf course in no time, and you will surely enjoy riding the new lawn mower more than tending to animals from afar...
Well, I'm going to slightly disagree with everyone else and tell you it is possible (at least with meat goats), but still discouraged.
Besides the usual worries that something bad will happen to them and you won't be there (which are valid, but even goats have been kept successfully without constant attention) there is also the issue of being able to work with the goats when you need to. If you are only showing up once a day for a few minutes to check on their water/feed, then it is quite likely that some goats will be hard to catch to trim hooves, doctor, etc. If you go this route, you'd better be careful with what goats you buy, or learn to rope.
I have a goat that was given to me that I was told ran wild for a long, long time. After six months of playing "goat-whisperer" I can get her to eat out of my hand... sometimes. Trimming her hooves, moving to the next pasture, etc usually means using a rope. It is bad enough that she'll probably end up in the freezer before winter is over.
If it were me, and if this other land was not really close to my place, and I was not prepared to spend a lot of time over there with the goats, I'd probably just not do it.
imo i dont think it is wise to no be there, things happen, i have one that i need to get out of the fence--sometimes three times a day (can go weeks w/o it happening or she'd been gone by now).
Goats prefer superior fencing, well to be more accurate, goat owners need superior fencing. As already said, they need attention,but they really want it even more. They need to trust you. If they only see you when it is time for shots or hooves, they will flee from you. If you spend just 10-15 min. a day rubbing, petting, and just being a goat with them, then MANY other problems can be avoided. When they get out, and they will, they need to be able to feel safe comming to you. Some may be faster than me, but I have NEVER caught a goat that was out of the fence that didn't want to be caught. Mike
There are likely millions of goats in west Texas that don't see a human the whole year, only after kidding and the kids are rounded up for sale at slaughter, or shearing. It certainly is a different mentality, and a huge difference in mortality than what we talk about on this forum. But anything can be done, there are automatic dog feeders for livestock guardians, our ridgebacks get kibble free choice, this could easily be done with weekend visits from you. Fencing is huge, your predators have to be addressed from the beginning, and you will likely have to start with a pup which isn't going to be any help for the 1st year. You would need to do meat or fiber goats, so they can rely on forage, haying during the winter.
Good luck with this and tell us what you end up doing. Vicki