How important is grass?

Discussion in 'Goats' started by Simpler1773, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. Simpler1773

    Simpler1773 Well-Known Member

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    Here I am again with more questions...lol :rolleyes:

    We've got our 3 goats now but the pen is mostly dirt because of the excavation to get the building up.

    They have lots of hay, and they get grain every morning and night when I milk. They have free choice minerals and baking soda. I also bring them tree trimings and other "greens" that they gobble up as fast as I bring it.

    Do I need to stake them out in a grassy area as well, or is this good enough?

    And if I do need to stake them out, what do you all use for stakes and tie outs?

    TIA
    Ricki
     
  2. Caprice Acres

    Caprice Acres AKA "mygoat" Staff Member Supporter

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    Well, grass isn't essential whatsoever. However, BROWSE is. Goats don't eat grass, they eat leafy materials. Make your pasture large enough to include some foresty land, or at the very least some area of grass.

    Most people are against tying out goats. I used to do so with 3 of my goats. One of my does lived on a tie out from purchase to about 2 years old, my wether lived on a tie out from purchase to 1 year of age (I think) and my buck lived on a tie out his first whole year of life. I've never had a problem with it, however you must be VERY careful where you tie them out. Also, if you must tie them out, use only dog CABLE tie outs and DOME stakes. The cable prevents them from tangling somewhat, and the dome stakes prevent tangling.

    However, it is HIGHLY prefferable to just make a fenced area for them to properly browse in. They will be much happier and healthier. And, if you make the pasture large enough, you can cut back on feed costs dramatically.
     

  3. Simpler1773

    Simpler1773 Well-Known Member

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  4. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    What you are doing with your goats sounds fine. Browse would be nice, if it's available. But your goats should be happy and healthy with what you are giving them. Mine only get out to browse when I have time to stay out with them and play goat-herd for a while, which means not every day, and then only for an hour or so at a time. Giving them tree branches and green stuff from the garden is a perfectly acceptable substitute, although of course they would enjoy getting out to pasture.

    Most goats don't care for grass, though the Boer cross doe I had did like it.

    Don't tie them out, unless you stay right there with them. Tangling is a danger, but the biggest danger is loose dogs, your own or a stray. Even if the dog never touches the goat, all it has to do is frighten it. The goat will run to the end of it's chain and snap it's neck. I had that happen once; and someone on another thread here mentioned that she'd had it happen while standing within 100 feet of the goat, just not close enough to stop it.

    Kathleen
     
  5. Carrie C

    Carrie C Well-Known Member

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    My goats have browse and grass most of the year and rarely touch it!
    I'm with Kathleen.
     
  6. pookshollow

    pookshollow Pook's Hollow

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    I've just let the "hornless" gang out into what will someday (soon, I hope!) be our riding ring, but is now pretty weedy. They're happily chowing down on weeds and one particular grass that they seem to think is very tasty. It has a very broad leaf, not a very dark green, and they inhale it. I'll have to try and find some seedheads on it, see if I can identify it.

    They've only been going out there for a few weeks, on an irregular basis. The first little while, they'd stand by the gate and complain, but now that I've shuffled pens around and they have a choice to be in or out, they seem quite happy. There's a pile of coarse gravel/rock which is a great toy for kids to play "king of the mountain" and Polly's little doeling likes to run laps, blowing raspberries with excitement. :p
     
  7. valhalladad

    valhalladad Active Member

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    Goats as a general rule don't need a lot of grass, but they do need an exercise area. It doesn't have to be very large. I have found that electric fence was always the best choice for me. Tethers are not to my liking though. I tried it when I first started, but we had a dog come though and I ended up with one doe that wouldn't go out of the shed for a few days. The fact is most of our goats knew the fence was there and often it wasn't even turned on. I did have two does that knew it was milking time and would get out fence on or off. They would come to the house and complain that we were late and they were hungry now. Ours really liked Maple leaves about the best, but the kids thought the spruces trees were like candy. All I really think you need is an area so they can run and kids love to climb on anything higher than the ground. The large cable spools you see cable or telephone companies use make the best toys goats can have. Good luck.
     
  8. Jillis

    Jillis Well-Known Member

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    Welcome to the forum, valhalladad!

    My goats main diet consists of hay and the small amount of grain they get twice a day, or as a bribe. They also get minerals and kelp powder free choice. Year round we cut them lots of brush---usually cedar and tamarack, which are both natural wormers (we do worm, also, with, medications). But when ever we clear an area or cut firewood, they also get the branches of birch, maple, popple, whatever. They strip the leaves and bark and eat little branches as if they were wood chippers.

    My goats LOVE grass, when they can get it, weeds too. I am hoping to clear enough woods that I can have rotating pastures. I don't know if it is the area, but most of the goats I have seen chow down on grass if is is available. Maybe in a more temperate climate where there is more weeds, bushes and browse year round the goats don't get as "hungry" for fresh green stuff. I grow a lot of sunflowers and the goats relish the whole plants. I throw them in when the flowers are done blooming and the seeds are somewhat mature. I have 2 pens and when I start yanking the plants the goats in both areas start calling to me, gathering at the fences and making very yearning and appealling sounds.