Newbie Question

Discussion in 'Goats' started by CrawfishPie, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. CrawfishPie

    CrawfishPie Mississippi mudbug

    Nov 7, 2005
    good old U.S. of A
    I have a nice fenced in area just adjacent to my back yard that is growing grass faster and thicker than I can possibly keep up with, with my push mower. The fence is about chest high, incloses an area about 1/4 the size of a football field, is new and very stable. I was seriously thinking about putting a couple of nanny goats in this area to help with the mowing chore? I'm not interested in raising any additional goats so I thought a couple of females would suffice...Ok, my question is this: since I've never had goats before and know absolutely nothing about them, are they hardy animals, what about vaccinations and how often, what kind of feed/hay and shelter will they need? The area to the South of my fence is about 200 yards to a creek and wooded area, do I need to be worry about preditors killing them or are they self sufficient if full grown? Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions or comments.
  2. Madge

    Madge Member

    Dec 6, 2005
    If you want efficient lawn mowers I would consider a couple of sheep rather than goats. Goats are really browsing animals and will probably spend more time looking for a way over, round or through your fences to get to that tasty woodland than they will chomping on the grass.

    Plus, sheep don't need shelter or supplementary feeding except in very harsh winters and generally seem much tougher that goats who seem determined to catch each and every disease known to man.

    Course, having said all that, I love my 19 goats to bits and can't imagine not having them around.And goats milk makes fabulous hot chocolate! So the choice is yours.

    As we live in the UK we don't really have a predator problem but I think in your part of the world stray dogs seem to cause quite a lot of goat deaths and injuries. I don't know if a strand of electric wire round the top of your fencing might help. Unfortunately, to answer your question, both sheep and goats will be vulnerable to attack from predators and in these circumstances even goats with horns can't do a lot to defend themselves.

    Good luck with whatever you choose.

  3. huntingnappanee

    huntingnappanee Active Member

    Mar 23, 2005
    A few things for you to consider. Goats are not great lawnmowers, sheep may be better at that. They will eat grass, but really like other things more. They should have a place to get out of the rain, this is even more important if it gets cold and windy where you live. A cold and wet goat often leads to a sick goat. They need a vaccination booster every year for tetnus and overeating disease. If all they have is grass, you may want to give them some alfalfa hay and some goat feed/minerals. You may also want to consider getting some wethers (castrated males) instead of does. Wethers are cheaper and you don't have to worry about all the problem that can come along with nanny goats. Also, they may be able to jump or get out of your fence (not knowing how tall you are, chest high may be too short). I would suggest you read threads on this site for a few weeks and make sure you know what you are getting into. Then make an informed decison. Good luck with whatever you decide.
  4. Jcran

    Jcran Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2006
    Eureka, California area
    I agree; sheep shear (grass) and "boers browse; you might consider a self-shearing sheep (wool shearing not grass). I think the barbados breed doesn't need to be sheared yearly.
  5. Milk n' Honey

    Milk n' Honey Well-Known Member

    Aug 14, 2005
    Central Indiana
    Yes, goats would be fine. Sheep might be better but I know nothing about sheep. Goats do prefer browse but they will eat pasture also. At least mine do. I have some in the woods and some on grass. Both groups do well. If you are wanting mowers only, get wethers instead of does. There is a high request for does for breeding and milking purposes. However, most wethers go to slaughter. You'd be saving two animals from slaughter and would fulfill your mowing need at the same time. I always recommend wethers to anyone who isn't wanting a goat for breeding or milk. I don't have any problems with my goats getting out. If you get Pygmies, then you'd have to have special fencing because they can squeeze through but if you get Nubians, Alpines, Boers or other large breed, you should be fine with at least a 4 foot high fence. Not all goats are the same. You might get a crazy one that will try and get out. My suggestion is to not keep an animal like that. Boer goats are very docile. I have Nubian, Sannen and Boer. They are all pretty easy keepers. Once suggestion would be to look for a couple of wether at a breeder of commercial goats. Unless you are very well educated in goats, stay away from auctions. You'll soon be banging your head against a wall because of picking up someone else's problem. Also, consider that while the goats make life easier in the summer, they require hay and sometimes grain in the winter so you'll be having to care for them. That is unless you are going to rotate animals in and out each year. Take care and good luck!! Goat are wonderful. You be careful though. They are like M&M's. Who can have just one or two or three or.....well you get the picture!!
  6. Unregistered

    Unregistered Well-Known Member

    Aug 27, 2004
    The goats will eat your fruit trees before they begin on the grass. Either one will be more of a stink than the birds were.
  7. billooo2

    billooo2 Well-Known Member Supporter

    Nov 23, 2004
    I agree with everything else. The goats will eat the brush and weeds. Sheep will eat the grass down. With goats you will probably need to add a couple strands of electric fence.) They will stand on the fence, and eventually it will sag.

    The goats will need more shelter than the sheep.
  8. 6e

    6e Farm lovin wife Supporter

    Sep 10, 2005
    OK, I'm going to throw in my two cents for what it's worth. Goats will graze the grass down, but if there are bushes, they'll trim those first, but if all there is is grass, they will do a nice lawn mowing job. In fact, having both sheep and goats, goats are better about nibbling short grass then are sheep. Goats are a pain about trying to get out and getting into trouble, whereas sheep tend to pretty much stay where you put them, but sheep seems to me have more health problems then do goats. And a sheep, as our vet once said, if they get sick and go down you might as well go in and get the rifle because sheep just don't have a will to live. I would not recommend Barbados, as we've had these sheep before and they can jump every bit of 6 feet in the air if something scares them! But, if you get a wooled breed, then there's the shearing problem. Which ever critter you go with, whethers would be cheaper. I don't know what your grass is like, but as long as there's graze, you shouldn't need any supplemental hay except in winter. As for shelter, I know people that have small goats in their lagoons and they just put large dog houses out there for them and the goats do just fine.
  9. saraohio

    saraohio Well-Known Member

    Apr 3, 2006
    If your main concern is keeping the grass down, I suggest some type of growing inhibitor or a riding mower. If you really want goats, then go for it.