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This coming spring, I want to find a couple of doe goats to find out if this is for me, before I go and start investing my entire paychecks into them. ;)

I have probably just under a half acre to house them on, that is -extremely- overgrown with lots of goat goodies. I've never owned them before, but I understand they strip land very quickly. How many goats would be healthy for a fertile half-acre?

What kind of parasites should I worry about? There are no other livestock anywhere near where I live, but the brush is thick and there's probably your average wildlife bedding down in there: deer, raccoons, etc.

I am interested mostly in meat goats, but am not totally against dairy (I am just a non-milk-drinking carnivore). I've heard that boers are the best for this, but the prices I've heard thrown around for them are actually kinda scary. I want a goat that I can get a return on, but not bankrupt me. Are they are safe buy (i.e, will it be a living nightmare to sell them or kids later)?

Are there any active educational or supportive groups in NW Louisiana?

Can I house goats together or nearby other small animals, like chickens or rabbits, or will they be aggressive/mischievous/unhealthy?

Lastly, and maybe most importantly before I do anything else -- I know I'll have to replace my entire perimeter fencing, because it's currently just standard rusty barb wire on 50-year-old posts. I am having trouble finding rolls of fencing that has safe mesh sizes. What brand or retailer of fencing would you suggest, and what should I expect to pay for quality fencing per foot?
 

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Since I'n not familiar with Louisiana, I can't say how many can live on a half acre. Around here two goats would nuke a half acre in a few months but we aren't as lush as you are. Hopefully someone from your area will give better info.
Re: fencing, my favorite is Red Brand woven wire with a two x four inch spacing and a line of hot wire inside. The small mesh helps keep kids in. But that is pricey and there are many other options. On a relatively small area, goats are more likely to push against a fence so better fencing is more important.
 

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Since I'n not familiar with Louisiana, I can't say how many can live on a half acre. Around here two goats would nuke a half acre in a few months but we aren't as lush as you are. Hopefully someone from your area will give better info.
Re: fencing, my favorite is Red Brand woven wire with a two x four inch spacing and a line of hot wire inside. The small mesh helps keep kids in. But that is pricey and there are many other options. On a relatively small area, goats are more likely to push against a fence so better fencing is more important.
I actually saw some Red Brand fencing listed on the Lowe's site and was wondering if it was appropriate or not. Thanks for mentioning it and I'd keep it in mind. I don't mind investing more in fencing, since it'll be a (hopefully, hurr) permanent fixture.

I suspect this bit of land is very nutrient rich. Several years ago, I know it would easily host 2 to 4 bull cattle that never needed to be fed outside of treats and supplements, and it would still need to be seasonally bush-hogged. When my parents took it over, they didn't keep it up, so it's got about 3 years of overgrowth now that I can't even fit a dog through.
 

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For where you are in the hot, humid south, I would recommend Kiko crosses. They're a whole lot more disease resistant and do better on a forage management system than Boers. They're also a lot easier on your pocket book! For your purposes, you don't need show stock. But beware of auctions. Maybe talk to a county extension agent, FFA or 4H chapter for a list of breeders in your area. If you haven't already, ready up on the "stickes" about CL and Johnnes.

As for fencing... If you're going to have goats with horns, I recommend the high tensile woven wire with the wide (10-12") pullout vertical stays. Its less expensive, lighter, easier to put up, and requires fewer posts. The stays are also far enough apart a goat can get its horns free if it gets stuck. Around your barn/shelter area, heavy gauge cattle panels work well. Goats can be rough on fences, especially if what's on the other side looks tasty. One half acre is not much even for LA jungle, so two goats would probably be enough. It would be hard to rotationally graze, but not impossible. Or you could just purchase weanlings in the spring and put them in the freezer in the fall. That would eliminate the need to feed hay through the winter, keep your jungle tame and keep pasture worm loads low.

About the only breeding system options you're going to have on that size lot is to buy an unrelated doe and buckling. Breed the two, put the buckling in the freezer just before babies arrive. After the babies are sold, buy another buckling, start the process over. Its not an efficient system, so don't expect to save or make money off of it vs. finishing a couple of purchased weanlings.
 

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If you have an ethnic market or if you'll be doing butchering yourself, pygmies are good, hardy meat animals. Because of their smaller size you can stock a few more per acre. You'd have just enough room to maintain a small breeding herd.
 
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