There isn’t a weed problem, there is a lack of goats problem

Introduction

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Behold, the “Invader” from China.

So it hasn’t taken me very long to notice the intimate nature of my goats to brush, particularly with Chinese Privet (Ligustrum sinense). I have written about this plant in a previous post and it is something that is just a way of life here in Southern Louisiana. There are plenty of places across the country that have some sort of “Foreign Invader” or “Invasive species” such as Kudzu or Hardy Kiwi. Here in Louisiana, one such plant is Chinese Privet.

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This stuff just creates a wall.

Chinese Privet, as a background, is a bushy hedge species that grows on edges of forests or with other trees. While it is very aggressive on edges and semi shade areas, it is very incapable of dealing with deep shade, wide open sunshine, or grass. (Where it has helped grow a forest it soon dies) This makes it a plant that effectively pushes forest boundaries and gives individuals quite a struggle at keeping treed areas open. There is no telling how much money is spent by cities and likely the state in maintaining this plant with absolutely zero return on “investment” other than keeping something open and usually “pretty looking”. In fact, we were driving along I-12 the other day near Covington and noticed how they¬† used mechanical methods to beat back all of the encroaching brush. What a waste, I guess that’s cheap oil for ya.

Goat Interaction

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These are some really happy goats.

I have learned just how much goats love weeds. Other than their palatalized feed, privet is THE food for them. They might as well do back flips. Whenever they see me coming with brush in my hands they start calling out “give me!!! give me!!!”. This has led me to the belief that where there is issues keeping back these weeds and invasive species there is really a lack of having goats. I know for a fact they love kudzu as well. Don’t want kudzu? Bring in the goats. They’ll murder it all. Don’t like the privet? Bring in the goats. You’ll soon find yourself in my position where I’m concerned it may not grow back fast enough to feed these bottomless pits!

Reforesting With Goats

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A munching goat, is a happy goat.

Hell as I was well on my way to designing all of this with my goats in mind Geoff Lawton released a video about this very subject! (Electric net fence moving of Boer/Meat goats on Privet). Reforesting With Goats. (Note: If you want to view the video you will have to put in your name and your email address. The website is very cheesy with its advertising but its the real deal. It seems he only uses your email to send updates about these videos. You could just use a junk email if you choose and not a real name, not that it really matters).

Privet as Firewood

The Ecozoom Stove.

The one thing that the Geoff Lawton video really to my plans of using goats to help me clear and maintain my property is the use of privet as firewood! It is something the wife and I have talked about for awhile now, but now it definitely makes sense. The amount of “firewood” I have pulled out in the last few months alone, is mind numbing. Of course if you don’t know what I’m talking about, I am alluding to using rocket stoves to cook with. You effectively use small sticks and twigs to cook with (not like a grill, but like a stove top). There is no doubt in my mind there is enough for us to cook for a year easily on a rocket stove, which is something that I will begin experimenting with here soon with possible later deeper implementations in an outdoor kitchen, and possibly down the road replacement of our stove top with it. Also these sticks can be used as kindling for any sort of fire, whether its a wood fire on the grill, or a camp fire out back (with the larger pieces).

Conclusion

The more that work with these goats, the more I realize how useful they could be in managing land around where I live, and likely in many other places. They love weeds and the green parts of trees (new growth and leaves). Anything that pops its little head out of the ground is going to attract the goats. They’ve even demolished giant thistles! So the next time you think that you have a weed (tree or otherwise) problem, think to yourself, you might just have a lack of goat problem.

2 thoughts on “There isn’t a weed problem, there is a lack of goats problem

  1. Chad

    Privet grew like crazy where we used to live in nothing but pure sand. It was all river bottoms with heavy underbrush, but it did help prevent erosion during floods. Pain in the ass though if your trying to clear a spot and keep it that way. Goats sound like the best solution.

    I’ll tell you what is a real pain in the ass and that’s Virginia creeper. That stuff was all over the only area that got a enough sunlight to garden and there is absolutely no way of getting rid of it. Anyone who intentionally plants Virginia Creeper should be flow to a black site immediately. A whole pack of Umpa Lumpas working 24/7 wouldn’t be able to keep up with that stuff.

    1. Mike Post author

      Whats funny is how little virginia creeper we have. I have literally seen it in ONE location. On the drive way. I left it where it was because I wanted to see if it was going to do anything. Never got longer than about a foot and a half.

      Goats love virginia creeper too. I personally think that there are way more good things about privet than bad. I can see why somebody would be upset with it, but its quite clear in disturbed locations it aggressively takes over to provide some sort of ecosystem that larger better things can thrive in. It provides some shade for oaks to start to develop in, and by the time the oaks have grown up, privet gets weak and brittle and dies. It has given me a real view into the workings of ecosystem development.

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