The Real Reason We Got Goats

Introduction

Since we have gotten the goats, we have only put them on pasture type areas consisting of some grass (winter time) and mostly weeds.  They have done well on this environment but we have always had to bring them their #1 fodder.  Brush.  I have done a few posts about brush and how much they like it, but I have always had it in my mind, “we need to get them to do work.”  Well that time has arrived.

Technique

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This is what a relatively easy edge looks like (usually its much thicker).

What we are doing is fencing off paddocks that include the forested edges of the property.  The edge of our forest is extremely dense with shrubs and low growing trees, so much so that it is nearly impossible move around in, and very difficult to even have an opening into the forest.  We have wanted to fence the goats in there to do most of the heavy lifting for clearing, or at least opening up the understory.

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We try to give the goats some open grassy area because they like to sun bathe.

I am here to report that we’ve done it four times now and it has been an absolute extreme success.  I will note it has been a complete pain in the ass as well, where it requires (its not optional) two people to place the fencing.  We are still using the electric net fencing, and while it is extremely portable, has been an absolute nightmare in the woods, and I’m looking at replacing it sooner rather than later.  I think for animals on open pasture it would be great, but anywhere else its a nightmare.  Every tiny little stick, or something that sticks out catches on it, to include the netting itself; as a result, we have waited until recently to actually fence in these thick areas.  I think we have repeatedly said when we were out placing the fencing, that it just seems to find things to catch onto. 

 

Results

I think the results speak for themselves (at least they do to me).

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After the goats have cleared the under story, I then went and coppiced all understory shrubs to let them have the tops.

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If I were to clear out the remaining sticks, this would be way more clear than it looks now, but I can assure you this is a million times better than it used to be.

Next Steps

So I stated that I can’t stand the electric net fencing for this application, so what will replace it?  It is too costly to keep buying these fences and just leaving them in place, so what I am going to do is trial out step in posts with electric ribbon.  These posts and electric ribbon will stay in place without moving them.  I will then just move the goat from paddock to paddock over time as the growth comes back. Eventually I will also be doing this with pigs (perhaps next year).  I really think having a more permanent lean style fencing such as the ribbon fencing will end up working out extremely well.  I should also note it is significantly cheaper.

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