Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

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Kennedy
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Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Kennedy »

I have a field that is around four acres, comprised of tall-ish weeds, native grasses and the like (think natural prairie). It's quite an eye-sore, and I would like to get it under-control. I want to minimize the weeds and keep the native grass short and tidy.

I paid a guy $400 to mow the area with some attachment on his tractor. At the time, the weeds were tremendous in height, and the job took him over ten hours. The weeds/native grasses aren't nearly as tall now, but it's looking unsightly again.

There is a company near me that rents out goats for land clearing purposes.

I'm wondering if hiring a pack (?) of goats (or maybe even keeping my own goats??) would be a good solution. I could continue to hire the guy to mow, but his price did not include hauling away the old dead material, and nor did it include any edging. In other words, the acres were mowed but they were still unattractive.

Any thoughts on this? I'm going to call the company and see if the goats generally eat all the native grass down to the dirt or if they prefer to munch more on the weeds. I don't want to be left with just a field of dirt, but perhaps this is what happens when one sets a pack (? flock) of goats loose.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by ResearchMed »

Kennedy wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:35 pm I have a field that is around four acres, comprised of tall-ish weeds, native grasses and the like (think natural prairie). It's quite an eye-sore, and I would like to get it under-control. I want to minimize the weeds and keep the native grass short and tidy.

I paid a guy $400 to mow the area with some attachment on his tractor. At the time, the weeds were tremendous in height, and the job took him over ten hours. The weeds/native grasses aren't nearly as tall now, but it's looking unsightly again.

There is a company near me that rents out goats for land clearing purposes.

I'm wondering if hiring a pack (?) of goats (or maybe even keeping my own goats??) would be a good solution. I could continue to hire the guy to mow, but his price did not include hauling away the old dead material, and nor did it include any edging. In other words, the acres were mowed but they were still unattractive.

Any thoughts on this? I'm going to call the company and see if the goats generally eat all the native grass down to the dirt or if they prefer to munch more on the weeds. I don't want to be left with just a field of dirt, but perhaps this is what happens when one sets a pack (? flock) of goats loose.
Apparently, hiring goats (not GOATS) to graze the fields really is a "thing".
But I don't think the goats haul away any dead limbs or do fancy edging :D

Get local references from a couple of previous human customers, I'd suggest.

Should be fun to watch. Maybe post a photo if you go this route?

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OldLearner
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by OldLearner »

It's called a trip, drove, herd, flock, or tribe (https://owlcation.com/stem/collective-n ... of-animals).

Is the property adequately fenced for goats? They're smaller than bovine, and can climb and jump.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by ResearchMed »

OldLearner wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:57 pm It's called a trip, drove, herd, flock, or tribe (https://owlcation.com/stem/collective-n ... of-animals).

Is the property adequately fenced for goats? They're smaller than bovine, and can climb and jump.
The examples I've seen recently, include very temporary fencing.
As for the jumping, perhaps with the great dining right in front of them (I assume they arrive hungry), they don't need to look elsewhere? :happy

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123
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by 123 »

I'd definately check out rental goats as an option.

Depending on your specific situation, including fencing, you also might want to consider sheep or a donkey. You just need an animal that will graze the pasture. If you're in a climate with year-round weeds/pasture maybe having your own animal could be an option. Of course that comes with issues like an adequate water supply. I grew up in a rural area and there were some 1 - 5 acre properties that used animals to graze and control weeds. Horses or donkeys can work better than goats or sheep in some situations because horses and donkeys can deal with neighborhood dogs and other small potential predators better than sheep or goats.

One of our neighbors used an adopted donkey for their "mower". The donkey soon assumed ownership of the pasture and would chase after any visitor, incluidng neighborhood children, that visted their turf. Donkeys can become anti-socail.
Last edited by 123 on Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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health teacher
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by health teacher »

They generally use temporary electric fencing when you rent goats. Keeping your own goats will take some work and most likely supplemental feed in the winter. You have to worm them, water them, trim hooves, etc. They will also need shelter. Males are stinky too. Also, they won't eat absolutely everything. Great for clearing underbrush, but they don't like some weeds. Sheep will keep a more manicured pasture.

I would definitely rent the goats to see if you like the results before you consider getting your own because they aren't cheap like say, a goldfish.

You are probably better off buying an older tractor with a brush hog and mowing it yourself 4-6 times a year.
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Devil's Advocate
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Devil's Advocate »

I must say this is an interesting thread. :sharebeer
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by vtMaps »

It sounds like you want a 4 acre lawn. Goats will not get you there. Hire a land clearing company to clear and seed the land. Then mow it regularly, or at least annually.

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Cheez-It Guy
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

Goats will not generally strip a field to bare dirt, except where they congregate to feed or for other activities, and there the dirt is from plant damage / compression rather than eating. Goats also come with built-in fertilizer dispensers. The droppings are uniformly-sized, relatively small, and discreet like rabbits. Not huge patties like cows. I feel like we've all learned something here. Good luck!
chipperd
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by chipperd »

I'm in favor of the idea. As one who just spread manure in his large garden yesterday, the manure they leave behind will make for a nice garden if you choose to carve one out of a portion of your land and will improve the soil quality overall.
How much to rent the goats? Is the cost per day or by the job?
Interesting post. Thanks for sharing this with us.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Sandtrap »

Realize that once the natural grasses and vegetation is disturbed, especially if taken down to the dirt as animal grazing can do, other types of vegetation can quickly take over and require more maintenance than what's required now. IE: Russian Thistle (tumbleweed), etc.

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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by atikovi »

Kennedy wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:35 pm I have a field that is around four acres, comprised of tall-ish weeds, native grasses and the like (think natural prairie). It's quite an eye-sore, and I would like to get it under-control. I want to minimize the weeds and keep the native grass short and tidy.
If it's an open field, why do you want to change the natural appearance and turn it into a maintenance headache? I assume it contains many varieties of wildlife beneficial to the ecosystem that would be displaced if the grass was cut.
ironman
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by ironman »

I can speak from personal experience here. Goats are extremely picky eaters and will not eat most grasses. Our goats would not eat food that touched the ground but would run you over to eat oak leaves or milk thistle, go figure. The number of goats required to clear four acres would be significant and the outcome would be spotty.
From an efficiency standpoint, goats are probably not going to be the right choice. However, if you enjoy animals you may be able to strike a deal for free grazing rights with a local farmer. For comparison, I can clear 4 acres in two hours using a 6' bushhog on a 1950 Ford 8N with better results.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by AerialP »

atikovi wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 7:52 am
If it's an open field, why do you want to change the natural appearance and turn it into a maintenance headache? I assume it contains many varieties of wildlife beneficial to the ecosystem that would be displaced if the grass was cut.
Agreed mostly.

Also, goats are browsers not grazers. Meaning, they will choose their eating from anything within their mouths' reach rather than just what's "underfoot". Sheep are considered to be grazers although I've seen them munch on a willow tree's lowhanging branches/foliage with seemingly gustatory gusto.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Shallowpockets »

Our city uses goats (rented) to clear weeds in various parts of the green space. Over on Green Mtn which is right next to an interstate you can see them as you drive by. Seems the goat herder stays with them during the day, There is not much fencing, yet the giants seem to stay in a flock.
I would call your local goat herder and ask if they would be effective in your fields.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by atikovi »

Dang it OP! Now I got me a hankerin for some curried goat.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Wilderness Librarian »

No real experience but you might want to talk to your USDA county extension agent. Also look at rangelandswest.org (may bounce you to international global network). They may have info & have contacts & info for your specific state.Rangelandswest is interesting cooperative group of Range scientists, county extension agents and academic librarians based at land grant universities and coordinated by University of Arizona. I was part of this group before I retired and believe it is still active.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by fishandgolf »

Devil's Advocate wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:22 am I must say this is an interesting thread. :sharebeer
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Very interesting indeed! I would "goat to it", "make it happen" or "Git R Done"........ :sharebeer
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by mgensler »

Our city had some goats for awhile on a hillside near the interstate. As previous people have said they need shelter and fencing at a minimum.

Your best long-term bet is to hire an ecologist to bring in native plants. We did this with part of our property. They first killed everything and then came back with seeds and plugs. They water and then spot treat invasives. It takes about three years to get established and self-sustaining. The birds love it and so do we and the neighbors. It's more money upfront but in the long term it's cheaper as the maintenance is close to zero and so much better for the environment. We have it cut down in the late winter/early spring just to make it look better when things start to grow again.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Wilderness Librarian »

Also a bit of an addendum. Coordinating weed control and native vegetation preservation can be tricky especially in urban or suburban areas. That is one of the reasons you probably should talk to local people to balance the two objectives for your particular property. Native vegetation is usually ragged in appearance so your desire to mow it to uniform height seems to be contrary to one of your objectives. Prescribed burning may be better than goats but of course needs to be done professionally and in limited circumstances. Take note of some of the comments of Sandtrap, atikovi aerialp and mgensler. They have very useful perspectives.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Faith20879 »

A friend of mine owns 180 acres of land in Montgomery county, MD. The property is zooned as agricultural. She let's all kinds of farm animal owners bring their flocks over to graze for free. As the other posters said, the afterward look is good enough only for farmland, not suitable for a suburban yard maintenance.

BTW, ywill need goats, not a goat.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by F150HD »

why do you want to change the natural appearance and turn it into a maintenance headache? I assume it contains many varieties of wildlife beneficial to the ecosystem that would be displaced if the grass was cut.
+1

I'm not super green, but all too often near me people mow huge yard/lots until they're immaculate and leave them open and empty just 'grass' (or short weeds) and then they wonder why there's no wildlife in their yard (rabbits, deer, wild turkeys etc). Just sayin :)

Dont know where you're located (may be useful to state) but maybe researching then planting some native trees for one, then researching then planting native wildflowers/plants and the like to make it more attractive. It won't all happen overnight, growth takes time (just like in finance)

Also on this note, consider mowing a wiggly 'walking path' only through the acreage to give it some function and allow one to reach/maintain/plant native plants etc. as well as an area to walk/relax.

Could contact the local Dept of Natural Resources or University to come out and do a walkthrough w/ you to get ideas. To me this would make a fun project.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by atikovi »

Faith20879 wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:45 am She let's all kinds of farm animal owners bring their flocks over to graze for free.
Free mowing AND fertilization for the land owner. Free eats for the animal owner. Win win for both.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by MishkaWorries »

Devil's Advocate wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:22 am I must say this is an interesting thread. :sharebeer
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by whodidntante »

atikovi wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:53 am Dang it OP! Now I got me a hankerin for some curried goat.
Grass-fed? :twisted:
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by oldfort »

This has to be one of the most interesting threads I've seen on here.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by atikovi »

whodidntante wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 10:18 am
atikovi wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 8:53 am Dang it OP! Now I got me a hankerin for some curried goat.
Grass-fed? :twisted:
Then barbecued.
Wilderness Librarian wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:38 am Prescribed burning may be better than goats
What about prescribed burning AND goats?
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by CardinalRule »

Invasive blackberries are a thorny :) problem where I live (Pacific NW). Our HOA hired a company to bring in a platoon of hungry goats to clear a hillside tract that is a common area for our development. The goats (and several sheep that were part of the team too) did reasonably well, and the neighborhood kids enjoyed watching them arrive and work. The company brought in electric fencing for the two or three nights that the animals were on site.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by heyyou »

@ the OP: What do the neighbors do, those that have landscaping that suits you?

I second the suggestion of asking at the USDA (Dept. of Agriculture) county extension agent's office for more info. That person is tasked with helping transfer agricultural info to those who would benefit from it.

Permanent fencing is a lot more work than just paying for the rough mowing. Owning any livestock, even one, will change the ease of any of your travel planning.

After the heavy mower has done it again, look into using a lighter mower to continually maintain it, or pay someone with a ride-on mower to maintain it. Those are only $2500! Does Home Depot still rent walk-behind self-propelled brush mowers? Renting is good if you are not up to doing your own small engine and equipment maintenance, but you may need a small trailer to transport it. Borrowing an ATV trailer might work for that. There are tow-behind mowers for ATVs that might fit your situation. You could own the mower and hire a kid with an ATV. Do buy the little trailer hitch ball that fits the mower's hitch, since most ATV owners do not tow trailers.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by niceguy7376 »

How about using the method of permeaculture?
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by nydoc »

Only on BH forum you can have parallel threads about hiring private jet and goats.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Watty »

If there are any neighbors that have similar land that looks like how you would want yours to look you like you should talk to them about what they are doing.
Kennedy wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:35 pm I'm going to call the company and see if the goats generally eat all the native grass down to the dirt or if they prefer to munch more on the weeds. I don't want to be left with just a field of dirt, but perhaps this is what happens when one sets a pack (? flock) of goats loose.
There is actually a lot of thought and science and that goes into controlling how animals graze.

https://grazer.ca.uky.edu/content/grazi ... ch-one-you

With four acres of land the problem is that the vegetation will likely be growing faster than any reasonable number of goats can eat it so that you may not make a lot of progress by bringing goats in.

I live in a suburban subdivision where people have brought in goats to clear out undergrowth but they typically only fence in less than one eighth of an acre and they may have 20 goats in the enclosure. That will be hard to scale up to four acres.

If you do somehow get the vegetation short you will also need to watch out for erosion problems so keep an eye on that whatever you do.

If there are any streams on the property there may also be restrictions on what you can do near the stream so also look into that.
Kennedy wrote: Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:35 pm I have a field that is around four acres, comprised of tall-ish weeds, native grasses and the like (think natural prairie).
Are you in a area where undisturbed land is actually a prairie?

If not then one of the things you may running into is that you are trying to fight the natural progression for the land which may be for woodlands to try to reestablish themself so you will be fighting an expensive ongoing battle.

It varies greatly with the area and what invasive species you are dealing with but after something like a big fire(or extensive brush clearing) the natural progression is typically for the things you are calling weeds(AKA ephemerals and wildflowers) to be established first and then for grasses, scrub trees, then a climax forest to each follow in order.

When you have the land mowed you may be resetting the progression back to the "weed" phase.

An alternative would be to try to encourage trees to grow to convert the land from an open field to be woodlands and you could establish some nice trails with a few clearings that would be easier to maintain. You would need to also consider the risk of forest fires and keep the woods an appropriate distance back from any structures.

It might also make sense to work out a deal with a local farmer to let them farm the land since a plowed field might be more desirable than what you have now.
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Kennedy
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Kennedy »

OP here: So... I watched a ton of youtube video on goats clearing brush. It is fascinating to watch these amazing creatures.

Something I learned (and this might have also been stated in someone's comment above) is that goats need something to guard them against predators. A guard donkey or guard llama were suggested. I like the idea of keeping my own goats for land clearing/maintenance, but it sounds like I'll also need to keep another animal to guard them. Not sure I'm ready to take on that level of commitment, but it's something to consider.

The neighbors appear to either leave their land in the natural state or to mow it with an accessory on the back of their tractor. I have seen other land not too far from mine with a mix of cows, donkeys and goats, so my assumption is that these animals keep the vegetation in check.

Someone asked about fencing. My land currently has horse fencing (no horses present) on some parts and no fencing on others. If I owned my own goats, I would have to install some sort of permanent goat fencing as well as some way to contain a guard donkey. It appears that the goat rental companies install temporary, solar-powered electric fencing to make moveable pens.

Has anyone here owned goats and/or a donkey? I'm wondering how much care they need. I don't live on my acreage, so I wouldn't be there everyday to tend to them. I could check on them a couple times a week, but that's about it. As far as potential predators, there are some feral hogs that roam my land... so there's that.

In addition to the four acre pasture area, I have additional acreage that is covered with trees, scrub brush and the like. It's pretty thick with underbrush, and I hesitate to walk through there due to fear of running across a day-time sleeping hog. I'm wondering if goats could clear out this area, which might encourage the hogs to move along.
Last edited by Kennedy on Sun Oct 11, 2020 12:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by jebmke »

Wilderness Librarian wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:38 am Prescribed burning may be better than goats but of course needs to be done professionally and in limited circumstances. Take note of some of the comments of Sandtrap, atikovi aerialp and mgensler. They have very useful perspectives.
A neighbor of mine has rolled up about 2,000 acres around us that he has converted from cropland to native condition. Some wetlands, some riparian forest and some grasslands. For the grasslands he bush-hogs every fall to about 6 inches to chop back invading saplings etc. The native grass he has restored comes back every spring. He burns a section every year or so - the intent is to burn every section every 10-12 years. Otherwise the grass gets too thick and the wildlife can't move about in it. The burn also does a number on the saplings. Sort of simulates natural prairie fire I suppose.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by jebmke »

Kennedy wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 12:08 pm In addition to the four acre pasture area, I have additional acreage that is covered with trees, scrub brush and the like. It's pretty thick with underbrush, and I hesitate to walk through there due to fear of running across a day-time sleeping hog. I'm wondering if goats could clear out this area, which might encourage the hogs to move along.
An arboretum not far from here uses a small herd of goats to clear invasive vines. Seems to work well. They have to move them about and they will eat low-hanging tree vegetation as well.

The deer around here seem to do a pretty good job too - not sure if they aren't in the normal path for deer but some forested areas around here get cleared pretty well by the deer.
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F150HD
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by F150HD »

Has anyone here owned goats and/or a donkey?
never thought I'd see this forum degrade to questions like this :D


Did Jack Bogle have any quotes about donkeys?

I wonder what his solution to this problem would be?
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ResearchMed
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by ResearchMed »

F150HD wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 7:10 pm
Has anyone here owned goats and/or a donkey?
never thought I'd see this forum degrade to questions like this :D


Did Jack Bogle have any quotes about donkeys?

I wonder what his solution to this problem would be?
Well, he'd probably start a new mutual fund:

GOATX

:D

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atikovi
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by atikovi »

F150HD wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 7:10 pm
Has anyone here owned goats and/or a donkey?
never thought I'd see this forum degrade to questions like this :D


Did Jack Bogle have any quotes about donkeys?

I wonder what his solution to this problem would be?
Should you get the insurance on these rental goats, or are you covered with your credit card?
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by 000 »

Seems easier and more friendly to wildlife to just let it be.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by whodidntante »

F150HD wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 7:10 pm
Has anyone here owned goats and/or a donkey?
never thought I'd see this forum degrade to questions like this :D


Did Jack Bogle have any quotes about donkeys?

I wonder what his solution to this problem would be?
Don't look for the goat in the herd. Just buy the herd!

Or maybe...

Own all the asses! :P
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Mrvtmn »

I had heard of this but got to see it first hand this summer in Pittsburgh. While riding the GAP Trail there was a company clearing a section of river bank with goats. They had set up temporary electric fence and had workers monitoring it. It looked like a really professional set up.
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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Doom&Gloom »

I'd probably just rent a "Land For Sale" sign.
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Escapevelocity »

Is this field adjacent to your home or is it just a random plot of land in the middle of nowhere? If it’s not adjacent to your home why do you own it?
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by kj10 »

Past goat and current livestock owner here. Two parts to this response - my thoughts on why you should not use goats and then what you should do instead:

Why you shouldn’t get goats:
(1) You will not achieve the look you’re wanting on your property unless you starve the goats. Goats will only eat everything in sight (including what is toxic) if they have nothing else to eat. If you have too few goats, and you’ll still have a lot of growth in your pasture (which you don’t desire). Too many goats on your land (which could potentially get you close to the look you’re desiring) will mean you will have a herd of malnourished goats. Please don’t do this - it is not fair to the animals at all. Goats, even starving goats, will not eat woody stems. So even if you have goats that eat all the leaves off of weeds because they’re malnourished, you’ll still have unsightly stems of weeds on your property.

(2) Goats are expensive right now. Near me, they are selling for $250 each! You’ll have a lot of invested in a decent size herd of goats to be able to clear your property. (See point #1 for why you need a large herd.) Then you’ll have property preparation/maintenance costs (fencing, water, hay) and veterinary costs (deworming, neutering young males, etc.) Goats, like any animal, are expensive to own if taken care of properly.

(3)Plus, don’t forget the costs of liability insurance. What if your goats get out - and eat your neighbors’ expensive shrubs? Or one of your neighbors hits them on the road at night and totals their car? If you own livestock you should always carry liability insurance.

(4) You should only be a goat owner if you actually really want to be a goat owner. They are live animals and should be looked after regularly. If this is an investment property where you don’t live and you have no interest in daily going over to it to make sure that they are healthy (no injuries, no escaped goats, etc.), please don’t buy goats.

(5) Even if you get goats, if you don’t treat the “problem” (aka the weeds growing) you will still have a weed problem for as long as you own the goats. The goats will not kill the weeds, they will just suppress them. To actually kill the weeds and establish a better mix of plants (grasses) growing, you will need to manage the weeds through weed management tactics - like a combination of mechanical management (mowing or disking pasture, planting new grass species) and chemical management (spraying broadleaf herbicides).

Better options than goats in your situation:
(1) Actually killing the weeds and establishing low-management native grasses. As other posters have suggested, contact your local Extension office. Every state in the nation has an Extension program that is connected with the state’s land grant university. Your state Extension will have specialists who work with pasture management, native grass management, and weed management. You need someone who works with all three preferably that can come out and look at your pasture. He or she will then be able to make recommendations of how to renovate your pasture to a mix of grass species that will over time need little hands on management each year. You can search online for the Extension faculty member at your state’s land grant university that works in that area. He or she will most likely be housed in a plant and soils department (or similarly named) within the College of Agriculture.

(2) Follow said plan prescribed by Extension faculty or specialist. Hire the labor out, rent the equipment, or purchase your own tractor, sprayer, and rotary cutter (aka “Bush Hog mower”). Yes, equipment may be an expensive initial cost, but it will achieve the look you want and not have any of the drawbacks that I’ve listed above associated with owning livestock or small ruminants. If you’ve never planted, sprayed, or mower pastures, I would recommend hiring the job out. Your Extension agent should be able to recommend someone that is competent and also economically priced.

Best of luck to you!
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Flobes
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Flobes »

Where I live, itinerant goats are hired by government agencies for weed management. It's really fun to watch them goats at work!

As reported in local newspapers:
BLM using goats in midvalley land restoration efforts
Goat gypsies pack up after hard trail work
kj10
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by kj10 »

Flobes wrote: Mon Oct 12, 2020 1:18 am Where I live, itinerant goats are hired by government agencies for weed management. It's really fun to watch them goats at work!

As reported in local newspapers:
BLM using goats in midvalley land restoration efforts
Goat gypsies pack up after hard trail work
Yes, I should have said in my earlier post that there are indeed times when goats are appropriate partners in land management. These are examples of when goats are used appropriately for land management. Here we see that:

(1) They’re mob grazing. This means that someone has put on fencing and is moving the goats through certain sections at a time. This forces the goats to eat what is in front of them before being moved on. This needs to be done by someone with an understanding of goats and is going to constantly monitor the amount of available foraging material for the goats so that they have enough to eat. Mob grazing is also labor intensive because you have to set up fencing and then move fencing as needed to mob graze the next section.

(2) This is being done on terrain where other methods of weed suppression are not possible or easily attainable. These goats are being used on land (hillsides, trails, understory) that would not be appropriate for other methods. You can’t run a rotary cutter or sprayer over rocky terrain, hillside trails, or through an understory easily. Goats are your best answer when you want to suppress weeds but aren’t able to use any other type of equipment.

(3) In these places, the “beauty” (aka clean cut, uniform pasture) or cleanliness of the site is not the goal. The goal is temporary weed suppression and natural hillside management.

Since the OP has a pasture that he or she wants clean and sightly - his/her goals don’t fit the bill of when goats are the best weed and pasture management strategy (as outlined in my earlier post). However, I did want to clarify that livestock and goats do have roles to play and play them well in certain situations where well managed, well cared for, and used on the appropriate terrain with realistic expectations.
Onlineid3089
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Onlineid3089 »

Kennedy wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 12:08 pm OP here: So... I watched a ton of youtube video on goats clearing brush. It is fascinating to watch these amazing creatures.

Something I learned (and this might have also been stated in someone's comment above) is that goats need something to guard them against predators. A guard donkey or guard llama were suggested. I like the idea of keeping my own goats for land clearing/maintenance, but it sounds like I'll also need to keep another animal to guard them. Not sure I'm ready to take on that level of commitment, but it's something to consider.

The neighbors appear to either leave their land in the natural state or to mow it with an accessory on the back of their tractor. I have seen other land not too far from mine with a mix of cows, donkeys and goats, so my assumption is that these animals keep the vegetation in check.

Someone asked about fencing. My land currently has horse fencing (no horses present) on some parts and no fencing on others. If I owned my own goats, I would have to install some sort of permanent goat fencing as well as some way to contain a guard donkey. It appears that the goat rental companies install temporary, solar-powered electric fencing to make moveable pens.

Has anyone here owned goats and/or a donkey? I'm wondering how much care they need. I don't live on my acreage, so I wouldn't be there everyday to tend to them. I could check on them a couple times a week, but that's about it. As far as potential predators, there are some feral hogs that roam my land... so there's that.

In addition to the four acre pasture area, I have additional acreage that is covered with trees, scrub brush and the like. It's pretty thick with underbrush, and I hesitate to walk through there due to fear of running across a day-time sleeping hog. I'm wondering if goats could clear out this area, which might encourage the hogs to move along.
I'd probably try to take care of that feral hog problem first. They're an invasive species, can be very destructive, and they'll breed like crazy.
Carol88888
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Re: Rent a goat to clear/maintain a field?

Post by Carol88888 »

NYC did this clear a section of Riverside Park at the north end that was overgrown with weeds and bushes. The goats (about 15?) were so effective that they had to take them out.

They ate everything - including the trees.
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