To Goat or not to Goat?

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SteveHGraham
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To Goat or not to Goat?

Post by SteveHGraham » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:34 am

Irma made a real mess of the wooded part of my property. I lost maybe ten big trees during the storm, and since then, a bunch that seemed okay have decided to fall in sympathy. I can get rid of about one tree per week, so I figure it will take somewhere between six months and a year to fix this.

I was very happy about having acres of unimproved woods, but now I have gotten to know the woods better. Irma made the land considerably less picturesque, and I have also discovered that a lot of the trees are rotten. I'm thinking I should cut every single small oak I can find (because they rot and produce nothing of value), plant bamboo along the side of the property to foil the neighbors, put in some desirable trees, like pecans, and do something about the weeds.

Question: should I get a couple of goats? A friend of mine has a farm here, and she says I should avoid goats at all costs. She says they get sick all the time, and that the vet will be my best friend. I thought I could make them manageable by avoiding fertile males, but she says goats are horrible in all forms.

True?

The property is already set up for them, with automatic watering, goat fencing, and a goat shed.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

John Hasler
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Re: To Goat or not to Goat?

Post by John Hasler » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:15 pm

Goat fencing: "If it won't hold water it won't hold goats". Do they have something to climb? They *will* climb something. Cars and trucks are popular. They leave little dents. They are also known for pulling chrome off of vehicles. I also suspect your climate may be too wet for them.

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BigDumbDinosaur
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Re: To Goat or not to Goat?

Post by BigDumbDinosaur » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:25 pm

SteveHGraham wrote:...plant bamboo along the side of the property...should I get a couple of goats?
Bamboo? Skip the goats and get some pandas. :D Goats are destructive. Pandas are cute.
Science makes it known. Engineering makes it work.

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larry_g
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Re: To Goat or not to Goat?

Post by larry_g » Tue Oct 24, 2017 2:12 pm

My wife has had a small heard of sheep for many years. A couple of years ago she decided goats would be nice also. They are the bane of my existence. As said they respect no fence, they climb, and they don't taste good. A sheep is as good a brush hog as a goat. Goat feed will kill a sheep. Both will destroy small fruit trees. Both require foot maintenance and if your in a wet area then more is required.

Did I say I hate goats..

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steamin10
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Re: To Goat or not to Goat?

Post by steamin10 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:06 pm

Like chickens any live stock requires a lot of money and effort to get some infrastructure to keep them. A thousand dollar chicken house for a few $6 chickens is the norm, so be prepared, not only to spend more money than you plan, but for losses from pests and incidents.

If your property has solid fencing in good shape and the remnants of such housing, it is a no brainer.. If you find feeding the dog or cleaning a cat box below your stature, forget it. Goats are the other dog and will follow you around like a pup 'helping ' you with any project, They are very social creatures, will rub their sides on you and generally be only a few feet away, and call to you when they see you are out. If you are working on that lawn tractor, they will try to climb in the seat and drive.

We have pygmy and dwarf goats, so they are small less than 40 lbs, even tho fat and round. For toys we have a goat boat, Tuggy sand box that we leave the lid on, a log with a board for a teeter, two more logs with a split rail top they love to balance and launch off of and a childs plastic picnic table they perch on. That about it for the barn yard that is about 16 by 16 feet. They are placed in a stall in a mini barn that is about 4 x 8 for weather and night protection. We have city coyotes and ferel dogotes that run the swales and bottoms here, making it rough on small dog pets and cats.

Be warned that goats can get a host of problems and vets that care for such farm based animals are a diferent deal than your common dog doc. And we discovered that ignorance abounds when it comes to goats sheep and such animals, so information as well as a good stock to start with is paramount. Our first goat was just a week old when we got him, stormy wass and auction buy and did not last 24 hrs even tho he was on wet nurse that night we brought him home. He had pneumonia and we did not know, so that wsa $40 in one day. Our third pair of goats we found on Craigs list, and during the initial checkup was found to have barber pole worms. These are serious and go through an entire herd quickly and multiply in such numbers that the Goat literally starves as they become anemic. The telltale signs are the whitening of the underside of the eyelids and the gums turning white. Treatment is easy enough but somewhat costly for just small quantities of the wormers. And by the way, they object to these procedures for some real goat fun.

If I had the setup, I would do it, you can always reeverse the process and sell them off if too great a load. I find them as enjoyable and fun as a new puppy. They do get into things, and being physically limited we have small goats so I can handle them without fighting with 150 lb beasts. A bowl of pellets and they will follow you anywhere.

The biggest difference between sheep and goats, sheep are grazers and pick on grasses, goats are browsers and will strip brush and trees as far up as they can reach. They will eat a surprising array of leafy plants, even poison ivy and spiney hawthorn and the like. So we let them browse free, or in a penned area when alone and only supplement their day with a cup of pellets or goat hay, too weedy for harses. They need a small amount of copper in their diet, and it is in the pellets. Copper will kill sheep. Feed hay put on the ground quickly becomes ignored as bedding. a half barrel set up for feeding is as likely to become a bed rather than a feeder, ask me how I know. Hay feeder must be a hung rack at eye level to be best. I have one cut out of electric conduit scraps. I will braze it up in a day or two with some other projects. Horns on a goat can make a feeder problematic, but so far all our kids are poled meaning their horns are burned in the first weeks of life so they do not grow. Horns cannot be removed after they attain a certain size as this can open sinus areas to the top of the head. Huge dog bowls of the stainless variety that resist overturning we have found the best under little hoofs as they tend to step on and in everything. Rubber buckets hung off a sturdy bracket oon the wall is recommended as they put their feet in them when hogging the feed. We only feed at lock down for better control, getting them in, and we want them to graze so we try to keep the portly kids hungry and eating brush.

In short , read, find a goat club as they exist for silly people with pets, and pick their brains before you leap. Goats can be surprisingly hearty, or fragile, depending on the care they get. I recommend at least two, our males are wethers, so they dont pee on their beards and stink. They also dont try to mount everything they see, which is disconcerting when working on lawn equipment. females generally run about twice the cost of males for your region and breed. Mostly they should not be bred until about a year old as they are not mature enough to support life too young.

Sheep I have not much experience with except they will break your knees out. The Shepards stick is used for blocking a head bump that they do in defense or the need for attention. Either way they catch you flat footed from the side many have received an injury form a side bump breaking the knee. Our goats bump and nibble at butts and fingers but have not issued any force as yet preffering to side rub rather than butt us. I find they are tactile creatures and rub on each other constantly in a tight group. The dogs are a different matter and they take particular joy in worrying them with all manner of body contact.

I have been told that RAISiNG GOATS FOR DUMMIES is a good beginners book with a lot of basic do's and donts , I dont have one preffering to fly with my goat vet and some others with experience. But it couldnt hurt.

By the way, welcome to the realm of property manglement. Nature the mother will help arrange your doings. Work with her, and accept the curve balls as they come. I have nurtured some Black walnut trees for some years now. They tend to poison the ground around them blocking out others, but they are getting to be rare in human influence and for that reason alone we need to plant various nut trees and wood producers instead of junk ornamental trees only good for bon fires. Nuff said.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
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SteveHGraham
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Re: To Goat or not to Goat?

Post by SteveHGraham » Wed Nov 01, 2017 6:53 pm

Thanks for all that information. My advisor keeps telling me goats will make me miserable, but now that I've discovered poison ivy all over my property, they are starting to look good to me.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

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steamin10
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Re: To Goat or not to Goat?

Post by steamin10 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:33 pm

We noticed a problem with Ellie, our first lady of goatdom. She is losing hair around the eyes and is looking stressed. Upon query to some others we believe she has developed a copper deficiency that causes this. In certain areas like Florida, there is no copper in the soil to uptake into feed. Likewise calcium, Iron and some other trace minerals are interactive to block copper uptake into goats. So a bolus of supplemental copper is needed to maintain good health 2-3 times a year. This is taken from a cheep source (cattle pill) and given in a banana chunk. Most goats love a banana treat, and when trained this way makes giving pills and supplements easy. Another benefit of the copper oxide particles (rods) is their aid in destroying intestinal worms in goats making for a stronger animal to start with. Horses, cattle and goats all benefit from varying amounts of copper to boost their health and resistances. For sheep its deadly. We suspect that the clear water Iron we have may be at play, blocking the copper. It is a local weird thing, as too much or not enough copper is deadly. We are going to the Vet tomorrow to get a professional opinion on this one.

Did I mention goats are fun?
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
It is not getting caught in the rain, its learning to dance in it. People saying good morning, should have to prove it.

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SteveHGraham
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Re: To Goat or not to Goat?

Post by SteveHGraham » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:16 pm

Now both of my advisors have turned against goats. On the up side, it looks like the more-expensive version of Roundup works on poison ivy. The regular version appears to be more like a poison ivy cream rinse or conditioner. And I failed in my efforts to kill magnolia trees with it.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

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steamin10
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Re: To Goat or not to Goat?

Post by steamin10 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:20 am

Sorry to hear you listen to advisors and not follow the adventure at hand. Bad advice mocking your every move can sour you on any result. I am not into goats as such, they are just a means to an end with less work for me than grubbing brush and whacking weeds. When they have served their purpose we will decide their future, and probably move to a less intense maintenance ritual.

Few things work as good for general elimination of pest vines and scrub trees as diesel fuel. Just a fine mist will kill all the leafy parts. Wetting a cut stump will prevent suckers from making a bush. It is available and cheap, and unless you go crazy with it, it is gone from the environment fairly quickly anytime there is the presence of water or dew. Fuel stored in any containers (like boat fuel tanks) must be inoculated with gasoline to prevent black algae growth, that will plug engine systems. (Ask me how I know that one).

The EPA frowns on this practice, making all sorts of claims. Really, all the drip spots my leaking diesel have created do not last the summer, nature erasing the marks in grass. Trees and brush killed, stay killed without harm to other things, as I sprayed some active Poison ivy, and it died back to the root, and the maple continued without harm after the diesel dried off in a few days from my light spray.

Considering all the hoopla about roundup and cancer, what do you expect from a poison designed to kill things? I would not bath in diesel either. I use roundup to kill off grass in my driveways and drag a harrow/rake over the dried roots to keep the sunny drives rocky and fresh looking. I dont like the grassy green mat of the lightly used drive.
Big Dave, former Millwright, Electrician, Environmental conditioning, and back yard Fixxit guy. Now retired, persuing boats, trains, and broken relics.
We have enough youth, how about a fountain of Smart. My computer beat me at chess, but not kickboxing
It is not getting caught in the rain, its learning to dance in it. People saying good morning, should have to prove it.

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SteveHGraham
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Re: To Goat or not to Goat?

Post by SteveHGraham » Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:05 pm

The other day someone quietly told me Roundup was useless, and that what I really needed was motor oil. I was too lazy to go buy more motor oil just for this purpose, so I Googled to see if diesel would work, and I got advice similar to yours. A couple of days ago, I bore-cut a bunch of stumps with a chainsaw and filled the holes with diesel.

I will try it on the poison ivy as well, and I should also blast these annoying magnolias.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

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BadDog
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Re: To Goat or not to Goat?

Post by BadDog » Thu Nov 09, 2017 4:05 pm

On the roundup topic, I don't put much stock in that. Mainly because while Roundup was under patent protection, it was lauded as being about as safe as water for anything other than leafy plants. The minute the patent expired and others entered the market, now we hear all about the risks of using roundup. "But here, we've got this other new and improved patented stuff that is safe for you to use."

So I still use it as I have in the past, just at dramatically less cost. And I've killed both poison oak and ivy over the years, but thankfully that's not an issue where I live now.
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GlennW
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Re: To Goat or not to Goat?

Post by GlennW » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:54 pm

Get some "Remedy" if you want something that works.

https://www.domyownpestcontrol.com/msds/ld7nr005.pdf
Last edited by GlennW on Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Glenn

Operating machines is perfectly safe......until you forget how dangerous it really is!

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