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  1. #1
    Silver Member kiphorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Posts
    112
    Location
    Central PA
    Tractor
    TC 24D

    Default Goats for clearing land

    Several years ago I bought a 14 acres and built a house on it. The lot was wooded but had some undergrowth. Now that we're in the house and some of the other projects are done, I'd like to clear out some of that undergrowth.

    A friend of mine was in town from Tennessee last week and for the second time he told me I should get some goats to clear out the growth. Has anyone ever done this? He says down in Tenn. you can rent the goats until your done with them.

    A couple of goats and an electric fence seems to be a lot easier than hours and hours of cutting, chipping and getting torn up by the sticker bushes.

    Do goats eat everything? Do I need to give them other food or will they be happy munching on grass and weeds? What about shelter? There's a spring where they could get plenty of water. What other issues do I need to be concerned with? I'm no farm boy so this will be my first venture into non-domesticated animals.

    After reading the post about the deer stuck in the fence, I'm worried about that problem. I can just see the look on my wife and kids faces when they see one of our deer tangled in the fence. I know farmers have electric fences all over the place so are deer problems really an issue?

    Thanks

    Kip

  2. #2
    Veteran Member tractorErnie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    2,214
    Location
    Bahamas
    Tractor
    Yanmars = Fx235- F255- FX335... branson 4220i tlb - hinomoto JF1 New Holland 7610 Branson 3510 tlb

    Default Re: Goats for clearing land

    I tried the goats many years ago.
    I found out that I did more clearing in an hour with my tractor than the goats did in 8 months.
    no feed
    no hoofs trimming
    no worming
    no noise
    ect...

    Ernie

  3. #3
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Posts
    3,373
    Location
    Goffs Corner, KY
    Tractor
    IH 2444

    Default Re: Goats for clearing land

    Ernie is right on the care of goats, however you might actually make some money off of your land clearing by selling the goats later. The tractor and grunt method just soaks up money.
    Goats actually prefer weeds and such to grass. Will eat cudsoe(sp?) and like poision ivy, multiflora, etc. Put up several strands of electric, they are good at escaping. Goats have been bringing over 1.00/lb here in KY for some time. They also seem to work well grazing with cattle, the goats like the weeds the cattle don't like, and keep the pasture very nice. Also a good alternative method to chemical weed killers.


    Ben

  4. #4
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    4,144
    Location
    New Brunswick, Canada
    Tractor
    Kubota L5030 HSTC, MF 5455

    Default Re: Goats for clearing land

    There are other browsers too like highland cattle but I doubt they like a southern climate.

  5. #5
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Posts
    3,743
    Location
    Stowe, Vermont
    Tractor
    Kubota L3240HST, KX-121-3S

    Default Re: Goats for clearing land

    Can't help with goats other than to point out that several counties in California are using them to reduce the fire danger in hilly areas now. And power companies use them also as a cheap way of keeping brush away from their power lines.

    We have Icelandic sheep. While they will eat grass, it's browse they really love! I am absolutely amazed by their ability to clear brush! They only eat the leaves, not the stemmy parts, but after several rotations the brush gives up and dies. My tractor does a faster job, but I use the sheep in places too steep or rocky for Clementine and they do a great job.

    Pete

  6. #6
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    529
    Location
    Chicago suburban
    Tractor
    Kubota 2710

    Default Re: Goats for clearing land

    Male goats really SMELL, so you don't want to be around them or handling them. If you have poison Ivy and they get into it, and then you touch them, you have poison Ivy. They tend to butt everything with their heads, including you. They climb on everything, vehicles, tractors, buildings with low roofs. Females don't have the odor problem. They eat everything in sight, so if you fence them in somewhere, you can't be selective about what's going to be left standing. If it were me, I'd either do it with the tractor or shop for a cheap price. Some landscaper might take it on cheap if you do it during his down season.

  7. #7
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    1,711
    Location
    Cherry Valley, New York (near Cooperstown, NY)
    Tractor
    Kubota L4630, with cab and loader, 1951 Ferguson TO-20, 1986 Ford 5610 with loader

    Default Re: Goats for clearing land

    I raise dairy goats, and I can tell you this idea won't work. Goats are wonderful, intelligent animals, but they do not eat everything in sight. They browse, and eat a lot of weeds and brush, but only the types that they consider to taste good. In addition, you'd have to supplement their feed, build a shelter, worm them, inoculate them, and trim their hooves.

    If the property isn't too hilly or rocky, you need a brush hog, or to hire someone to do it. Goats are not going to clear the land, they'll just reduce whatever they find tastey.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    217
    Location
    Mt Ulla NC
    Tractor
    451 Massey Ferguson

    Default Re: Goats for clearing land

    As a teenager I had about 14 goats in a area as you describe,inside a 2 strand electric fence they were Nubian, Toggenburg crosses. I had a really large buck 6ft plus when he stood up on his hind legs. My experience is they ate all of the under growth as high as he could reach. I never had to trim there hooves,did have to keep them wormed,the only real problem was when my best nanney gave birth to quadruplets and I had to assist with bottles.
    So if I were you I would give it a try.
    They dont eat wood but they will eat most of the green stuff so at least you will be able to see what you need to clear your self.

  9. #9
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    7,344
    Location
    Northeast, Ohio
    Tractor
    TC-40D SS New Holland

    Default Re: Goats for clearing land

    <font color="blue"> I raise dairy goats, and I can tell you this idea won't work. Goats are wonderful, intelligent animals, but they do not eat everything in sight. They browse, and eat a lot of weeds and brush, but only the types that they consider to taste good. In addition, you'd have to supplement their feed, build a shelter, worm them, inoculate them, and trim their hooves.
    </font>

    Rich I personally don't know beans about goats but a good friend of mine that lives just down the road from me has one. He likes to butt, climb, and he eats everything that isn't nailed down. I saw the inside of a garage door on his pole barn that the goat had skinned for a quick meal. Maybe yours are a bit more selective in what they eat?

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    338
    Location
    Southaven, Ms now, Greers Ferry Ark later
    Tractor
    1955 Ford 640

    Default Re: Goats for clearing land

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( <font color="blue"> I personally don't know beans about goats but a good friend of mine that lives just down the road from me has one. He likes to butt, climb, and he eats everything that isn't nailed down. I saw the inside of a garage door on his pole barn that the goat had skinned for a quick meal. Maybe yours are a bit more selective in what they eat? </font> )</font>

    That is what I have always heard. A goat will eat anything. I have wondered about using goats for this purpose myself. We have some blackberry vines on our property that I would like to selectively keep, but I've been told the goats will eat everything.

    Ken

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