best goats for clearing brush? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

We have six goats that we got for free. We're trying to convince them to clear brush with mixed results.

What is the best breed for clearing brush? Toggenburg?

The six are all does so we think we should buy a buck that will be the best brush clearing breed.

-- Paul Wheaton (, August 22, 2001


Paul, a goat is a goat. Fed very little or no grain, some loose minerals and just hay, any goat is going to start eating the underbrush to stay alive. With the stress of the move you should think about worming your new arrivals, fresh water and hoof trimming as needed is about all you have left to do. If all you are going to do with them is have them eat brush then just purchase a meat cross breed buck, no sense in adding anything dairy to your stock, because unless you really look for a buck who carries bloodline for a high and well attached udder, they will just be harmed in the brush anyway. Meat type goats have a smaller udder. Good luck with your new brush hogs! Vicki

-- Vicki McGaugh TX (, August 22, 2001.

We had nubians(dairy type) on our farm and used them for brush clearing in ditches, treelines and such and they did a real good job. Once in a while there'd be a problem with staking them out(goats can do the stupidest things sometimes). After a few times of untangling them I set up a portable electric fence to move as needed for some areas. Had a goat get tangled up in that once though poor thing, not sure for how long, could have been an hour or 2 but it came out of it ok. She sure didn't do that again ;)

-- Dave (, August 22, 2001.

Why do people think that all goats are good for is for clearing unwanted brush !! We have dairy goat...all goats are basically dairy goats. Yes, most are mixed breed but they are STILL livestock that need to be taken care of and fed grain, clean water ( not muddy creek water) and hay when grass or brush is limited. It sort of upsets me to have read the before comments on goats. Buy a lawn mower or pay a farmer to clear you land. NEVER stake a goat out!! You are just asking for trouble as you have found out already !! They will sooner or later be attack by a wild animal or the neighbors dog and that is not a pretty site. Goats are not stupid animals either...rather very smart and loving. I would suggest if you are considering raising goats to get yourself a few good goat books and read up on their care. I don't believe you can "convince" a goat to do anything that they don't want to do. Also, there are weeds that are poisonous to goats...have you checked out your field. I realize that you got your goats for free but please do not neglect their care. Good Luck !!

-- Helena Di Maio (, August 23, 2001.

Paul, I suspect you will get lots of information from this post. I agree that staking goats out in brush is a bad idea. I have told friends not to do it, only to have them tell me later that the goat is dead. Dairy goats can and do clear brush but their primary purpose is to produce milk not clear brush. I agree with Vicki that getting a Toggenburg buck or any dairy buck is not a good idea. A meat type buck would be much better and there is an excellent goatmeat demand and you could sell the kids for meat. Are you prepared for all the work that comes with breeding 6 does and a buck? They need shelter, a pen, fresh water every day, supplemental feed and hay, deworning, simple immunizations(Cl C & D and tetnus)in otherwords, the basic care any farmer gives to his livestock. I know some people here that bought a herd of meat goats, around 200 head, and came to me when they all started dying. It was winter all the grass or brush was gone, they were all pregnant and having dead kids. They were feeding them one 5 gallon bucket of grain per day, no hay hopefully some water. they were pretty shocked when I told them they were starving the goats. They had been told that meat goats do not need any grain or hay!!!!! Please do some reading and talk to some goat people in your area. karen

-- Karen Mauk (, August 23, 2001.

I have a good, effective, safe way of clearing with my dairy does. I start by clearing out saplings in an area, a dozen or two at a time and putting them in the goat pen for the girls to clean off. Then if there are any large trees, my husband cuts them down for firewood, and we feed the branches to the does in their pen, a dozen or two at a time. Then I can either stake them in the area if I'm working there, or I have a portable pen I can set up to put them in to clear the area of smaller brush. I check out what's in the area first to be sure there's nothing that's toxic. My portable pen is made up of wood and wire panels that have 2 large eyes in each end. I put them together by dropping a pipe through the eyes of 2 panels. I can make a small pen or large pen (using different numbers of panels) depending on the area I want to clear, but I never clear a large area all at once. I do a little at a time. I don't have pasture here, so this gives my goats some good forage, which is healthier for them and reduces my feed bills. It also lets them explore areas that they don't usually get to see, and reduces goat boredom. (Goodness knows, I wouldn't want my girls to decide they were lacking in adventure and needed to go in search of some!!!) I should have prefaced this with the fact that I live in a subdivision and only have 3 animals. I have spoken with another Countrysider lately who told me that she used to keep her goats in 6 strands of electric fence and they would still get out. I have never had them get out of my panels (knock on wood). My panels are 5x5 each. Although my panels are dog-proof, I never leave the does out in the pen unless I'm home. I got the idea for the panels from (you guessed it) an old Countryside magazine.

-- Sheryl in ME (, August 23, 2001.

Helena, I think you're overreacting just a bit. Sure, we staked and fenced goats out in the spring and summer to clear ditches, it saved me alot of work and gave the goats something useful to do. They still had fresh water, shade and came back in every evening and still had goat chow and corn to eat. Did it for 6 years and never had a sick goat let alone a dead one. You realize goats also live in the wild without humans at all, eat brush and drink muddy water right? Never had any attacked by a wild animal or neighbors dog either, of course we also had a border collie that patrolled our land that handled those things. Even so, your goats could just as easy be attacked right outside your barn. We had a few weeds around that supposedly are poisonous to goats but they avoided them, funny how nature has a way of taking care of those things if you let it. Putting goats out to clear brush is not neglectful whatsoever. Just like the dogs and cats that we let freely roam our farm all seasons, they never had fleas, never crossed our property borders, never got sick, never got hit by a car. I'd never keep an animal in the house, not just because of cleanliness issues but because I pity animals that are humanized.(i'll probably catch hell for saying that..) Animals do a pretty good job at taking care of themselves if you let them live naturally a bit. I think sometimes people get a bit obsessive over animals and try to treat them more like humans because it fills some need they have.

-- Dave (, August 30, 2001.

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