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goat pasture questions

Discussion in 'Pasture, Hay, & Forages: Information & Management' started by Frolic&Malarkey, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. Jan 5, 2017
    Frolic&Malarkey

    Frolic&Malarkey Chillin' with the herd

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    Good morning! I currently have 5 unfenced acres. We've lived here for 4 years. The previous owner was here around 10 years.

    All of the back acres, and really, most everything outside the yard fence, is nothing but weeds, with a little grass. The previous owner raised pigs, but didn't use any of the property, they mostly stayed in the barn. He got divorced several years before we bought it, and let everything go. It was a disaster when we moved in. I've mostly been focused on the yard.

    I just got goats (2 Nigerian dwarfs) and have a couple people coming to give me quotes on fencing in the pasture areas.

    I'd like to get something growing out there besides weeds.

    Here's what I'm working with.

    I am in west Texas, zone 7b. It's hot as heck, and usually dry. It's flat land, with nothing as a windbreak as far as the eye can see. I am surrounded by farmland, that typically has some sort of crop growing all year. Down the road is a lot of acres that are covered in weeds that end up on my property when the wind blows.

    I have 4 different water spigots that I can use to water the pastures with, if needed. We're on a well, and I am looking for something that needs minimal watering.

    The pasture is full sun, from sun up to sun down. The 1 & 2 pastures are my main concern, the 3rd pasture may or may not happen.

    The soil is fantastic for growing, very red and rich (main crops around here are cotton). Unfortunately, there's a lot of silty blow dirt on top of the excellent soil, which I am going to have them come and scrape off before fence construction starts.

    I have to run to a DR appt, so I will come back and finish this or answer any questions in a bit.

    Goat Pen.JPG
     
  2. Jan 5, 2017
    autumnprairie

    autumnprairie Owned by the Rotten Heifers

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    Sun hemp is a good choice for feeding goats but they will be loving those weeds in the mean time. Are you mainly looking for crops that will feed goats? You could grown hay in one for the winter too they like crab grass hay
     
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  3. Jan 5, 2017
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    Goats and sheep love weeds. The reason for that is because the roots go to different levels in the soil, each bringing up their own different nutrients. We are so conditioned to seeing a mono-culture of Bahia or Bermuda and we admire it, thinking Nirvana has been achieved. The best pasture will have many many different plants in it.

    Let me put it this way.....what is your favorite single food? Let's say it is broccoli.....now imagine that broccoli is ALL that you ever eat, 3 meals a day for the rest of your life. Will you have all the nutrients you need? Will you love broccoli after a few weeks or would you appreciate a little diversity in your meals? By all means, plant Bahia and Bermuda, they are both great grasses for hot and dry. But do your research and plant weeds, forbs and native grasses for your area.

    You might have to plant patches in your pastures, fencing them off from continuous grazing to give them time to recover. Do your research to see what will grow in your area. You might start by unrolling round bales to give the soil a good mulch which will shade the roots of your pastures. Good humus content in the soil helps retain water and helps your pasture.

    A lot of the recommended pasture improvement grasses are for cooler climates than what you have. Yo just have to sift out what you can use. I plant rye grass in the fall for winter grazing and it dies back in the heat.

    to name a few;
    chicory
    plantain aka ribbon grass
    salad burnet
    parsley

    http://www.bestforage.com/forage-seed.html
    http://www.edenbrothers.com/store/chicory_seeds.html?
    gclid=CLfplrTo084CFcSCfgodkewOYA

    https://strictlymedicinalseeds.com/group.asp?grp=346

    Just so you know, our pastures are a work in progress. We are on sugar sand, think beach without the ocean. It was/is a wild tangle of forest and briars and we worked all summer on a 1 acre pasture, chopping out the briars. We are on the same quest that you are, but your land is clear, ours is not. :th

    https://www.backyardherds.com/threads/i-hate-green-briars.33715/
     
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  4. Jan 5, 2017
    Frolic&Malarkey

    Frolic&Malarkey Chillin' with the herd

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    Good to know! That makes a lot of sense. I'll be feeding them everyday, and they will always have access to good hay and feed. I just want to be sure they have something to keep them happy in the pasture. I don't mind weeds, if they're keeping them mowed down somewhat. They can reach 6' tall or more here. I'd like to add some variety for them, so I'll look into what you mentioned. Thank you!

    I also understand your pain on the briars. While not as bad, we are infested with goatheads. They are the bane of my existence with this property.
     
  5. Jan 5, 2017
    Frolic&Malarkey

    Frolic&Malarkey Chillin' with the herd

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    Okay, I retract my frivolous comment! You are AMAZING! with all the work you've done! I will forever thank God that there are no green briars in west Texas!
     
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  6. Jan 5, 2017
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Moderator

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    Try to contact your county extension office and ask for their help. it's free and if you have a good one, they'll do soil samples and recommend what needs to be done to grow what you'll want need. they can also help with animals and plant selection and refer you to other free services to help you.
     
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  7. Jan 5, 2017
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    Giant ragweed grew over my head in the garden in late summer. At 100 degrees plus, I lost interest in pulling weeds LOL. Just turn the sheep in!

    Garden 2016 sheep.JPG
     
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  8. Jan 8, 2017
    ragdollcatlady

    ragdollcatlady True BYH Addict

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    If you want goats to help clear a pasture or keep weeds down, I recommend a herd of meat goats. My baby boers will out eat several nigerians anyday. Boers are literally eating machines.

    That said, sheep are more weed eaters. Goats do better with brush. But I love goats so I will heartily recommend a whole herd or 2 of them! ;)
     
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  9. May 12, 2017
    Alaskan

    Alaskan Ridin' The Range

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    I can't imagine wanting to get the "blow dirt" scraped off....if it got onto my land, why by gum and golly that dirt is now mine!

    You can't plant anything in the summer.... and you don't want to expose your dirt...or it will just blow away.

    You need to plant right before hurricane season...and then pray for some good ones, because you need a month of rain to get a nice stand of quality anything to grow.

    In a place in Texas ......I would be looking at Texas native plants.

    Your extension agent will help you figure out what seed to toss out there.

    I would plow under just narrow strips of land...following contours, or forcing flat land to make contours.

    You want strips of weeds to stay to block the wind.... you want contours to keep the soil from blowing or washing away..

    You also want strips of weeds incase the hurricanes don't come on demand and your seeds do not sprout , so something is out there growing and holding the dirt down.

    Dirt is good.
     
  10. May 12, 2017
    Alaskan

    Alaskan Ridin' The Range

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    Also.... "lots of weeds" makes me think "toxic"

    Might want that extension agent to take a gander for you.