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Goat tractor???

Discussion in 'Behaviors & Handling Techniques - Goats' started by canesisters, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. Apr 9, 2018
    canesisters

    canesisters Ridin' The Range

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    Ok yall, this may be a CRAZY idea.. but until I can get some actual info from folks who have actual goat experience, it just won't get out of my head.

    Every year my pasture fence lines are smothered by blackberry canes, honeysuckle, grass and other green monsters. It is a never ending battle with the weed eater, swing blade and sometimes when it gets really bad I resort to spraying.
    I have gotten this idea of a 'goat tractor'. Made out of cattle panels. Perhaps 16' x8' - with a shade/shelter at one end. "Windows" cut out of one side to allow them to reach out. It would sit right on the fence line and be moved every day to the next section. The idea would be to get a couple of the small breed (polled) goats to be my 'fence workers'. I'd want to train them to follow me out in the mornings (with feed?) where they'd spend the day in the pen cleaning a 16' section of fence down to the ground. Then back to the barn at night for safety's sake.
    Is this even a feasible thing???? Is this a crazy idea??? Can goats be kept like this and be happy?? I figure that the fence cleanup would be ongoing from June-October, outside of that I would need some other accommodations...
    I have a cow now and had horses for decades - so am not new to 'livestock'. I borrowed a couple of goats several years ago for a few months to clear an area in the yard. It was a BAD experience with the goats spending most of their time either loose & eating what they were not supposed to or stuck by the horns in the fence. I hear all the time of folks who say their goats are a joy to have and who love them dearly - so I'm pretty sure my first 'go-round' was not typical of goat keeping.

    I'm TOTALLY open to opinions - educate me :)
     
  2. Apr 9, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    Cane, I spent a lot of time dreaming of when we could escape town and move. I researched goats and sheep, finally settling on hair sheep because they had less escape issues and no shearing for the wool. If you will remember my pasture cleaning thread, where we had walls of briars that went 20' high, the sheep were instrumental in helping to clean that up. They ate up as far as they could, which opened up the bottom so we could see where to chop the vines.

    https://www.backyardherds.com/threads/i-hate-green-briars.33715/

    Your pasture doesn't sound nearly this bad, a few sheep or goats could clean it right up for you.

    I had a friend that used goats and cowpanels to do just what you described. It does work. What type fence do you have up now? Is it strands of barbed wire, field fencing, sheep/goat wire? Could you attack cow panels to it or will you have to run cow panels along side of the fence?

    You could buy several young wethers (hair sheep or goats) and use them as fence cleaners all summer, butcher in the fall. Clean up the fence, brush and such, raise meat for the freezer. Win-Win.
     
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  3. Apr 9, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    And don't cut windows out of a cow panel. You will only be aiding and abetting their escape. The 6x6 holes are just big enough for their heads, not their body.
     
  4. Apr 9, 2018
    canesisters

    canesisters Ridin' The Range

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    Right now my perimeter fence is 3 strands of electric wire. My cow is GREAT at not challenging the fence so I would just turn it off when the goats (or sheep) were working.

    I was thinking that if I cut windows (take out a few cross's making a row of a few 12x12 openings) that they could reach farther? Bad idea?

    It actually was your thread about the briers that got this idea running around in my head again. :D
     
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  5. Apr 9, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    6x6=good 12x12=bad pick one. :lol:

    Maybe you could clean up the fence row and put up a permanent fence that would contain small livestock. The sheep/goat wire has 4x4 woven wire and then occasionally you could do the cow panel clean up and pack the workers off to freezer camp.
     
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  6. Apr 9, 2018
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

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    I think the tractor idea is pretty neat. No need for larger holes... they'll move their heads to the proper height hole to reach the food and they can stretch out a good 12-18" horizontally. Just move the panels along the fence line and let them do their thing. You will need to make provisions for water of course. Sheep will browse as well as graze but goats prefer browse to graze (grass). Either will make nice freezer fare at the end of the fall. I'd recommend a couple of wethers as they are fairly cheap and available. I'd also recommend meat goats vice dairy (you aren't wanting milk but may want meat). If you did the tractor 2 cattle panels long (32 feet) and one panel wide (16 feet) you could clear 32' of fence line every couple of days.
     
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