Grazing question

HerbalMama

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I'm planning to put some goats out on some pasture that has been ungrazed for 5+ years. Could I just turn them loose out there or should I go and plant some things like clover beforehand? Ideally, I'll be practicing rotational grazing, but the fencing for that is costly so the whole pasture (4+acres) will be open until my ideal system is able to be implemented. Are there any plants I need to keep an eye out for that might A) cause problems for my goats and B) pass on some toxicity to us through their milk (think milk fever like Lincoln's mother)? How often should I deworm and with what? I prefer herbs over chemicals, with the latter being the choice for out of control issues.
 

Hens and Roos

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Welcome :frowglad you joined us, lots of great people and information here!

Is there an ag extension office near your location that you could speak with or have them come and look at your pasture to help you determine what is there as far as plants?

You can do a google search and get information on potential problem plants to watch out for, there are some very detailed sites out there. Some of these sites also touch on deworming. We check our goats fecal samples for worms and deworm as needed.

I'll tag some others who might have some suggestions for you too.
@B&B Happy goats @OneFineAcre @Southern by choice @Goat Whisperer @Baymule @Mike CHS @Devonviolet
 

Baymule

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What to worm with and how often depends on your parasite load. Herbals are great, but for the most part, don’t work so well. I am as organic as I can be, but at some point the overall health of the animal is more important than my organic ideals.

If there is plenty of graze, the goats will select what they like first, leaving what they don’t like. Take pictures of plants that you don’t recognize. Look up toxic plants for your state and compare. Goats are mostly browsers, eating from shoulder level up, not so much on grazing.
 

Southern by choice

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Have the extension services come out and look at the land so you can see what may be a problem.
If using herbals PLEASE learn to do your own fecals using the McMasters method. I have several articles on how to do the fecals under articles, there are 3 links.
The biggest issue with herbals not being efficient is because there is a false sense of security and people do not do fecals along with FAMACHA. This is critical.
Also I would recommend Fir Meadows and/or Land of Havilah for your herbals.
NEVER wait til load is so high that you have to use a chemical dewormer. Keep a good healthy balance. Waiting til its almost too late will quite often end in a dead goat.
Copper Bolus and adequate minerals are also necessary.
 

HerbalMama

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Thanks for the replies. As far as toxicity being passed on through the goats milk is that a likely scenario or am I over thinking it? I know white snakeroot is the plant responsible for killing Lincoln's mother. I don't think that grows on my side of Texas; I believe it's on the rangelands though, west Texas. Basically, what I'm desiring to know is if my goat's milk could poison me or my family in any way if I allow them to clean brush?
 

rachels.haven

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No, I think there's an issue with bracken fern and probably similar issues floating around I'm missing. Lincoln's mother's issue may have involved a cow, and goats may be different, but I don't know for sure, and I now there are still little things out there you need to watch for. I'd go on a long walk and do a sweep of the pasture before turning out (and destroy the snake root, butter cup, bracken fern, and anything else I'm missing). That would probably put your mind at ease most.
Get to know your pasture's and area's plants is probably the best anyone can tell you.
 

Mini Horses

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MOST undesireables are not eaten by goats. they are nibble and go browsers. Can they eat something bad? YES!! Do they? most often not. Generally the taste is not desireable. And being "nibble & go" they most often do not eat enough to be an issue. "generally, most often, etc." same with the milk...generally doesn't go thru to you.

We can't be 100%. Suggestion to have AG come out is good. Walk with pictures of KNOWN problem plants. Really, it's the best we can do. Yeah, I have 17 goats!! All dairy. I drink it raw. :D
 
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