No herd yet, but I do have 5 acres of poison oak

fat brown hen

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Hello, I'm new here. I joined because my poison oak situation is really stressing me out. I live on a wooded oak lot, on a steep slope, with poison oak basically filling in the understory. Right now, I spend about $3000 every other year to have a tree service come and cut back the poison oak nearest the house. (It would cost $4000-$5000 if we hired goats -- I checked!). In addition, I spend a few hours per week trimming back what I can reach. BUT I'm highly sensitive to urushiol and often end up covered in rashes no matter how careful I am.

There is SO. MUCH. POISON. OAK.

Is it time to get a goat? Or a donkey? Cow? I don't know anything about ungulates, but I'm getting desperate here. If the best solution is to hire a human with a weedwacker, I'll consider that too.

I have 20 chickens in an electrified pen with automatic door and 5 gallon feeders and waterers. I can leave for a week and they'll take care of themselves just fine. Is this possible with [insert ungulate species here]?

My ideal solution would be to have a wireless fence (like the one for dogs) and move the boundary around as the animals eat poison oak. Am I dreaming?

Thanks in advance!
 

Baymule

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If you put any kind of animal on your property there must be a good stout fence on the outer parameter. Wireless fence is a no-go. Goats or sheep need protection from predators, so that means a livestock guard dog. Leaving them for a week is not recommended. Livestock means a barn or 3 sided shelter.

Where do you live, what predators do you have?

Your best bet may be to spray the poison oak to kill it. And it could come back from the roots the following year. Probably not as much, then spray it again.

What are your plans for this land? What are your goals for it?
 

fat brown hen

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If you put any kind of animal on your property there must be a good stout fence on the outer parameter. Wireless fence is a no-go. Goats or sheep need protection from predators, so that means a livestock guard dog. Leaving them for a week is not recommended. Livestock means a barn or 3 sided shelter.

Where do you live, what predators do you have?

Your best bet may be to spray the poison oak to kill it. And it could come back from the roots the following year. Probably not as much, then spray it again.

What are your plans for this land? What are your goals for it?
Predators are coyotes and bobcats. That's why I'm considering donkeys..

Running higih fence through all that poison oak is a daunting prospect (both financially and physically). I'm not opposed to it, but it seems as much work as removing all the brush by hand.

Spray is not an option on most of the property. The poison oak vines around oak trees, and I don't want to accidentally kill off the oaks.

I don't really have any plans for the land... mainly just keep it the way it is while regularly removing understory brush (I live in a high-risk wildfire area).
 

peteyfoozer

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Have you considered goats? You can get those portable electric fences from Premier one and a solar charger…
 

SageHill

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With the poison oak your best bet is to kill it off. It may take a few seasons but it’s better than yearly removal/weed whacking. I’ve found with some weeds that weed whacking only seems to encourage root growth - ugh making the weed to come back stronger and stronger.
As for using goats to rid yourself of the poison oak - goats are a huge commitment in care, protection and containment. If you’re not living there daily then I would not consider livestock. Having livestock is definitely a lifestyle. While most of the time it’s a pretty easy going thing, when things start to go south if you’re not on top of it right away things get ugly fast.
High fire risk, hillsides and the predators you mention are similar here in So Cal where I am.
 

Baymule

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You can spray with Grazon, it kills broad leaf weeds. Mix as directed. You would have to spray a LOT to kill a tree.

Got the vines that go up a tree, cut the vine and dip the cut end in the poison.

If you work on the poison oak, draw up a bath water with 1 cup of Clorox in it. Clorox will keep you from breaking out in the rash. It works for me!
 

fat brown hen

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With the poison oak your best bet is to kill it off. It may take a few seasons but it’s better than yearly removal/weed whacking. I’ve found with some weeds that weed whacking only seems to encourage root growth - ugh making the weed to come back stronger and stronger.
That's the goal, but it's tough. The tree service that I hire cuts it down to the ground, and then pours Roundup (?) on the stump. It creeps back from surrounding areas. We really have a lot...

As for using goats to rid yourself of the poison oak - goats are a huge commitment in care, protection and containment. If you’re not living there daily then I would not consider livestock. Having livestock is definitely a lifestyle. While most of the time it’s a pretty easy going thing, when things start to go south if you’re not on top of it right away things get ugly fast.
Ah yes, that's what I was afraid of. I am living here daily, but I want less work, not more (ie, if goats are more work than cutting the poison oak myself, then no goats for me)

High fire risk, hillsides and the predators you mention are similar here in So Cal where I am.
Central california here... hello, neighbor!
 

SageHill

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That's the goal, but it's tough. The tree service that I hire cuts it down to the ground, and then pours Roundup (?) on the stump. It creeps back from surrounding areas. We really have a lot...


Ah yes, that's what I was afraid of. I am living here daily, but I want less work, not more (ie, if goats are more work than cutting the poison oak myself, then no goats for me)


Central california here... hello, neighbor!
Central Cal - practically neighbors 😉! I’ve got dear friends up in Paicines.
 
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