5 acres, steep with rocky outcrops.Actually, we may be overestimating the number of goats you need. How large is your property? Are we talking multiple acres? Or half acre steep landscape? If you need something for a steep half acre, you won't need many.
The requirement is 100' of clearance to a height of 6'. My dream is to create defensible space for everything upwind of the house (about 2 acres). If I can clear the entire property of brush that would be great, but not an imminent need.Also what is the fire clearance requirement in your town/county? If you only need them to clear the steep areas within that requirement, 2 might be all you need. (We suggest 2 because they are herd animals and 1 will be noisy calling for a friend.)
I've accepted that brush removal is an annual thing here, along with taxes and gophers. If the whole property was blackberry brambles, I could hit it with a weedwacker no sweat. But, there's a ton of poison oak mixed in and I am allergic, so it turns into an ordeal where I have to put on coveralls and long rubber gloves to snip the vines by hand. It's not a massive amount, but I find it dreadful and let things get out of control.Are you wanting to clear everything for fire danger or just the poison ivy/oak because you are allergic? If you are afraid of fire, remember that once you have paid someone to clear any later rain will cause regrowth. You will have to cut again.
Is that what sheep do? Clear the land to dirt? Over here, most stuff is mowed close to the ground. There's a remaining thatch-like structure for erosion control.I am in Los Angeles County and my fire requirement is 200' from all buildings and roads. Trees must be kept trimmed to a certain distance from the ground and above structures. We keep sheep because we are on very steep ground, like eating lamb, and enjoy keeping animals. (We have always had horses too.) We have kept most kinds of livestock, so this is not new to us. After 35 years of livestock keeping, we have the housing, fencing, and experience. We loved our goats, and they will browse weeds and brush. We went with the sheep because they eat EVERYTHING and our land is cleared to the dirt.
Fortunately we have not had anything hit quite so close to home (knock on wood), even though our location is classified as a Very High fire hazard zone by CalFire.This means that once there is no more forage, we have to buy and feed hay. We must trim any tree branches that hang over the roof. The trees on the ground are usually sheep cleared as high as they can reach. Dead wood, tree trunks/branches have to be removed since the sheep won't eat an entire dead tree once they have cleared all the leaves. Without our sheep we would be paying well over $6000 to clear the 200' requirement around the house and barn. We have 6 acres fenced but don;t have to cler that much. We clear it because we have the sheep and want to have a barren landscape for fire safety. Several years ago during the last firestorm season (when Paradise was destroyed) the Creek wildfire almost took out our property. 70 mph winds drove the fire over the surrounding hills until in a few minutes it reached our welded pipe fence and stopped dead. The sheep had left nothing for the fire to burn. The fire circled around our fence and the fire fighters were able to stage on our property and fight it back from neighbors' homes. We had to evacuate with all our animals for a week.
Is there something like a "gateway drug" for someone who isn't ready for commitment? Maybe even a couple of rabbits will eat poison oak.This is a decision you will have to make for yourself based on your time constraints, finances, and desire to involve yourself with animal keeping. Goats will do a great job for you, but they will require a $ outlay, and some time to care for them.