Planting Pasture with Browse?

Sammbalina

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Hoping to get goats in the spring, and am wanting to plant our pasture with more browse than graze. we already have knee high grass wherever you look anyway, so we are good there. I am wanting more bushy type stuff and trees. I'm already planning on planting some apple and pear trees, and wrapping/fencing the trunks to protect them from the goats, and I am also planning on planting weeping willows which I read are a good browse for goats, but is there anything else that anyone can think of to plant? Oh, and we also have blackberry. It was apparently planted in rows in the middle of the property at one point and seeds were spread by wildlife and/or livestock, so it is now EVERYWHERE and where it was planted in rows is now mostly a bramble thicket!
 

CntryBoy777

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Mine didn't eat willow, but they do like blackbery leaves, honeysuckle, sweet gum leaves, muscadines, cedar, and many other plants, vines, bushes, and trees. I doubt ya will have to plant any around ya...cause it is probably all around ya already....I use to cut branches and small trees and put them in their fence.....it won't take long before they strip them bare....:).....something that will help ya in the fall/winter is to sow some pasture rye grass seed, it will provide some good green during the "off season" and cut feed cost during it...:)
 

Mini Horses

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:lol: You can wrap & fence those trunks all you want but, if they can reach a limb, they will pull it down and strip that of every leaf, then start on the tender bark. Dead trees! They gang up & help one another to reach, pull, eat. I know this -- goats here, few fruit trees. Put 3 in a 1/4 acre chicken pen. A young goat got in one day...now, 2 trees. :th They love those blackberry leaves...won't bother vines/stickers but, no leaves and the plant dies. Woods?? Great!! Every tree will be trimmed to height they can reach, all scrub gone. Like a park when they are done. Just letting you know --older trees generally make it, after their pruning. Young...dead.

OK -- throw out some things they like. I use the food plot mixes for the deer patches. Rotate fields to allow their browse but, plants to recover. Honeysuckle is a plant that can normally live even with EXTREME trimming. They love it. Brambles, all the wild stuff. dandelion, plaintain, comfrey -- they love and the deep roots allow the plant to recover if pastures can be rotated.

They will eat the grass but, will eat weeds first. Since you have good pasture, your browse may last longer.
 

Hipshot

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Don't know as I ever heard of anyone wanting to plant brush before .:hu I've spent half my life fighting It:gigHowever there are simple things like wild lettuce that spread like wild fire through good pasture . Goats love it . Fence in a small plot and plant some . It spreads seed like dandelions. is a perianal and once established is hard to kill . Dies back after it goes to seed late summer . Is so hardy it can be in your lawn and you not know it is there. Unless you go on vacation and don't cut the grass for a couple of weeks . Give you a buzz if you eat enough of it . Herbal companies sell wild lettuce tincture for pain relief . Always been just a weed to me. We tried to harvest some to make our own tincture this summer . The goats kept breaking in the yard and eating it .:barnie
 

Beekissed

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Autumn olive....invasive, grows just about anywhere and goats should love it. My hair sheep do...it's like dark chocolate for them. Smells pretty in the spring, has lovely berries, etc. Multiflora rose is another invasive that they love to nibble.

What you could do is rent out your goats to clear pasture of nearby places that are battling all these invasive shrubs and weeds....lots of folks renting out goats for that.
 

Sammbalina

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I just want to make sure they have a good variety. Plus, a youtuber I watch just lost his goats from worms, due to them being on too much pasture. Goats are less likely to get worms if they aren't on so much grass, as grass is where the little demons hide. Of course they had also been bred and raised on a dry lot, so I will also be taking that into consideration and make sure my goats come from a forested/pasture type location. But goats are made for browse, not graze, so that's what I want for them. Plus, the other livestock breeds I'm planning in the future do better in a forested type environment, like the Pineywoods cattle and Ossabaw island hogs.
 

Baymule

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How many acres do you have and will you be cross fencing it, dividing into pastures so you can rotate the livestock? If allowed to roam freely, they will soon eat everything up and you will be back to square one.

You can plant trees to pollard for forage.

You can also plant trees for coppice, that's where you cut them to the ground and they sprout back out.

Look around at what brush grows in your area. What about kudzu? I hear that goats love kudzu. Basically what you need is a renewable weed patch! My sheep love ragweed and lambs quarters. I have plans to make a cow panel "safe zone" to allow for those plants to grow to maturity, make seed and replenish the supply. The sheep will graze them to the ground, so I want to have an area where they can't eat the plants to nothing.
 

Sammbalina

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We have 17 acres, although about 2-3 acres are home, garden and orchard. My original plan was to put up permanent perimeter fencing, and moving them around the property with electric netting until we could put in permanent cross fence and lanes, but due to cost we may end up just adding paddocks as we need them/ until the property is completely fenced. We may also be adding another 20+ acres if our neighbor decides to sell, and her side of the pasture is even more barren, as it has about 12 horses roaming on it as well as her 17 other acres. If we do that I'm hoping that I can keep the goats off of it to thoroughly plant it with trees and brush and give everything time to get established before releasing them. I do actually have a huge packet of Lambs quarter seed that I plan on scattering over the property and I had also looked into hibiscus and roses as well, but growing hibiscus is a pain and of course mature plants are not cost effective! Those I may just give them cuttings and grow them in the front yard/garden. I like the kudzu, so I may try finding some and planting it along fence lines, and around nuisance trees, as we have a ton of those flowering pear trees with the giant thorns. My plan was to cut those down, as I read that goats don't like 'em and they apparently spread like wild fire, unless someone has had a different experience, I'll instead strip em and let some kudzu grow on them.
 

Baymule

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Keep the kudzu off the fence, keep your fence rows clean. If you let the kudzu run up the trees, the goats can't reach it. What about a cow panel trellis for it to run on? You could have rows of kudzu cow panels in each pasture.

Hibiscus are not hardy and make nice flower bed plants, but I don't think they would do well in a pasture. What about Marsh Mallow? It is a native, wild plant, it likes low marshy areas. You can also plant oregano, basil and thyme for them to eat. I have a big rosemary, but the sheep never touch it.

We fenced pastures too. We got one side fenced and made 2 pastures. We got the front fenced and set a 16' gate across the driveway, deep inset to accomodate a truck and trailer. We then fenced another pasture and the last we put up was the other fence line and across the back, we have 8 acres.

I kept a fencing thread, there was a good discussion. Some things we did right, some things we did not so right. So before you run out and do what I did, keep reading, people with vastly more experience than I weighed in with advice.

 

Mini Horses

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While goats do like kudzu & it's supposedly good protein wise, that plant will take over in the blink of an eye. Covers entire large trees. VERY invasive. If you follow one breed of animal behind another in the pasture rotations, you will cut the worm issues as the cattle, hogs & goats are not host to most of the same parasites. You will sometimes need to worm the goats, in all likelihood. They will seek out plants that provide both vit/min and those that help control the parasites. Pumpkin seeds, tobacco, garlic are all types of food that make worms want to leave that animals gut. But, while the parasites life cycle may be short as an adult, the eggs hatch and we start again.
Lessening the likelihood of re-infections, you can often get by with slight deworming needs. Some tree leaves have or form tannins and that also makes the gut less hospitable. If you have black walnut, get rid of it. Many animals have a toxic issue with them.

Another thing, most parasite issues are at the ground end of the grasses. So grazing a 6-10" pasture has less contamination that a 1-2" grazed over area. Horses are notorious for munching the very bottom of the grasses. This is another reason to rotate, rest and regrow. There is no perfect answer. We all do the best we can with what is available. This time of year, if you are in moderate to cold climate area, there will be little re-growth. Hay is your friend.

Cut the thorny trees. Even if they defoliate them, once dead you will need to cut them. Don't wait, let something else grow. Consider what is there and how it needs managed to use it best.
 

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