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Thinking about running goats

Discussion in 'Everything Else Goats' started by wynn4578, Feb 1, 2019.

  1. Feb 1, 2019
    wynn4578

    wynn4578 Chillin' with the herd

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    i have 20 acres that we used to keep horses on but sold them about 10 years ago. I’ve been thinking about starting a small herd of goats and I’m currently in the research phase since I’ve never had more than a couple of ‘farm hands’.

    So to start my first question(s) is perimeter fence - I have several roll of 48” red top fence. Would this make a good perimeter fence?

    Also of the 20 acres about 12 to 14 is pasture and 1 is homestead and the rest is wooded. The ground is sandy and the grass is mixed (weed, prairie grass, and Bermuda) any idea how many goats I could sustainably run? I may call the ag dept and see about having it sampled for a better picture. Finally (for now) should I break it into smaller pastures and rotate or run as multiple small herds?

    I don’t plan on going full scale this year, would rather start with just a few and learn before diving in but I’m trying to get a picture of where I want my operation to stand and what my capacity would be.

    1 more question, I know a guy that raises boers for show and I’m going to visit with him tomorrow but since I’m not showing I’ve read that running cross does and a good boer buck would likely be my best bet any thoughts on this?
     
  2. Feb 2, 2019
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

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    Ummm first, what is the desired goal of running these goats? pasture control? dairy? sales? meat? lawn ornaments? Where are you located? That could have a bearing on what breeds might be better for you. There are lots of different "Red Top" fences... for goats, you're best with min 4"x4"x48" woven wire fencing. If you plan on breeding and having kids, they can and will walk right through a 4x4 opening, so you'd need to have 4"x2"x48" woven wire around the area where the kidding will happen and the kids will be kept when young. Goats are primarily browsers, not grazers. They prefer bark, leaves, tree limb buds, woody weeds, etc. If you want grazers, you'd be better off with sheep. Sheep will also most likely provide you a better sales market for meat. There's lots of info here in the threads on both species.

    I'd suggest you contact your county extension office and ask them to help you evaluate your pasture to see what's really there, what the bio mass is, how it may be improved, what the carrying capacity is, etc. They can really be a huge help if you're lucky to have a good one. 12-14 acres of "pasture" will support a lot of goats/sheep. Most folks would probably say get the perimeter fencing done first around the pasture area, then break the internal pasture down into smaller pastures you can rotate the animals through to help control parasites. It also gives each pasture time to recover after being grazed. Keep in mind that you'll probably STILL have to mow the pastures as the animals will eat their favorite foods first and leave the rest.

    Good luck! Hope you see success and share your journey.
     
  3. Feb 3, 2019
    wynn4578

    wynn4578 Chillin' with the herd

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    thanks For the response. I’m sure I’ll have a ton more questions before I even put a goat on my place but for now what you’ve given me is enough to get started preparing.