Trees and Goats

Amaggio

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Hi all, I'm planning my property for when I buy goats (hopefully next year). I'm planning on using a two pasture rotation method but the area I'm planning on using is without shade. I'm thinking of planting some trees but want to use something the goats could eat. I have a lot of Junipers on the property so I'm trying to keep them away from those because I've heard mixed things about Junipers. I've heard some people use Pine because it's an Evergreen but the goats can munch on the needles without issue. Anyone have suggestions on a good multipurpose shade/feed tree?
 

rachels.haven

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You won't have young trees in your field after a few weeks of having goats. They will kill them, even if they can't get their mouths around the trunks or reach branches they will peel the bark off and girdle them, especially if the trees are young. Very old trees might make it, especially if they have lots of space and trees to spread the abuse out on but they will all be damaged and some killed still. It's just what goats do. It might be better to build a few lean-to shelters of some sort-maybe A-frame, maybe a 3 sided shed. They won't be as pretty but should survive longer.
 

Amaggio

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I was planning on protecting the trees, likely with pallets or some kind of hardware cloth for fencing. I know some people who use fruit trees as their shade so the goats can eat the fruit that falls but I'm worried that my soil is too high in clay to sustain fruit trees. I have a small lot with a few I'm trying out now.
 

rachels.haven

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Good luck to you then. Pallets might work. They can be cheap too. Hardware cloth won't work, been there, done that, RIP magnolia tree. Just remember stone fruit are toxic.

Could a Willow work in your soil? It's not fruiting, but if my memory serves they can tolerate clay provided they get enough water. They can also grow fast for shade. Feel free to fact check that.
 

Amaggio

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I've been debating the willow tree. I read they can eat the leaves and willow bark tea works like asprin. I'll have to take a closer look at it.
 

CntryBoy777

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There are several varieties that can suit your purpose, depending on your location and what ya already have available to ya where ya live.....there are some that the goats will favor and will readily eat....they truly love sweet gum, live oak, and cedar....they do like sumac, but ya have to watch them with the amounts they may eat of it....some will tend to bloat on too much sumac.....if ya plant young trees, then ya surely need to protect them and I would have it so it could be expanded as the tree grows....if ya have no trees on your property, but know someone that does....ya can take your shovel and a carboard box and dig a few up and transplant them.....search them out now and mark them, then transplant as temps rise a bit in spring....that way the roots will make it thru winter without freezing....they don't need oak varieties with a large acorn....live oak and pin oak are both loved by them and any of those live in clay soil....I'm from Mississippi and they grow everywhere there....they also love vines, like honeysuckle, grape, green briars, and a host of others....ya can also find trees in river bottoms....not many are going to say much about getting some trees.....just be sure to check the toxic to goats list.....ya will see oaks on it, but it is referring to the larger acorn varieties....ohrs ate tons of live oak and never had any issue....sweet gum was by far their favorite....good tree hunting and keep us posted on how it is going....:)
...and :welcome
 

Baymule

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Since they can climb pallets to reach the branches, place the pallets or fence far enough out from the tree so that they can't reach the tree. My sheep have trimmed my apricot, pear and peach trees. If peach tree leaves are wilted, they can be toxic, same thing for cherry. I put a 10' long piece of non climb horse wire around my fruit trees, secured by T-posts. Then I watched the sheep climb the wire to reach the trees.
 

Amaggio

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Thank you for the responses! I just moved to the area last year so this is my first year seeing everything bloom and go through seasons. Trees line the property while a good portion of my 9.6 acres is tree-less. From what I can tell I have a few white pines, eastern red cedars(either that or juniper but pretty sure it's cedar), flowering dogwoods, eastern redbuds, pink mimosas among others I'm still identifying. As for common plants I see among the grasses I have black-eyed susans, two kinds of honeysuckle, what I think is partridge pea, patches of lilies, some purple prairie clover, red clover, and white clover, among many others.
 

Amaggio

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Since they can climb pallets to reach the branches, place the pallets or fence far enough out from the tree so that they can't reach the tree. My sheep have trimmed my apricot, pear and peach trees. If peach tree leaves are wilted, they can be toxic, same thing for cherry. I put a 10' long piece of non climb horse wire around my fruit trees, secured by T-posts. Then I watched the sheep climb the wire to reach the trees.
This seems like when you buy your kid a toy and they play with the box, only you're trying to keep them out and they'll do whatever they can to get in.
 

Mini Horses

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I once had a farm with an acre fenced -- full of various trees, vines, etc. Turned a dozen goats into it. Two weeks later, looked like I had paid a service to go in and clean out ALL weeds, vines, saplings, low branches and trim ALL leaves/branches to the height they could reach standing on their hind legs!!!:D

It was amazing! Took them to other areas before they got out the saws to cut trees so they could eat more leaves. :lol:

They will leave the very best pasture to eat a tree leaf. Current farm, all trees they can reach are trimmed up. I cannot let them near my fruit trees -- had 3 young apple trees and now only two. :( One rascal got loose and into the chicken area where I had planted them....plenty of other stuff to eat there but, wanted those young trees. She also trimmed up the other two :he

Yeah, goats see a tree as "a treat". They didn't malign the pine as badly. And a mature tree isn't anywhere near as appealing except for leaves. You planting young ones -- good luck!
 

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