I've seen things online about portable goats for brush control. Is this able to be a full time lifestyle for the goats or do they have to have a home range where they go back to graze? Are there only areas that offer land for goats if the goats are for hire to be weedeaters? Would this technique work for dairy goats or only meat breeds (the few articles I've seen looked mostly like Boer goats)? Or is there any public land where you can graze livestock? If there is public land where you can graze livestock, who controls it and how is it regulated? Where can you find this type of land? What type of paperwork would each goat need to go across state lines? Is it possible to meet the standards needed organically?
I have seen "rental livestock" live and in the news, both around Chicago and in CA. But I believe it's very rare. Since I have personally seen "contract" sheep and goats as well as dogs, I know people do that. But I have never come across working animals more than once or twice every 5+ years. Not common at all and that makes me think it requires a home base and a particular defined geographic area.
You're asking, in essence, about a business plan, market saturation, operational realities - that kind of hard core nuts/bolts. I think. Perhaps the best approach might be to treat it like business research and try to ferret out existing contractors and see if they would share. One approach would be to imagine yourself as a customer and try to follow those channels. But big commercial ranches may not be helpful. Their biz model is heavy and complex enough that incorporating a small scale contract operation would just not be worth it to them. Ag schools might be one place people would have heard or know. Ads in the local craigslist or campus forums might be worth a try.
You might try to contacting Travis Johnson here by PM for his thoughts. He has strong opinions, but he's done a lot of farming (and everything else). He's not a big corporation and he made sheep work for him for many years. I mean work as a paying business, starting from not much. Now that's not directly to your question, but... He thinks out of the box and generally just has a lot experience getting things done. But I haven't seen him posting lately so it may be that he's gotten real busy with "stuff". Worth "talking" to if you can reach him, though.
Another idea might be to contact golf courses or other likely entities which could have been customers. For some reason I suspect urban areas may be easier to find something...
I think you need to talk with people who have/are doing that business if you hope to get good info. It's possible you may need to cast a very wide net, but, at least 6-7 years ago there were rental sheep around Chicago (or Lake Geneva - I really can't remember where I saw them) so I'm guessing there are some people doing it somewhere. If you find a sheep person, they might have info on a goat person.
Or maybe somebody here's going to chime in with just what you need! But I think it will help _greatly_ to approach it as a business proposition in order to give yourself the hard headed attitude that the operation will require to succeed.
I've seen it in a couple places, this one may not be the same company I saw originally but it is the same idea.
https://www.getmygoatscapecod.com/ Some older references can be found here
https://www.dirtdoctor.com/garden/Goats-Clearing-Brush-Poison-Ivy_vq2629.htm You may be able to contact them and talk to them about specifics. I also found another article saying that Amazon was offering goat services in the Seattle area, not sure about that. Because I'm out of the region Amazon does not give me reliable results when I search. I also remember reading about them being used in a national monument in the DC area, I wish I could remember where.
They seem to be best known for clearing poison ivy, so that might help you search.
As for state lines, no idea. I know for purchasing/general transport of livestock you need to have ear tags and a vet certificate (not sure if that varies from state to state too, probably), but in terms of working things may be totally different.
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
posted 7 months ago
> amazon search not so good
If you haven't already, it can be worth letting Google squeeze and wring out a site for you. For example, place "site:amazon.com" at the beginning of the search box and, after a space for separation, add the terms you think would get your results. Google will search that specific site only, using your search terms. The "site:" keyword can be repeated multiple times in the same search box to include additional sites.
Thank you, Rufus. (i probably should have said: Amazon and I have history and don't get along. To the point that I don't even like to give them clicks. I also live in a place where Amazon only started shipping this year, and I have no intention of ever using it. Yes, I am grumpy old fart, it's official.)
Your tip, BTW, is IMHO the best way of searching permies.
Public land in Montana and Wyoming (not sure about other western states) is considered open range for livestock. It's managed principally through the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, although there may be other state and federal agencies involved in other parcels. My (limited) understanding is livestock operators pay an annual lease grazing rights, and there's a cap on the number of animals which can be grazed within a given area. Both states have several designated ports of entry where I assume incoming livestock would be inspected/evaluated- but my knowledge on the subject is far from complete. I just know it's a little surreal to round a corner in the middle of nowhere and come across 300 sheep and a half-dozen Great Pyrenees 30+ miles from the nearest from the nearest house or ranch .
Absolutely. In Joel Salatin's latest PIDS, I learned that there was a Peruvian family, in California, that was grazing interstate medians and grassy patches near bridges. They were living in a camper and sleeping right next to their flocks. Here's an example of a super easy rotational grazing plan.
Today .....I am not sure. In the early 1960s and prior there was an old gentleman who wandered the woods of western Franklin County in southern Illinois with his herd of goats. Yes farmers used him for clearing brush.
"Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from bad decisions." ... Mark Twain
This. Exactly this. This is what my therapist has been talking about. And now with a tiny ad: