I am on the planning stages of the metal mountain compound, a spot of 7.6 acres in the AR ozarks.
I have been reading 'Edible Forest Gardens' by David Jacke, and I have decided that a simple rotating mosaic with a milk goats is the long-term way for me to go. I would break the plot up into sections smaller than an acre, and timber them.
This year I would timber a southern acre, then I would build fence posts and a goat house for that section, and let the land grow up into scrub. In the spring I would get some goats to roll through and clear the acre, and I'm hoping that two goats could subsist on an acre of dense scrub alone, without me buying supplemental feed. I have a permanent liquidity problem. Late fall I would plant seeds for fruittrees, a thorny hedge, and lots of ground cover for goat forage.
The following winter I would timber the next acre, put in fence posts and move the goats into it. I would build a new house for them and gussy up the previous goat house for my own needs. That way I am living in the garden and the goats are clearing the next patch. I have opened up the canopy for the fruit trees that are growing up in the garden, and for the scrub that is growing in the next patch.
Each year the goats are eating scrub in a patch that I timbered the year before, the patch that they ate up last year has been mowed and manured by them and it is in the young stage of a forest garden. The next patch has been timbered and the infrastructure is going in for the goats.
Want to see some pictures?
The Web soil survey puts me in a non-irrigated capability class of 3, 4, 6, and 7. Strange, though, the lushest bottom land, near the seasonal creek, is rated a 7 while the compacted ridge land, with red clay an inch below the surface, is rated a 3. Even the near-barren rock mound is rated a 3. I wonder if those soil surveys are really relevant to permies.
QUESTIONS: can the goats get by with just scrub, and very minimal supplementation? I have seen goats eat pine needles, I wonder if there are any evergreen forages I could have ready for them.
How many goats, and how many years apart should the patches be? Ideally, when this system is at a mature stage, I would have woody orchard, field, and thicket in the process of growing up toward a mature food forest. There would be aisles for the goats, with thorny barriers, throughout to make sure light can cut through to the fruit trees. ..... naturally if I did the patches one year apart they would all rach maturity at around the same time.
How many goats can live on a scrubby acre, with minimal supplementation?
Looks like a good plan! I think it's very likely 2 goats can live on an acre of brush in your location. Do you have a way of providing them with drinking water? Plans for winter feeding when brush will be dormant? You might want to plan for a permanent fenced laneway so you can move the goats back to a previous patch after several years, when your food forest trees have matured some.
I found the map of Zaytuna Farm helpful in envisioning a laneway throughout the landscape allowing convenient movement of goats and cattle. Main problem is it looks expensive.
I have 6 goats, 3 Kikos does, 1 Nubian buck and two milk breed cross brush wethers. I don't think they could go a year on 6 acres. Why not hold off until year two for the goats unless there is other brush available to browse?
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