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Number of Boer goats on 50x50m managed grazing

 
Stephen Gibberd
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Hello,

I have land, which I've left for regrow for 5 years. The previous grass pasture is now full of tea trees, small eucalypts, some lantana, wattles and other woody shrubs. I hope to use boer goats to reduce fire risks instead of burning off. What would be the maximum number of adult boer goats that I could keep in a mobile 50x50m electric fence area for a week with such feed? There are 10+ 50x50m areas I can rotate them to each week.

paddock4.png
[Thumbnail for paddock4.png]
Example forage
 
R Hasting
Posts: 183
Location: Mineola, Texas
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Stephen Gibberd wrote:Hello,

I have land, which I've left for regrow for 5 years. The previous grass pasture is now full of tea trees, small eucalypts, some lantana, wattles and other woody shrubs. I hope to use boer goats to reduce fire risks instead of burning off. What would be the maximum number of adult boer goats that I could keep in a mobile 50x50m electric fence area for a week with such feed? There are 10+ 50x50m areas I can rotate them to each week.



Don't take this for gospel, but it depends.

With as much growth as you have, you might put 20 goats into the system and when you have control of the situation, you may need to knock that back, or find that it needs more goats.
It will depend upon your observation.
 
mick mclaughlin
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I would say 20 total, adults and kids. I will be interested in how the electric net fence works for ya.
 
Katy Whitby-last
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Location: North East Scotland
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forest garden goat trees
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It depends if you are intending to keep them or just use them for clearing the 10 areas and then slaughtering. 50m by 50m is pretty small and too many animals in such a small area will be stressed as they won't be able to get away from the ones that bully them. Personally I wouldn't keep more than 2 or 3 in such a small area.
 
R Hasting
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Katy Whitby-last wrote:It depends if you are intending to keep them or just use them for clearing the 10 areas and then slaughtering. 50m by 50m is pretty small and too many animals in such a small area will be stressed as they won't be able to get away from the ones that bully them. Personally I wouldn't keep more than 2 or 3 in such a small area.


A 50MX50M paddock, where the animals are moved once a week is way too much for 3 goats. I currently run 16 sheep on less than half this area (50MX50MX50M equilateral triangle), and I shift them weekly, and I need more sheep.

A 50MX50M paddock is more than half the size of a football field at .6+ acres. I think that Katy must have thought you meant fifty feet by fifty feet. And I would definitely agree with having just a handful of goats on that size.

Not, you need to make sure that the goats don't have anything that they can launch off of to jump over the fence. So you should probably cut a clear lane by hand (which will not be easy) or tractor, to make that possible.

You might want to add some Dorper sheep as well as the boers. They browse well and are very low maintenance.

Richard
 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
Location: North East Scotland
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forest garden goat trees
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I didn't mistake feet for metres. Goats are very different from sheep. If it was sheep I would agree a higher stocking density would be appropriate but not for goats.
 
R Hasting
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Katy Whitby-last wrote:I didn't mistake feet for metres. Goats are very different from sheep. If it was sheep I would agree a higher stocking density would be appropriate but not for goats.


But Katy they don't eat more than sheep. And two or three goats would not be able to clear that property if they were ever rotated. If you have a goat that causes too much stress on the other goats. get rid of him.
If one or two of them are being run around the pen because they are not liked by the rest. eat them. This is a part of herd management to get the genetics right. Get rid of your problem animals. period.
I have never raised goats, but I have observed them over hours on many occasions. I would run one buck, and the rest does. In addition, I do not think that two or three goats is worth your time or the money you would spend on the electro netting itself.

In addition, this property is subtropical which looks so fertile, you are literally having to fight off the jungle. 3 goats would actually fall behind on the 2500 sq m paddock during the rainy season.

I am sure that Katy's knowledge is valid. I am pretty sure that my knowledge is valid. There is a difference in experience, and there is no real "right" answer, just a difference of opinion. Katy's solution to an aggressive buck is to give him more room.
My solution is to retire that old goat to the dinner table. Katy may disapprove. But if you want the land cleared, which is your stated goal, you are going to have to get started with some animals, observe the results, and adjust the numbers.

Even Katy will likely admit that 3 goats won't do much to a paddock that size in a week.

You could also, combine sheep and goats, and I like hair sheep, not wool. The ewes are very docile. in this way, the sheep will concentrate on the grass, the goats on the browse and you get double your functions.

Everyone told me to start "small" like two or three. If I followed their advice I wouldn't have the grass clearing capacity I have now, and even that is not enough. I am looking at adding 20 more 3 month lambs to the system.

But you have to listen to all of what all of us say, and make that determination for yourself. Katy has a good point. I think I have a good point. But you have to decide.

Let us know what you do, how you did it, and what the results are.

oh, one more thing, make it a really really hot fence. I keep mine at 8000 volts. with a 3 Joule A/C charger. It has a nice kick even with rubber soled shoes on. I can only imagine the kind of out of body experience involved when there is no insulator involved.
Remember the fence is there to be a psychological barrier. Goats (and pigs) will test it. Give them a reason not to.

I do not have power, so I built a portable charging station, which keeps a 48 AH 12v AGM deep cycle battery charged, and then plug in a 300 watt inverter into that. The solar panel is 50 watts. and the solar charge controller is 10 amps. If you can be cloudy for more than a week at a time, I would get a 100 watt panel instead. I took the fan out of my inverter. It was using .12 amps, and the whole thing runs at .6 amps, so it never gets warm enough for the fan, and I didn't want almost 25 % of my power going to a fan

I haven't seen anybody else do this, so I might do a video on it.

If you are interested, there are photos at the bottom of this post... http://www.permies.com/t/34283/goats/farmer-goats-sheep


Good luck.
 
Stephen Gibberd
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Thanks for your answers. I'm not sure about the effectiveness about the electric fencing - having the goats escape could be disastrous. I'll try to put up a stronger high perimeter fence first.
 
R Hasting
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Location: Mineola, Texas
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Stephen Gibberd wrote:Thanks for your answers. I'm not sure about the effectiveness about the electric fencing - having the goats escape could be disastrous. I'll try to put up a stronger high perimeter fence first.


Depends of a lot of factors, and cost can be one of those. Electric netting can run about $1 per foot. a double Hog Panel is at least four times as much, and isn't nearly as portable.

Electro netting in my situation seems to be very effective.
The ultimate solution would be a high perimeter fence exterior, and an electronet padddock.

 
Alder Burns
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One good way to train goats, and any other critters for that matter, to respect electric fence is to bait it. Hang tags of aluminium foil on the wires every few feet, at nose height of the animal in question, with a swab of something yummy on it (peanut butter is the default, since most animals love it!). They will give it a good lick and get a REALLY good shock! As a deterrent for deer, they won't be back for months. I have used this to get goats to mind a single strand of wire.....
 
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