Naturally life would be so much simpler if they would just browse in the woods 30 feet to the left. They act like I it's fenced off and they can't get in.
don't think I would want to add that much complication for eight goats but I would like to see it done. I tend to be lazy and just throw there gate open while I drink a cup of coffee. I do remind them on the way out to leave my apple trees alone. Works about as well as talking to my kids. In hindsight I guess I should have stuck to gardening and fruit trees. I guess I'm committed now with goats and kids!
Thanks for reminding about Sepp's bone sauce, although it is mentioned for deterring deer, perhaps it'd also work for other animals?
I guess overall it's a risky endeavor to attempt. Perhaps if goats were allowed to graze on the edges of a mature food forest, things would be ok?
What I mean is, have a paddock shift system in which one side of electro-netting was up next to the edge of the forest, so that the goats could browse from the overhang.
...But then I wonder if that would encourage entanglement with the electro-netting, both animals & vegetation.
Hmm, maybe it is just a crazy idea after all as it sounds too complicated to pull off successfully. Interesting anyways.
They would rather east grass and forbs than trees.
Of course, if they wander across a tender fruit tree they'll happily snip the top off and helpfully remove the leaves. Argh.
This is all because apparently these Nigerian dwarfs can't read. Because the stuff I read said they won't jump a 4-foot fence.
Yeah right. Unless they're bored, hungry, or want to get out. The kids especially, but even a big doe jumps it.
Well, it's probably due to me being a bad owner, and not having proper infrastructure. Like a 10-foot concrete wall.
I'd like to do free-range, but they're too destructive. I'd also like to do paddock-shift rotational grazing, but don't have the infrastructure.
And electric net fencing doesn't work too well here. Sandy soil with sagebrush and lumps and bumps, not the flat grassy fields like in the Premier catalogs.
Jason: Have you seen the GeoffLawton.com video about reforesting with goats? Basically they keep down the brushy "weed" trees, so you can grow productive stuff.
I think the trick would be not leaving them in an area too long, and really protecting the trees you want to save.
It would not be correct for a zone 1 food forest, but maybe for a zone 2 or 3 where it's not so close to the dwelling.
I know the goats that live on my land (ha! see, they're not MY goats) are too close to the house.
Good luck. Maybe you'll be the pioneer in goat-integrated food forestry!
Jerry Evans wrote:Interesting fencing issues. I have had my Nigerians about four years and have never had one jump or climb my 48" fencing. I know pigmies will jump and climb but my Nigerians haven't.
Thanks for being diplomatic!
After 2 years owning them, they just started doing it a few months ago. One doeling did it, and taught the others how. Now everyone who can, jumps the fence.
Apparently the grass is greener over the fence.
The biggest doe that can jump it catches her back feet on the fence, but it's electric net and flexes.
I know the fence is working properly. It even hurts me, and I have on rubber boots!
I'm going to have to sell them. It's not worth it to get the trees destroyed.
I am considering selling mine too. I definitely would if they started getting out. My fencing is hard wire netting with very little give to it. I can wrap my trees with the same material but it just looks like crap. When I look at adding a thousand dollars of trees each fall. My goats may end up having to go.
Now, don't get me started about the six, 3-year-old apple trees they killed! I gained all my fencing knowledge through a lot of sweat and tears!
Deborah Niemann wrote:Now, don't get me started about the six, 3-year-old apple trees they killed! I gained all my fencing knowledge through a lot of sweat and tears!
Absolutely!!! If you keep goats you MUST be prepared to lose plants you wanted to keep. They are going to get into your raspberry patch and put a hurting' on it at some point. If you can't handle losing some plants, goats might be a bad choice. Thats being said, we double/triple fence. Not only are our goats fenced, but that section of the farm is also fenced, and our plant nursery and annual garden are fenced too. Sounds like a lot of fence, but if a goat has to get through/over 4 fences to get to my orchard, so does a deer
Kurt Stailey wrote:Sounds like a lot of fence, but if a goat has to get through/over 4 fences to get to my orchard, so does a deer
Ok, you sold me on cows. It does seem weird that it's easier to fence cows than goats. One string of electric! One! And they're 8-10 times bigger! (but not perfect, I know. Had this discussion with the wife...)
Yes, Kurt, I agree, I think properly harnessing their natural habits, and contained they are a productive helpful element.
Just not for me at this point.
But it does bother me to lose plants. I think about the potential production of that tree over its lifetime, cut short by (and compared to) the single bite of a goat. Ugh.
Deborah Biemann wrote:Now, don't get me started about the six, 3-year-old apple trees they killed! I gained all my fencing knowledge through a lot of sweat and tears!
Oh, I've seen this too, just not as bad. I had 200 1-year-old fruit bushes that they nipped the tops off about half of them. Proper goat-tight (high if necessary) fences are so important!
Here is the fence we use, in one of our food forest areas:
Very minimal, easy to maintain, cheap to build, and for us has worked fine.
Only if they're very well managed should one risk having them near anything you want to keep. Sounds like a fire which could easily get out of control!
I guess I'm not experienced enough to take on the challenge of goats yet. Interesting to hear everyone's advice & experiences however!
Hope you have continued success Kurt.
Jonathan; Not sure why Mollison would list goats as incompatible in permaculture. I certainly would not put them in a young forest area because they would wreck the smaller trees. But we run them often in established forest areas and they do nothing but good that I have seen. I don't want to make it sound like I haven't wanted to shoot them in the past, but since we got our fencing lined out they very rarely escape and cause havoc.