I have a 1/4 acre fenced in with field fencing in Lancaster County Pennsylvania that currently holds a dozen Black Austrolorp chickens and two Emden geese. I once had 18 Embden geese in there for a summer and that was a major mistake. The geese selectively ate most of the grass down and wild violets thickly took over 90% of the area. Long term, I would like to raise a trio of small goats in there. However my major concern is getting rid of the thick wild violet cover. Will not use any type of herbicide because we eat the chickens' eggs and I don't want anything getting in the eggs. I have tried a weedburner, but went through three 20-Lb propane tanks to burn out a 45 foot x 12 foot area. Not cost-effective. And now the wild violets' roots have started re-growing there. So as a last resort I want to try goats or sheep to deliberately eat all of the wild violets down to zero. A temporary moonscape is acceptable. I don't care about wild violet jelly or tea. The only way I could be talked into letting them stay is if I could download a PDF file showing that they were a practical way to be the main protein source for goats, as in 15%+. Advice please?
I looked up info on violets. One site says they are toxic, the next says how good they are. Go figure. I have had violets in pastures before and no livestock died from them. If you put the goats in with the violets, keep free choice hay in front of them and they should be alright. However, if you REALLY want the violets gone, get a couple of feeder pigs and raise them in the violet pasture. The pigs will root them up, eat them and they will be gone, gone, gone. I currently have 4 pigs in a green briar infested 1/2 acre pasture (it has trees too) and they ate the vines, rooted up the bulbous roots and have effectively destroyed a lot of them. They have turned every square inch of dirt. It will be easy to get the rest of them out after the pigs are slaughtered. Then will come a planting of various grasses, weeds, clovers and herbs. The field will lie fallow until next spring before I put my sheep on it.