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deer plots for goats

 
Leah Sattler
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while I was browsing the feed store recently I was checking out some of the feeds designed for deer to see if it was more economical. I never noticed before that they sell 50lb bags of mixed seeds to plant as deer plots. Goats are more like deer than any other animal and I think it would be a simple way to create a nutritious, diverse browsing area for naturally raised herds. In the fall I will be tossing out some of this mix to see how well it tolerates browsing goats next year.
 
paul wheaton
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What's in it?  How much does it cost?  How much ground does it cover?

 
Leah Sattler
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There are quite a few to choose from. Here is an example
http://www.plotspike.com/foragefeast.htm

They have mixes for shade and sun and fast cover. I'm sure it would probably be more economical to buy seed and mix yourself but for small acreages that don't have large enough areas to plant to justify bulk purchase this is great option!
 
paul wheaton
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I think the stuff about the austrian winter pea is interesting. 

But ... I wonder if it might cause bloat - and thus kill your goats.
 
Leah Sattler
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There is no reason why it would cause bloat any more so than any other legume forage. Bloat is usually caused by overeating something the goat's rumen bugs aren't used to digesting. If your goats are used to foraging and eating a variety of browse they should handle it just fine. Now, if your goats have been eating nothing but grass hay and you turn them out on nothing but a pea feild than you might have trouble. The healthiest way to keep goats is to allow them to forage on a botanically diverse ample area. most of the problems associated with goats (and why some people have so much trouble with them) is improper managment techniques and over feeding of sacked grain products and underfeeding of forage products. They kill them with kindness.
 
paul wheaton
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And ... I've seen many a bloated animal where they had been eating the same stuff for over a month.

I guess all I'm saying is that ruminants eating legumes gives me worry.  There are, of course, some non bloating legumes like birdsfoot trefoil.
 
Leah Sattler
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"Bloat is very rare on grass-legume pastures when legumes constitute 50% or less of the available forage. "

http://overton.tamu.edu/clover/cool/utilization.htm



Everything in moderation. Legumes are an important feed stuff for high producing dairy animals particularly alfalfa. I of course have no direct experience with austrian pea but I would be willing to give it a shot. I want to clarify a bit, I don't want to make people shy away from legumes and end up turning to grain in an effort to increase production or maintain condition, which is sooooo much worse.  Some are a little more prone to cause bloat than others, alfalfa is one of them that is considered high risk but there are an awful lot of cows and goats  that rely on alfalfa.  If you have seen many a bloated animal than I would suspect there is something going on managment wise in addition to a legume forage. unless somebody is turning their animals out on nothing legume pasture or not allowing the rumen enough time to develop the ability to handle it. I feed dry alfalfa pellets which greatly reduces the chance of frothy bloat. there are all sorts of rules out there about how mcuh grain needs to be fed for milk production. my girl gives 3/4 - 1 gallon a day on 4lbs of alfalfa pellets and grass only and looks great!

It is important to note also to people new to goats that they naturally have the ability to consume large amounts of forage in a short period of time. Their rumen expands to accomodate it. Many people think that their goat is bloated when they just have a full rumen because of the amazing difference in size that can occur in a few short hours. Bloat is accompanied by serious distress, crying, thrashing etc. I'm not saying that this is neccessarily the case with the animals you have seen bloated but it often is with  new owners who let their goats out to graze and panic when they come back in looking like they swallowed a beach ball I had a goat that could fit through the fence in the morning and would gorge herself on honeysuckle and than couldn't get back in! she was happy as a clam and not bloated just "enlarged". brat.
 
The moth suit and wings road is much more exciting than taxes. Or this tiny ad:
The stocking stuffer game for all your Permaculture companions
http://www.FoodForestCardGame.com
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