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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've recently acquired 28 acres of land with nothing but overgrowth and trees. It was clear cut about 15 years ago so a lot of the trees are young except for a few patches. I'm in the process of fencing it all in for goat pasture with the idea of chunking away at it and letting the 30 goats I have (commercial Boer and some reg percentage) eat it down to eventually plant pasture. I'm thinking slow and steady but my father is going as fast as he can to clear it down to plant pasture. I have about 7 acres of it fenced with about 2+ acres cleared and pasture mix has been planted.

My question: Will it be more beneficial to leave the brush standing and rotate them through it or level it down to pasture as the goats clear it off. I'm thinking of leaving a lot of it alone. I'm thinking 50/50 brush and pasture. I'm trying to get away with only supplementing during the growing season because i don't want to incur the cost of feed. I would like the goats to feed themselves primarily. 28 acres should be able to sustain roughly 30 adult goats, correct?
 

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I would let the goats eat through it and see what it looks like afterward and go from there.

Sounds like you will end up with a nice setup!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
So I have a sound plan? My dad is screaming they need a mixture. I'm seeding the clear areas with kentucky 31, alfalfa, crimson clover, and white clover. I'm looking for some lespedeza but I can't find any atm. My farm is located in northern NC near the Va border. Sounds like a good mixture?
 

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I agree with Karen. Whether 28 acres will support 30 goats is going to depend on your stocking rate per acre. My area is semi-desert, and it takes 33 acres for 1 mature cow. 1 cow equals roughly 8-10 goats. If I have irrigated pasture, I can run 1 cow per acre. Check with your local extension office to see what the stocking rate for cows is for your area.

You are aware that grazing goats on alfalfa, and clover can lead to bloat and death, aren't you? Bloat blocks will help with that, but I think I would look into Browse Master, chicory, or check out Jack Mauldin's website to see what he is running his goats on - I can't remember what it is at the moment, sorry. Goats actually prefer browse and forbs as opposed to grass. Here is an article about goat grazing if you are interested.

http://www.jackmauldin.com/warm_season.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm not planting an alfalfa pasture. It's a mix i'm planting on a small 2 acre area that's clear. I wasn't aware that clover caused bloat. I read somewhere that red clover is great for goats. I can understand if I have to manage them on it though. It's all in my master plan. I looked into browse master but it was a hit in the pocket. I'm on a shoestring budget atm. I got to build a few shelters before the cold hits. I'll take a look at the article. I try to read a lot before i dive in but sometimes I suffer from information overload. :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Great article. I have some ideas for my deer food plot too. I thought my food plots would do well for goats. Thanks

I agree with Karen. Whether 28 acres will support 30 goats is going to depend on your stocking rate per acre. My area is semi-desert, and it takes 33 acres for 1 mature cow. 1 cow equals roughly 8-10 goats. If I have irrigated pasture, I can run 1 cow per acre. Check with your local extension office to see what the stocking rate for cows is for your area.

You are aware that grazing goats on alfalfa, and clover can lead to bloat and death, aren't you? Bloat blocks will help with that, but I think I would look into Browse Master, chicory, or check out Jack Mauldin's website to see what he is running his goats on - I can't remember what it is at the moment, sorry. Goats actually prefer browse and forbs as opposed to grass. Here is an article about goat grazing if you are interested.

http://www.jackmauldin.com/warm_season.html
 

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Dave (TDG Farms) S.E. Washington State
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Clovers and Other High-Protein Forage

  • Alfalfa and some varieties of clover are grown deliberately by farmers as forage, while other varieties are weeds or "volunteers" that grow freely in pasture. All of these high-protein forage plants present a potential source of bloat, especially early in the spring when the goats have been accustomed to hay and other dry fodder. The high levels of protein in the plants are thought to interfere with the animals' ability to pass gas naturally. Making sodium bicarbonate available to the goats, or giving them balanced quantities of dry fodder and pasture, can minimize the risk of bloat.

Personally Id leave a lot of whats there in place. Goats LOVE to brows and with only 15 goats, they may never be able to totally cut it back.
 

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I'm not planting an alfalfa pasture. It's a mix i'm planting on a small 2 acre area that's clear. I wasn't aware that clover caused bloat. I read somewhere that red clover is great for goats. I can understand if I have to manage them on it though. It's all in my master plan. I looked into browse master but it was a hit in the pocket. I'm on a shoestring budget atm. I got to build a few shelters before the cold hits. I'll take a look at the article. I try to read a lot before i dive in but sometimes I suffer from information overload. :p
I can certainly understand the shoestring budget, and the information overload. :tears: :laugh: Clovers, lespedeza, and alfalfa are all legumes and they all carry the risk of bloat when grazed. The risk of bloat can be lessened by filling them up with hay prior to turning them out, putting out bloat blocks, giving them time to acclimate to the forage, and by letting the alfalfa become more mature - but it is still there.
 

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I can see why your dad wants it cleared but can also see what your after as well. Is this place simply just for goats??? Or is there a plan to grow and sell hay or something else?? My goats for the most part live on brush and trees and such and get supplement at special times. My goats are not overly fat but are fit and healthy and far from thin. The best part about goats and brush is they will totally kill the brush and make it easy to clear and burn. We have buck brush here. Before the goats we would brush it with a cat and have to let it sit for a year to dry out to burn. That large pile takes away grass that should be fed off. The goats will attack the brush kill it while still standing. Now we just push it over and burn and still get the grass growth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My plans are to have primarily goats on the property so it sounds like i'll be ok as is. I just have to talk my dad out of clearing for pasture. I may have to sit him down though. :p It's hard to reverse the script when it's been what he says for 40 years. :p

I'm going to go through this season and maybe well into next before I clear much more brush. The goats can be my mowers as long as I keep the goat minerals, fresh water, hay, and the occasional pail of feed there for them.
 
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