Best Breeds for Brush Control (Central TX)

Discussion in 'Goat Frenzy' started by perdurabo, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. perdurabo

    perdurabo New Member

    6
    Jul 13, 2010
    I've got 23 acres in Caldwell County, TX that I'm about to move onto and I'm looking to get some meat goats to do some brush control on my property. My primary goal is to keep the mesquite, yaupon, cedar elms, and other fleshy weeds under control with a small herd. I plan to crossfence a portion of the property (maybe 5-6 acres) as goat pasture. I've never raised goats before but I've been doing quite a lot of research. I'm looking for the best breed for the job. My goals are:

    1) Needs to be as low maintenance as possible. I don't want to have to constantly baby them with supplemental feed, vitamins, deworming, hoof trimming or other such tasks. I know that in winter I'll likely need to supplement and I will have to treat obviously sick animals, but I'm looking for living lawnmowers here, not animals I plan to sell for meat or milk, necessarily. I've been leaning towards Kikos, Spanish or Kiko/Spanish crosses but it seems like everyone in my area is raising either Boers or some kind of milk goat... Spanish and Kikos seem harder to find and more expensive when you do. Why are Boers so popular? From what i understand they require a LOT of maintenance.

    2) I am aware of the extra fencing needs for goats, but how necessary is it to have 4' field fence AND a hot wire? Can I get away with JUST 4' field fence with no barbed or hot wire at all? Does field fence HAVE to be 4"x4" or can you get away with something bigger/less expensive, assuming I plan to keep their horns ON?

    3) My pasture has lots of weeds and trees and grass and with all the rain this year has a lot for goats to eat. How many meat goats can I get away with on 6 acres or so without completely destroying the land or needing to supplement? I know i might need to supplement in winter, but I'd prefer to keep the additional feed/minerals/vitamins inputs to a bare minimum. I have two stock tanks that stay full most of the year and i can setup a float valve water trough if need be. I already have an old three sided goat shed on the property that can be used as a shelter.

    So what are my best options for brush control goats in terms of breed, numbers, and management? I'd like the OPTION of selling some, and I might breed/sell them for meat at the bare minimum to maintain my ag exemption on the land, but for the most part I want these goats to primarily just keep the land free of small brush and weeds and just leave the big post oaks. Also keep in mind that my part of the country gets VERY HOT and humid in the summer and generally has mild to nonexistant winters.
     
  2. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    1) Needs to be as low maintenance as possible. I don't want to have to constantly baby them with supplemental feed, vitamins, deworming, hoof trimming or other such tasks. I know that in winter I'll likely need to supplement and I will have to treat obviously sick animals, but I'm looking for living lawnmowers here, not animals I plan to sell for meat or milk, necessarily. I've been leaning towards Kikos, Spanish or Kiko/Spanish crosses but it seems like everyone in my area is raising either Boers or some kind of milk goat... Spanish and Kikos seem harder to find and more expensive when you do. Why are Boers so popular? From what i understand they require a LOT of maintenance. All those things will have to be done eventually... when needed....there is no such thing as low maintenance...goats in my book...when the time arises ...work has to be done.... They also need loose salt and minerals with Copper....if they get deficient in any mineral.... it will effect their health tremendously in a bad way......there is more to having goats then what people may believe.... if you want them to live a long healthy life you have to take care of them......hay should be thrown out ...once in a while...... they need roughage for their gut...to work properly...You must make sure....you keep up on their weight... they can get a big worm load or...cocci... also if they don't get enough nutrition....they will lose weight....and will need grain and hay...and possible treatment if they get problems....Not all goats eat certain feeds.... when browsing plants ect....and if anything gets pee'd on or pooed on ...goats will not touch it......
    I have 17 head of goats for a 8 acre irrigated pasture....and they do not keep up with the growth....
    Boers are popular in many different ways....they do well in the showring....are great for meat....they cross well with dairy goats well... and thrive in very hot conditions....ect...Boers do not require anymore maintenance ...then any other goats....



    2) I am aware of the extra fencing needs for goats, but how necessary is it to have 4' field fence AND a hot wire? Can I get away with JUST 4' field fence with no barbed or hot wire at all? Does field fence HAVE to be 4"x4" or can you get away with something bigger/less expensive, assuming I plan to keep their horns ON?
    The smaller the squares in your fencing the less likely.. that they will get their heads stuck in the fence....the grass is always greener.. on the other side of it... So if you cannot have a hotline I recommend...the squares be smaller....but even with small squares... I find... they manage to get their heads in there anywayz....so I use the hotline.... or put dunce hats on them...


    3) My pasture has lots of weeds and trees and grass and with all the rain this year has a lot for goats to eat. How many meat goats can I get away with on 6 acres or so without completely destroying the land or needing to supplement? I know i might need to supplement in winter, but I'd prefer to keep the additional feed/minerals/vitamins inputs to a bare minimum. I have two stock tanks that stay full most of the year and i can setup a float valve water trough if need be. I already have an old three sided goat shed on the property that can be used as a shelter.So what are my best options for brush control goats in terms of breed, numbers, and management? I'd like the OPTION of selling some, and I might breed/sell them for meat at the bare minimum to maintain my ag exemption on the land, but for the most part I want these goats to primarily just keep the land free of small brush and weeds and just leave the big post oaks. Also keep in mind that my part of the country gets VERY HOT and humid in the summer and generally has mild to nonexistant winters.
    They will need all the minimums...they cannot go without... and must have water at all times... It does take some money to run goats... :wink: :(
     

  3. HoosierShadow

    HoosierShadow Senior Member

    Apr 19, 2010
    Central Kentucky
    I am new to goats. But, I will answer anyway :)

    1. Kiko/boer. I hear Kiko are very hardy, and with Boer add on some nice meat. We have a boer/kiko doe and she is very low maint. We have wooded area we are clearing out, just a couple of acres, and so far the half acre of wooded area they've had access too looks great. What they can't reach, my husband has cut down for them - they eat the leaves, and then the limbs get piled up - later we'll burn them or find something else we can do with them.
    There are a lot of people around here who advertise kiko or kiko/boer mixes, a shame your so far away!
    We have 3 boer does, the boer/kiko doe, a 4 1/2 mo buckling, and 3 week old kids. Our boers haven't proved to be high maint. it's just a matter of general care - taking care of their feet, making sure they have access to clean water & mineral, we do give a little grain - not much, but a little <I am in KY so vegatation is good right now>. We do give them their CD/T shots - you can get this vaccine at Tractor Supply/feed stores for about $8.00 per 10 doses. Also, worm them every few months.
    I would recommend some kind of mineral block or loose mineral for them <everyone needs vitamins, animals are no different>. They are not expensive. I bought a 50lb. bag for $23 and it will last for a LONG TIME.

    2. We have the cattle field fencing, no hot wire. So far no problems - nobody getting out, yet. BUT, if you have goats with horns, especially young ones, they can get their heads stuck in the fence thanks to their horns. That is the bad thing about this fencing. Plus they can climb on it and make it weak after time. I would recommend the 4ft. fencing for large goats like boers/kiko. The fencing with smaller spaces would be ideal - harder for them to climb on, and you don't have to worry about anyone getting their head caught in the fence - AND - if you decide to breed, no worries about escape artist kids!
    Our does are real good about not getting their heads caught in our fence, BUT our youngest doe and the buckling get their head caught in the fence from time to time. We are getting ready to build a buck pen, and will not be using the large spaced cattle fencing. We'll use something that is harder for them to climb on. Especially since the buck we may be buying will weigh between 170-190 lbs. He isn't friendly <not mean>, he doesn't like people so if he got out....not good.

    3. Again, I am new to goats. We've had ours for almost 3 months. We only have about a half acre fenced in right now, maybe a tad bit more than that. And we have no issues with the goats tearing the land up, etc. In fact, we plan on getting a few more does - AND - the buck pen is being built in their current pen --- eventually we'll fence in the back acre as well. So I'd think that you could have several without worries.

    Sounds like you might have a great place for goats. They love to browse, and LOVE brush/weeds. I'd probably just recommend checking what is poisonous in your area on the internet, and just kind of browse your property to make sure there isnt' anything noticable that could hurt them.

    Good Luck! We are having a blast with our goats :)
     
  4. newtopygmies

    newtopygmies New Member

    59
    May 26, 2010
    ashville alabama
    I have heard that boer goats are good for brush control. I am also new to goats and bought them to clear up an overgrown spot on my property. I went with pygmies because they are small and easy to handle. I fenced off a spot about half an acre and it was covered with honeysuckle, briars and wisteria. It was so overgrown you couldn't see the goats browsing in it. I have eight does and they ate everything. I just finished fencing off about an acre and a half because I was having to feed them every night. They are doing a good job...they eat most of the time.

    The fence I use is a 2x4 welded wire fence four foot high. I have had no escapes so far.

    I like taking care of them and the whole family helps. They need fresh water every day and they need shelter...they hate rain. I have always felt that if a person does not want to take care of an animal they should not have one. I cannot stand to see any animal neglected...If you aren't prepared to take care of them...don't get them.

    But you will probably fall in love with them...most people do. They are very interesting animals. In a lot of ways they are just like ...well...kids.
     
  5. Perfect7

    Perfect7 New Member

    Apr 19, 2010
    South Georgia
    We're also pretty new to goats and have mainly boers with three boer/kiko crosses. I've also heard boer goats are "wimpy" as far as that goes. I think some of that may be because they were so darned expensive in the 90's that people bred even mediocre ones because they couldn't really afford not to, and they were wormed religiously whether they needed it or not because they also couldn't afford not to. However, I love our boers and for meat goats they are hard to beat. They will also probably bring MUCH more return on your investment than another meat goat breeds. They are also versatile for showing/commercial meat/breeding stock.
    Our boer/kiko crosses have the highest worm resistance of them all out here, with nice shiney red eyelids. They were raised by goats that were never wormed, ever. Those that needed frequent worming just died, kind of like survival of the fittest. I don't agree with that, but they made some hardy babies. With your fencing, those wicked side-winding horns may also be harder to get through the squares.
    I agree with Pam, they all will need proper care and maintenance or they wont thrive no matter what the breed. A nice pile of rocks would help keep down on hoof trimming. Wish I could get a load out here....
    If I was doing what you were doing, I would find someone as local as possible so the goats are used to your climate and would also look for someone who has raised goats specifically to be as low mainenance as possible. It may not come down to one breed being more hardy than another but, rather, how hardy they have had to become under the conditions in which they were raised.
     
  6. CrossCreekTX

    CrossCreekTX New Member

    356
    Aug 10, 2009
    Central East Texas
    I'd just go up to the auction barn (there is a goat auction in Cameron (Milam co) about once a month) and get whatever I could find cheap except for dairy does. I'd also suggest a LGD, but you'll need to provide feed daily for it.

    Put some copper sulfate in the water. About 1 teaspoon per gallon once a week or every two weeks. It will control algae and provide the copper the goats need. You shouldn't need to worm if you do this. Also provide a good loose mineral.

    I have 8 acres and 9 goats and they haven't even begun to keep the vegetation under control. Mine is bottom land though and that makes a difference. I have grass when nobody else around here does. Watch the condition of your goats. If they start looking thin or scraggly take some to the auction or start supplementing.
     
  7. myfainters

    myfainters New Member

    Oct 29, 2009
    Lancaster, CA
     
  8. perdurabo

    perdurabo New Member

    6
    Jul 13, 2010
    I keep hearing about this "fresh clean water and fresh hay daily" thing and I'm a little confused. I grew up next to a very large ranch as a kid (Robinson Ranch just north of Austin) and they had several large Spanish goat herds on a couple thousand crossfenced acres. As far as I can tell, they never did anything with them other than let them roam wild. They ate nothing but brush and drank out of the stock tanks. There didn't seem to be a lot of them sick or malnourished either. Why can't I do the same sort of thing on a smaller scale with my 23 acres? I've got two stock tanks of about 1/2 acre each that never went dry, even during the drought. If I make sure that theres always enough brush to eat (and supplement a little when theres not) and always water in the tanks, why should I have to do anything with them on a daily basis? How many acres/goat do you need before you can just let them go wild on their own, or is there some other calculation that needs to be considered?
     
  9. GotmygoatMTJ

    GotmygoatMTJ New Member

    I think with your stock tanks, that the water is covered.

    Your goats, are not intended for pets, so they will be wild left to their own defenses and foraging around the property eating.

    I have figured out my goats routine. I have 31 miniatures(Nigerian Dwarves and Pygmies) in a fenced pasture that is a little less then 2 acres. They go out to eat in the morning, spending about two hours, then they run up, get their fill of water, go in the shade and ruminate. Then the usually come up and get more water when its cooler and then spend about 2 more hours grazing and foraging, then they come up and get their grain at 7pm. Then they go about their ruminating.

    So your goats will get their routine to go to the water. Your best bet is to show them the water so they know where it is.

    Also, if you can just get them goat mineral blocks, a few, placed all around the pasture, so they can have access to one wherever they are, or they are atleast close to one, so if they get a craving, they can go to one.

    Also, I dont know if its already been said, but a Livestock Gaurdian Dog would be your best option of keeping your goats alive and secure.
     
  10. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    You want the water to be good enough to drink....if it is to nasty and they don't drink it....they will dehydrate.... that is basically what fresh means..... it must not go stale...

    I bet they took extra care with the goats...when your weren't looking... :wink:
    even with a smaller number of goats... up keep on them is crucial....also.. it is great to check on them daily..... to see if anyone is ill... then taking the time to take their temp if they are off........throwing out feed for them...once in a while ... is a great way to tell....if they are stand offish and are ill... They need roughage hay..... to help their rumen..... if the rumen stops the goat stops....
     
  11. K-Ro

    K-Ro New Member

    371
    Oct 13, 2007
    Texas
    Kiko or spanish will probably be your best bet as you have already figured out. Have you looked on Craigslist? Not sure what part of Caldwell county you are in, but some where there will be an auction barn and goats go dirt cheap at auctions. If your not familiar with the area I have family in Lockhart and can ask them about the local auction barn, if that will help.

    As long as they have plenty of browse, and it sounds like they will, they should be fine food wise. Of course, if we have a drought like we did last year then you will have to supplement with hay, etc.

    You will need some sort of predator protection for them:lgd, donkey, llama, something. coyotes and dogs are going to be your worst enemy.

    Yes, I would advise a hotwire and/or barbed wire at the top and bottom of your fencing, but some don't even do that.

    Other than that sounds like you have pretty well thought out things.
     
  12. CrossCreekTX

    CrossCreekTX New Member

    356
    Aug 10, 2009
    Central East Texas
    You might want to consider getting only males and wethering them. Buy young ones in the spring and sell for meat in fall or whenever you get a sale. Much less maintenance will be needed than trying to breed for kids to sell. It should still keep your ag.
     
  13. Lexibot

    Lexibot New Member

    326
    Jul 27, 2010
    Missouri
    Please refer to the bold for my answers... I know this is by far months late, but I figure "hey, other people read this too!"