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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

I don't have any goats, but I'm trying to educate myself as best I can before getting any.

The land I would raise the goats on has A LOT of sand burrs on it currently. I mean I can't walk through that plot without getting covered in them. My dogs can't even walk through it.

I went to a goat expo and asked a guy giving a presentation on goat management if goats would be okay with so many sand burrs. He looked at me like he didn't know what a sand burr was. He's from Oklahoma, and we were in Illinois, so I don't know if sand burrs aren't common down there.

Anyway, I never got a straight answer from him or the other people there. They just kind of said "they seem fine with them" and moved on.

So, I'm curious, do goats eat sand burrs? Is it okay for them to eat sand burrs or will that cause problems? Are they okay walking around in sand burrs?

I'm not planning on raising any fiber goats, so that's not an issue.
 

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We have some sandburrs in our goat pasture. Are you talking the goatheads or the grassy ones? LOL Yep, we have both in Kansas. I don't notice my goats eating them whenever they are in an area with lots of them they just kind of pick around them. I have noticed sometimes that they can get the goatheads stuck in the soft part of the hoof and they'll limp (kind of like you do when you get one in your foot) I've not noticed any problems with eating them either. Not saying there couldn't be a problem, just that I haven't seen it with mine.
 

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We don't have sand burrs, I don't think because I've never heard anyone talk about them. We do have burdock and beggars lice. I have both on my property. The goats LOVE both plants and will eat them to a nubbin of given the chance. I let both plants grow all over my lawn. I cut the plants off at the ground and bring it to the goats to eat. The Burdock will regrow quickly, so the goats will have a noon snack several times a week during the summer.

My goats have gotten covered in buckdock burrs, but the burrs just sort of slide right out of their hair, even their long beards!
 

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So, I'm curious, do goats eat sand burrs? Is it okay for them to eat sand burrs or will that cause problems? Are they okay walking around in sand burrs?

I'm not planning on raising any fiber goats, so that's not an issue.
I don't think goats will eat the actual sand bur, but they will eat the plants before it develops sand burs. They are fine walking around in them, too. About the only thing I've found - plant wise - that causes a problem are buffalo burrs. Those suckers are nasty!
 

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Hello,

I don't have any goats, but I'm trying to educate myself as best I can before getting any.

The land I would raise the goats on has A LOT of sand burrs on it currently. I mean I can't walk through that plot without getting covered in them. My dogs can't even walk through it.

I went to a goat expo and asked a guy giving a presentation on goat management if goats would be okay with so many sand burrs. He looked at me like he didn't know what a sand burr was. He's from Oklahoma, and we were in Illinois, so I don't know if sand burrs aren't common down there.

Anyway, I never got a straight answer from him or the other people there. They just kind of said "they seem fine with them" and moved on.

So, I'm curious, do goats eat sand burrs? Is it okay for them to eat sand burrs or will that cause problems? Are they okay walking around in sand burrs?

I'm not planning on raising any fiber goats, so that's not an issue.
I think you'd be best of trying to burn/brush hog the pasture early on, and then continue to mow it on a regular basis. You could turn the goats out on it in between mowings but I wouldn't rely on them to be your sole eradication strategy.

From what we've observed our goats don't tend to eat the sand burrs or the burdocks (we call them cockleburrs) or thistles- I'm guessing because they're such nasty, sharp little suckers. However, they just looooove them some hedge tree and honey locusts (which both have lots of thorns) so who knows. If the pasture has nothing to eat BUT sand burrs then yes, they're going to eat sand burrs, but if they have other options they're going to go for those first. We haven't noticed any particular problems w/ lameness/injuries/etc as a result of the burrs- they don't seem to really stick to their coats, and if we have hoof abscesses they're typically caused by the thorns more than anything.

We also had a large amount of sand burrs/etc on our pasture- it's taken a couple of years but we do see results with the above method, I think the trick is to just keep knocking them down before they have a chance to go to seed. We've finally got to the point that we might not need to mow the entire field, but just hit patches as needed.
 

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Those sand burrs look very similar to the tons and tons of star thistle we have here!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the replies. The reason I have this land is because it's too sandy to yield any corn or beans. And by too sandy, I mean pretty much all sand, so pretty much all sand burrs!

I was actually planning on separating into 2 pastures. One section has lots of thick woods that I think the goats would love. Then there's an open area where all the sand burrs are.

There's about 15 acres total and about 10 of that is filled to the brim with sand burs. They drive me nuts. Definitely plan to try to eradicate a good portion of them if/when goats are really coming. There's just so many I don't know how much of a dent I could put in them.
 

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There's about 15 acres total and about 10 of that is filled to the brim with sand burs. They drive me nuts. Definitely plan to try to eradicate a good portion of them if/when goats are really coming. There's just so many I don't know how much of a dent I could put in them.
Things I have learned about sand burrs. Sand burrs are an annual grassy type plant that flourish in soil that is sandy or lacking nutrients. The burrs are the seed that spreads them. The problem with sandburrs is they can live in the soil for something like 10 years, and a single burr can generate anywhere from 20 to 120 new plants if the circumstances are right. If they don't get sunlight they can't germinate, but any time the ground is disturbed it brings them to the surface and they germinate. The key to controlling them is to never allow them to set seed. No seed, no new plants, and they will die at the first hard frost. Once you get them under control you can easily maintain control by simply cutting the plant off just under the surface of the dirt. If the plant has burrs, burn it. Alfalfa will choke them out, but it can't be safely grazed. MSMG - I think that is the right name - will control them, but it contains arsenic and has a lifetime ban for grazing and haying. Never mow or brush hog plants that have burrs on them or you will just compound your problem. Do not drive or walk through them if possible, or you will just spread them. Burning is somewhat effective at destroying the seed laying on the surface, but will not get them all and does nothing for those just under the surface.

If you don't have an aversion to herbicides you can either spot spray using commercial strength round-up (requires a license to purchase, so a class or someone who has a license is needed). There are also several pre-emergent herbicides (also requires a license) on the market that prevent annual grasses from germinating.

Getting rid of sand burrs is a major pain in the butt, but it can be done. :) I hope this helps.
 

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The Okie you talked to was probably baffled because Southern Sand Burrs are simply known as 'stickers' here - as if there aren't a ton of stickers of a less insidious variety. Anyway, If you'd have said stickers that look a lot like Bermuda grass - until they produce their seeds (stickers), he'd have likely known exactly what you were talking about. It's such an evil weed, it has gained singular status, just like Kleenex is the name of facial tissue the world-over. On the other hand, while I've heard there can be goat heads (a broadleaf annual with yellow flowers), here in the OKC area, they're all but extinct (Praise the Lord).
 

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I do know for a fact sheep will NOT eat Sandbur grass but their wool does an excellent job of collecting the burrs. What a PITA and fingers too.

I'm researching the ( will goats eat Sandbur grass subject ).

Sandburs occur on the lee side of streams and rivers where sandy soils are prominent and where timber / forest has been removed. In timber / forest next to a heavily Sandbur infested area, one can walk barefoot without a problem with the burrs.

Some of the reasons I know this is I live at SandburRanch and to use a phrase here, ( unacceptable language for this forum ) once they are in your foot, finger, bath towel or jocky shorts, they are called ****stickers.
 

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I haven't seen mine eating the plants after the burrs are there, but they eat it before that. My property was covered with cockleburrs, and it's definitely getting better with mowing and goats. There aren't any in their pastures.
 

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I haven't seen mine eating the plants after the burrs are there, but they eat it before that. My property was covered with cockleburrs, and it's definitely getting better with mowing and goats. There aren't any in their pastures.
Of a few that have just set burs and are fresh, not like the 3' diameter I've pictured, consider clipping the burrs off to determine if they'll eat the grassy portion.

Pic didn't load. Houston, there may be a problem.
 
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