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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello, I'm very glad to discover the forum! My wife and I are working hard towards acquiring a property to raise forage and meat goats from that forage.

Just today I realized maybe I have a very serious flaw in what I was thinking, which was to divide the property into about 30 strips and move the goats daily to new forage, allowing rest for a month before being grazed again. So far as improved forage production goes and maybe so far as parasites this may be okay, but what about animal stress?

Let's say my anticipated forage production can support 4 does per acre and, according to time of year, their kids. (Probably it would be 3 point something but let's say 4.)

Well, that kind of intensive rotation would have 120 does and their kids per acre when grazing / browsing! That's about 360 sq feet, or a little less than 20 feet on a side per doe and according to time of year her kids.

Is that too heavy, would that be stressful to the animals?

Might I be better off, given that concern if it's a real one, doing 2 day rotations (in that case, 60 does and their kids per acre) or 3 day rotations?

Thank you!
 

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Look, you were queued because apparently you a duplicate account asking the same question.

This may or may not be cared for now. I don't know, I found the second account but pointed it out to others as I was in the middle of cooking dinner.
350 sq feet would probably work for mobbing most of the time but, you should expect to spread them out thinner while they have young kids. Some does are brutal with other kids and some does are thieves.
Their main living area is going to have to have room for them to spread out and hidey holes for kids and smaller does.
Creep feeding may need to be addressed unless your pasture will support growth. Mine won't except in the early summer and fall.
The reason I mentioned irrigation and mowing is because it changes your time periods and patterns of growth. Irrigation increases parasite loads and requires a longer rest period. Not mowing means that the less desirable plants will be left and your pasture will slowly become less acceptable for your animals. Another way of mowing would be to run a group of steers behind the goats or include x number of sheep per x number of goats.
A benefit to cattle would be that they are a dead end host to many goat parasites and will effectively reduce parasite populations. Sheep on the other hand share many of the parasites and can cause mineral issues

I know that you didn't ask this but, I can't think of a system as one piece. I think of systems as a whole and a well run farm should be a circle that renews itself.

There's nothing wrong with Silvoculture or Agroforestry. Many small farms are going to these systems to combat the weird weather patterns and to stock up for the future while grass farming becomes more and more unsustainable.

In answer to your question, can I mob graze x number goats on x amount of space, the answer would have to be it depends.
It depends on the individual animals, the rotational area, and the other systems already in place. Something like an old dairy farm would be great for this, bare land with no infrastructure would not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Thank you; I assure you I have only one account on my end. One e-mail, one password, one username, etc. There is some strangeness in the system if the system shows two. The only thing there has been two of is the avatar, as I have changed that since signing in.

An oddity is that it took me many tries to get the account, as using my e-mail and creating a password never advanced me to another page, but only kept me on the same page. A couple of times I tried logging in just in case the signup worked anyway, but no sign in was possible. Only when using the Google account method of account creation did I get an account. And that is the same e-mail and same password and all the posts which appeared but then became hidden have been posted from the same computer on the same sign-in. (There was one post edited from my phone on the same account, but only one.)

Back to goats! :)

In terms of recovery of the forage, while I am still learning my understanding is two days of injury and then 28 or so days of recovery is not much worse than one day of injury and 29 days of recovery. But it gives double the room for the goats. So given Karen's advice of 360 sq feet per doe and kids being too little, and yours of it being marginal and at some times not enough, doubling it up seems a really wise idea.

Thank you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
And incidentally, as it happens I'm planning to incorporate silvoculture as much as possible without overshading pasture or too much loss of pasture, with species of particular interest being Moringa, Mulberry, Grewia optiva, Sesbania grandiflora, and maybe American Beautyberry. I'm also wondering about ear trees (Enterolobium cyclocarpum). They coppice spectacularly, I've observed, and the nutritional profile of the leaves looks good on limited information. I don't know on palatability yet. But that's longer term. It's not that I have anything against silvoculture, quite the contrary, it's just that my direct concern was potential overcrowding with regards to animal psychology and behavior. And it looks like it was good that I asked.

Lastly, while I am not near a this-is-it blueprint, the conception is for the goats always to have access to their main area, being divided off not from that but only from the other 29/30 or 14/15 of the grazing area. That should help a lot I hope with addressing the point you raised for more isolated places for kids and smaller does.
 

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Ah, this I can help with. I'm using paulownia, Russian mulberry, black locust, big leaf maple, black cherry, quaking Aspen, and sandbar willow.
Paulownia has almost the exact nutrients as alfalfa and the goats and sheep love it.
For mast production I'm leaning towards thornless honey locust and I do have a couple producing white oaks.
No, it's nowhere close to being done and may never be but, working on it. Right now I'm fighting with a tansy invasion that I didn't need. Planning to plant a bunch of jackhammer daikons, turnips, swedes, and mangles to crowd them out. At the moment I'm cutting off hundreds of yellow flowers.
Oh, and I've been making hay from English ivy. The goats and sheep love that as well.
 

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If you can afford it, I would go with the 30 pen system and open 2 pens every other day during the 8 weeks of young kids. That way you can regulate your midsummer and winter browse for your main herd.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That seems a great idea to divide into 30 but as needed use double. I've had a lot of interest in Paulownia and will definitely check your past posts on it and hope for updates as they happen.

Does Paulownia require a specific time of year for pollarding (or do you think coppicing better for it) or among the trees one has can that be spread across much of the year rather than doing all in a short time window? Can the leaf quality be good in late Fall?

Thank you!
 
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