Using goats to clear blackberry?

Discussion in 'Goat Management' started by tatumhills, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. tatumhills

    tatumhills New Member

    66
    Feb 8, 2014
    Hi, has anybody tried using goats to clear a severe blackberry infestation?


    www.tatumhills.weebly.com ... No goats here yet, but hopefully soon!
     
  2. Goats Rock

    Goats Rock Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    NE Ohio
    Depends on the type of goat- a dairy goats can get her udder all torn up. As far as blackberry plants, mine will eat them in the spring.
    They like the tender shoots. Won't touch the mature canes. We have lots of mulit-flora roses, black berries, raspberries and all kinds of
    briar/bramble plants. The wethers, yearlings and a couple boer x's do pretty good on keeping the new growth down. Oh, and add poison ivy,
    they love that! But, if you let a dairy doe eat it, there is a good chance you will get poison ivy all over your arms and hands when you milk her!

    One quick note, none of the goats stand and eat the plants, they eat a bite here and there- so if something is bad for them, they never eat
    enough at one time to hurt them.
     

  3. cybercat

    cybercat Owner of 4 La Manachas.

    303
    Oct 17, 2007
    East Tn
    This is part of the reason i am getting goats. I had a friend years ago that used his goats to clear land that was covered with multiflora bushes. They did an amazing job.
     
  4. Jessica84

    Jessica84 Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    California
    Mine cleared all mine out....but I didn't want them too lol. I also got goats just to clear brush and a stupid weed called fiddle neck and they do a great job if you just let them do their thing and not spoil them with grain and hay. I do agree about the dairy girls. My lamancha has to stay back when she is in milk and it breaks her heart :( bit if I let her go she ends up with really bad cuts on her bag and teats.
     
  5. Tenacross

    Tenacross Well-Known Member

    May 26, 2011
    Enumclaw, Wa.
    Goats will eliminate black berries and then you will wish they hadn't killed them all. It takes awhile. It's true they don't eat the big canes, but the bush can't live if their leaves get eaten off all the time. I had an acre of black berry jungle three years ago. Now it looks like a city park.
     
  6. tatumhills

    tatumhills New Member

    66
    Feb 8, 2014
    Thanks everyone, that's really encouraging. What did you use to keep them in the area? I was thinking of using electric netting and a portable hut to move them around as needed. Would I need to cut the canes a bit do they can track all the way to the top? In one area we have a whopping 2 m high 10m thick wall that goes for hundreds of meters! On that note, though the netting is fox proof, I wouldn't be able to control of a fox comes through the berries.. Are adult goats vulnerable to foxes?


    www.tatumhills.weebly.com ... No goats here yet, but hopefully soon!
     
  7. MsScamp

    MsScamp New Member

    Jan 31, 2010
    Wyoming
    I seriously doubt that an adult fox can take down a healthy, adult goat. They can take down the kids, though.
     
  8. tatumhills

    tatumhills New Member

    66
    Feb 8, 2014
    Good to know, I knew the kids were vulnerable but I'd have those and their mothers in milk somewhere else :)


    www.tatumhills.weebly.com ... No goats here yet, but hopefully soon!
     
  9. janeen128

    janeen128 Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2012
    Edgewood, WA
    Well, I have dairy goats, and there were several locations that were blackberry infested, let's just say they are no more. My sheep actually do eat the tougher stuff, but I think that is unusual.... They will have a few more patches this spring to eat up;-)
     
  10. milkmaid

    milkmaid I'm not addicted - I'm in love!

    Nothing is better for clearing blackberries than goats IMO. Blackberry leaves are very good for the goats too!
    Large areas of our property were overgrown with blackberries. Wherever the goats had access, they cleared them out and now it's pasture. No need to cut the canes till after they're dead. The goats will pull them down to eat them. :)
     
  11. Katie03264

    Katie03264 New Member

    37
    Jun 19, 2012
    New Hampshire
    Well, Pygmies are sure no good at poison ivy clearing...I got pygmies for 2 reasons, I've been in love with them since I was 12yo & saw 1 at a fair petting zoo & wanted them mostly as pets. The OTHER reason, was b/c I'm crazy allergic to poison ivy & heard goats love it...HA! Yeah...I ended up w/3, not a ONE will even nibble. They don't want anything to do w/blackberry bushes either. They prefer leaves...green, dead, doesn't seem to matter unless they're attached to a blackberry or poison ivy plant, of course. They also like fruits but are so far extremely fussy w/veggies...I'll be posting a new thread about that. I have heard, however, that the larger breeds of goats (particularly Alpines & Boers) do amazing bushwork...
     
  12. janeen128

    janeen128 Well-Known Member

    Dec 31, 2012
    Edgewood, WA
    Yep, Pygmy's don't quite cut it. Now cross a Pygmy with a Nubian (kinder) now you have yourself a brush clearing goat;-)
     
  13. cybercat

    cybercat Owner of 4 La Manachas.

    303
    Oct 17, 2007
    East Tn
    Well, we are using cattle panels. But since I am getting weanling, s this is why. We have cows, so property fence line is barbed. The area were the kids will be is right where we want to cut down trees. It's a real mess with poison ivy growing up them. I figured it was the best place to put growing kids.

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