Goat Vegetation Systems

Potential Production Systems

A major decision is the type of goat enterprise desired for use in vegetation control. Do you want to have a brood goat operation, a stocker goat operation, or have mature wethers? Do you want to co-graze with cattle, horses, or sheep?

goats debarking cedar

A brood goat operation where does produce kids requires the greatest management input and encounters the most problems due to kidding and raising kids. This enterprise also has the potential for the greatest profits. Grazing …

Goat Vegetation Goats Control



Vegetation control

Time is needed for goats to sustainably control brush and weeds. Brush and weeds are not as well adapted to repeated defoliation as are grasses.  Repeated defoliation stresses these plants and reduces carbohydrate reserves. This stress makes the plant more subject to damage or death through insect and disease attack. Finally, when the root carbohydrates are depleted, the plant will die.

Stripping of bark by goats, such as seen in honey and black locust and red cedar, will …

Goat Early Lactation

Early Lactation

The relationships between feed intake, body weight, and milk production in lactating does is illustrated in Figure 2. Generally, milk yield peaks six to nine weeks after kidding, and feed intake does not peak until later. Thus, does are usually in a state of negative energy balance in early to mid-lactation. Therefore, body reserves – fat and protein – have to be used to make up for this energy deficit. The animal’s nutrient intake will not meet her …

Goat Distillers Dried Grains with Solubles

Effects of Dried Distiller’s Grains with Solubles as a Replacement for Soybean Meal and Corn in Diets Fed to Boer-Cross Feeder Kids

Report to: Distillers Grains Technology Council, Louisville, KY

Participants: • Mr. Terry K. Hutchens, Extension Specialist, Goat Management, University of Kentucky Animal & Food Sciences Dept • Mr. Charles Smith, Research Cooperator, Smith’s Boer Goats, Glasgow Kentucky • Dr. Kenneth Andries, Animal Science Specialist, Kentucky State University • Dr. John T. Johns, Extension Animal Nutritionist, University of Kentucky …

Goat Vegetation Why

Why Manage Vegetation?

The most common reason given by producers wanting to manage vegetation is to grow more grass to produce more beef. There also may be a desire to enhance the productivity of degraded range sites or improve landscape aesthetics. Another reason is to control invading plant species, such as kudzu in the South, sericea lespedeza in several states, red cedar, various oak species and many other invasive plant species. Often, large ranches may have some vegetation problems and …

Goat Body Condition Score

Body Condition Scoring

The adequacy of a nutritional program can be assessed by observing changes in body weight and condition of the animal. If animals lose weight, body condition will be reduced, alerting an observant manager to a problem. Body condition is particularly responsive to energy and protein adequacy. Body condition scoring is a system of assigning a numerical score based on physical characteristics indicative of fatness. These include the amount of muscle and fat covering the spine in the …

Goat Vegetation Goats Beneficial

Beneficial characteristics

Goat browsing

Several characteristics of goats make them the animal of choice for vegetation management. Goats are a low-input animal, require a minimum investment for start-up, have low expenditures for maintenance and require only a moderate level of labor for animal management. However, goats do require a high level of management knowledge. Goats have a diverse dietary preference and consume a wide variety of plants. They have very nimble lips, allowing for selection and consumption of the most nutritious components …

Goat Vegetation Goats Dietary

Dietary preferences

browsed cedar

It is necessary for goats to consume a plant in order to control it. Therefore, the question is, “Will goats eat the plant or target species?” This is not a simple question to answer because many factors affect what plant species a goat will consume.

The greatest factor in determining what plant species a goat consumes is what they learned to eat from their mothers. Goats can also learn from their peers, although to a much lesser extent. …

Goat Nutrition Nutrients


Nutrients are defined as substances that aid in the support of life. The six classes of nutrients include protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. Nutrients are often classified as organic (carbon-containing) or inorganic (minerals).

Energy is not considered a nutrient but can be derived from the breakdown of several nutrients, including fat, protein, and both simple and complex carbohydrates. Energy is required to propel the biochemical processes that are necessary to sustain life. A deficiency of energy will …