Goat Vegetation Predators




Predators are a serious problem in the use of goats for vegetation management as locations are often remote, with habitat that provides natural cover for predators. Guard animals put with the goats can prevent predator attack. The number of guard animals needs to be sufficient to cover the area and terrain in which the goats are kept. If guard dogs are used, plans need to be made for feeding them. They can be fed using self feeders, but the …

Goat Vegetation Systems Business



Establishing a Brush Control Business

If you want to use goats for brush control, how do you get into the business? The first step is to visit other producers, especially those that are using goats for weed and brush control to see if goats will control your type of vegetation. Find out information about their goat management practices. Work to learn all you can about goats from extension personnel, other producers, and the internet. A good source of information is …

Goat Vegetation Facilities




Goats being used for vegetation control in the southern United States typically need little shelter. Often goats have enough shade and shelter from the rain by utilizing cover from existing trees during the summer. Goats need shelter from the wind during the winter, which may be accomplished with a gully, pond bank, brushy mott or brush pile. Standing brush or cedars can also provide shelter. Does should be bred to kid late enough in the spring so that shelter …

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 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 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 Vegetation Management

Goats for Vegetation Management

For well over 100 years, goats have been used to manage unwanted vegetation in the United States. The role of goats in vegetation management is expected to expand in the near future due to a combination of factors, including environmental degradation created by past systems of farming; reduced efforts to control unwanted vegetation that has increased its spread and growth; the increasing expense of mechanical methods of vegetation control, most of which rely on the use …

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. …