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Old 04-12-2013, 10:05 PM
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Default Goat keeping?

Has anyone ever kept goats? The dojo owns about 4 acres of wooded area that we just fenced in. We're setting up a coop this weekend for guinea fowl to keep the ticks down and were thinking of getting a goat to help with the brush.

Our main concern is the amount of care a goat would need. The plan is to visit the property each weekend to replenish the automated feeder we have for the guineas and we're wondering if goats can handle a similar set up. So, any ideas?
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:22 PM
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I have nothing to add except fainting goats are the best and you should get some!!
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:43 PM
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Don't have goats (don't really want goats) but I think that kind of set up would make me nervous. What if something happens during the week when no one is there? Anything from getting caught in the fence to coyotes to someone liberating the goat for their own.

I'd want to check on them/it, at the very least, very other day. Lord knows the goats down the road manage to escape their pasture on a fairly regular basis. Of course, I am basing my opinion on owning horses, who, if given the opportunity, will make the stupidest (and most costly) bad choice available...
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:48 PM
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I grew up with dairy goats. They are really hilarious, awesome creatures! And very good at keeping brush down. However, I have no idea if that sort of set up would work. As mentioned before, who knows what mischief they could get into during that time.

Since ours were diary goats, we had to be around to milk them morning and night, every single day.

Also, they are herd animals and probably wouldn't like being kept alone, especially if there weren't people around for company (bottle raised babies are super friendly and tend to think they are people).
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Old 04-12-2013, 10:51 PM
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And, just for the cute factor...here is a brand new baby, born at my dad's place last summer.

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Old 04-13-2013, 12:55 AM
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Goats are social, so you'd definitely need more than one in a setup like that. You will probably have to add electric fencing to keep them in, at minimum unless they're tethered, but if they're tethered they shouldn't be left unsupervised all week.

Honestly, I don't think it's a good idea to leave any large stock unattended that long for water reasons. It's pretty easy for an automatic waterer to malfunction and unless someone is checking daily to see if it's working, that's just a terrible way to die.

There are people you can rent goats from for brush clearing purposes, and they come out and do all the care and stuff so that may be a way to go.

Depending on the type of brush, geese may work too. That's a huge area, but they're really efficient at stomping down tall grass, eating the seeds, the grass, etc. They're grazers really.

Most things you get will be vulnerable to predators. Guineas are pretty dang hardy. A flock of geese may do okay together. Depending on the climate, you may need someone to go out daily when the weather gets cold to supplement them with grain or something.

There are some varieties of sheep that may help with your brush too, depending on what you're trying to clear. You could probably get by without an electric fence with them (unless coyotes start to pick them off). Also, you could avoid the problem of winter care by getting a bunch of spring lambs and then put them in the freezer come fall.
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Old 04-13-2013, 01:05 AM
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Yeah, if you don't have someone checking in on them every other day, I think you're taking a pretty big gamble. I wouldn't do it.

If you don't have a problem with packs of loose dogs or packs of coyotes, llamas might be a better choice. They'll browse and graze and they're big and aggressive enough with canines that they shouldn't be threatened by "normal" coyote activity. They could even provide some protection for the guineas as well. IME they respect fences quite well and don't have horns to get stuck places. Around here are auctioned off dirt cheap as dog food. Just a thought!
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Old 04-13-2013, 01:49 AM
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I LOVE goats. They're my favorite animal after dogs.I can't wait to have a couple when I'm able. Goats are super smart and really trainable. They definitely do not respect barriers! Goats are kind of notorious for escaping enclosures. I agree that a weekend check in doesn't sound very safe for them.
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Old 04-13-2013, 03:43 AM
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I currently have 3 goats and I agree that set up doesn't sound safe. Our goats go over, under and through fences like nobody's business. We had them in an area with chicken wire on one side when we first got them and by the time I gave up letting them graze in there, there was more holes in the fence than there was actual fence! The other side was sheep wire and post and railings and they learnt to push the wire down and then slip between the gaps to escape.

Electric fencing and tethering are the best ways of keeping them in. Tethering can be very dangerous though unless there is somebody watching them constantly. In our short time tethering we had so many accidents that I would never go back unless I had to. It also leaves them very vulnerable to attack.

Again goats are very social animals, you would need 2 as a minimum and personally for a set up like that I would choose males as they seen more willing to defend themselves whereas females are more likely to run.

A goat would need a shelter built as well. They can cope with most weather conditions but they hate rain, even on a wooded area I would ensure there was a shelter.

Water isn't such a big issue. Goats do not drink a lot so several buckets of water would easily last a week unless it freezes. The goat would definitely need someone checking every day over winter to make sure that the water isn't frozen.

And then there's food. 4 acres sounds a lot but I can tell you that 6-10 month's after you have put a goat on it there will be very little feed left unless you are willing to mange it by using an electric fence and moving them round so that the spots they've grazed have a chance to grow. Also if they're hungry, goats will eat bark so they may end up pretty much destroying the area unless they're kept a close eye on.
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:35 PM
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Oy sorry, never got a notification of replies! Thank you for all of the input

I'll suggest geese, I'd feel better leaving two kinds of birds together instead of birds and stock animals. I did convince my boss we'd need more than one; there's a little heard of 3 pygmies that need a home but they're so small I'm worried that even a determined hawk/eagle could pick them off.

He really wants a donkey but also wants to be able to bring his dogs often and I've read that the two don't mix. That's also another animal I doubt would do well out for a week. I also considered suggesting a llama but we'd need live fencing or at least a taller one.
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