Goat / Sheep Weed Abatement

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Nifty-Chicken, Nov 18, 2007.

  1. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator

    Okay all you people that have goats or sheep or know about weed abatement using these animals:

    We've got about 1.5 acre plot in our back that we usually have rototilled at the end of the season. I've heard about people renting out goats for mowing down weeds and had a few questions:

    1) It costs us about $400 each year to do this. Would rent-a-goat be cheaper?
    2) How long does it take a goat to clear 1.5 acres? Would it be safe to assume 2 goats would be half as long?
    3) The area is mostly fenced in, but there are some areas I'd need to close up. What kind of fence is required to keep goats secure?
    4) Are goats noisy? We've got neighbors on all sides of the yard.
    5) Where do I even go to get goats for this purpose.

    Basically, is there any other info / links people can provide would be excellent.
  2. carugoman

    carugoman Songster

    Nov 8, 2007
    NW FL Crestview
    Contrary to popular misconception,goats are picky eaters. They may not eat every blade of grass,if it doesn't appeal to them,nor will they bend down to eat the whole plant when they do like it. In fact,goats will go to great length to get their favorite food leaning over fences, going through fences and standing on hind legs to get that last piece of fruit on the top branch! Therefore,good strong fences and a watchful eye-either canine or human or both are required. Sheep,on the other hand,nibble everything in sight...all the way down to the root. Why not use a chicken tractor next time?
  3. Hi Nifty Chicken,
    I used 2 angora goats just for the same purpose, they ate the grass for a few days as that is the only thing that they knew, however then they realised that the tree branches were tastier and contained more roughage!
    So they stopped eating the grass and become rather finicky eaters so we had to buy in lucerne hay for them.
    So I would definately go for sheep, some people buy them young and fatten them up on their grass and then send them for processing and they return to you ready for sunday roast, heck what am i saying, you guys are turning me into a carnivore again, im veggie ok!
  4. hsm5grls

    hsm5grls Songster

    Oct 3, 2007
    I have heard that goats are pickey eaters. We had an american blackbelly sheep last year on our 1 1/4 acre and he did a good job clearing the grass and weeds. I would think two would be better though. It took him a while and they do get lonely. So two sheep would probably clear your acre faster and the sheep would be happier together. I had ours tied out to what ever part of the yard I wanted him to eat. Probably not the best situation but he was a buck and I couldn't let him loose. Too many kiddies around all the time.
  5. helmstead

    helmstead Songster

    Mar 12, 2007
    Alfordsville, IN
    Our goats aren't in the least bit picky...but they don't have a large enclosure like the horses do, it's more of a yard. So their choices are either hay or whatever green stuff is available. They LOVE green stuff!

    It would probably be cheaper to buy a couple goats than rent them, not to mention less liability. I'm not really familiar with renting goats though so what do I know!?

    Large breed goats can be contained in field fence with hot wire bottom, middle and top. You can even divide your field into quarters with a couple hot strands to make the foraging more effective. If you have a large loose dog population you'll also have to keep them OUT as dogs are a goat's #1 predator. Also, make sure your goats have NOT been disbudded so they can kind of protect themselves.

    Goats can be loud. Get does. They are quieter. Ours are super loud at feeding time and our closest neighbors hate them (but they never liked us anyway LOL).
  6. Betsy

    Betsy Songster

    Mar 24, 2007
    Northeast Indiana
    Five years ago my family visited the Wilson's Creek National Battlefield in Missouri and they were experimenting with goats to see how well they cleared a brushy area. I can't remember the kind of goat they had but I don't think they were dairy goats or angoras. We haven't been there since, but you might contact them and ask if the experiment was successful, what kind of goats they used etc.
  7. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Songster

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    Goats are foragers, they don't like the grass they like leafy things. Not only that, but they like to get into trouble, and yes, they can be noisy.

    Just look in the paper under weed mowing, and get somebody with a bush hog to come out and wack it all down. Probably only cost you $150 to do an acre and a half. Plus depending on where you live, if it's dry, then you won't have to do it very often. Here in Colorado, we usually only have to do peoples pastures once a year unless it's a really wet year then maybe twice.
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    People have used goats here to clear black berry bushes. Don't think they bother the grass. Looked into it for black berry bushes and was quoted $40 a week per goat, min two goats. They said 3-4 weeks for an acre of black berry bushes 4-8 feet high.
  9. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator

    Goats or sheep... I'm pretty easy as long as they get the job done. Are sheep noisy? Are sheep less inclined to try to escape?

    There are goats for sale on Craigslist... I'm almost tempted to go get me a few. [​IMG]
  10. mlheran

    mlheran Songster

    From what I've read goats seem to be best for shrubby weeds, and not as great for strictly grass-type weeds. I know that here in the Bay Area they bring in goats to clear the shrubby hillsides in fire season, but in the vineyards the Wooly Weeders come in (and other sheep, of course) since they ignore the vines and gorge on the ground weeds.

    I'm considering the same thing for our few acres of mainly grass-type weeds -though we also have some mustard, mallow, and some thistles and blackberries. From everything I've read it seems that sheep are best for pasture-type weeds and goats are best for the roughage-type weeds. The main downside seems to be that sheep are generally less "friendly" or pet oriented than goats tend to be.

    I'm in the same boat, so I'm watching this thread with interest! [​IMG]

    [edit] Forgot to say that the Wooly Weeders are VERY expensive to rent. When I first checked their site last spring they actually had prices, and for a few-acre job it was nearly $3000. That's when I decided to look into getting some goats or sheep of my own!
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2007

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