If you’re looking to do some landscaping but don’t want to hire someone or do it yourself, perhaps there is an animal out there that can get the job done for you. With a goat’s reputation for eating anything in its path, you may be wondering if goats are good for clearing brush.
Not only are goats capable of clearing brush, but they perhaps do it the best out of all farm animals. Goats eat whatever vegetation they can get their hands on, including invasive plants and weeds.
If you’re interested in learning more about why goats are perfect for helping clear brush on your property or have questions about using goats for clearing brush, read on!
Why Are Goats Ideal for Clearing Brush?
You’re not the first person to entertain the idea of using goats to clear weeds and brush from the land. In fact, a variety of human cultures have utilized goats’ chompy behavior for clearing brush for a very long time because they’re absolute pros at it.
Goats Can Digest Many Different Plant Types
You could say that goats are not very picky—at all. Their bodies can digest an incredible variety of regular or harmful plants that can be a nuisance to property owners.
In some goat breeds, this even includes an ability to digest a variety of poisonous plants and vines like poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac. And if you live in an area where an invasive species of plant has run wild, goats help take care of that, too.
Goats Are Less Intrusive than Machinery
Goats are a favorite choice for brush clearing due to their light and agile movements, which cause less damage to the land than other types of machinery; they can manage the brush in your yard or acreage without disturbing the soil or grass around it.
Goat Manure Can Fertilize Plants
Goat manure also provides nutrients to the soil, making them a top choice for gardeners as far as fertilizers go. It can offer essential nutrients for growing herbs, vegetables, and fruit alike. Goat manure is also less messy, doesn’t carry a harsh odor, and doesn’t attract nearly as many insects as much as cow or horse manure does.
Today, goats are rented out and used by local governments to clear brush and weeds in public spaces like roads, parks, and fields. If you’re looking to secure some of the benefits of goat landscaping for yourself, let’s take a look at how you can set up your enclosure and property to get the best out of what these goats do best naturally.
How to Use Goats to Clear Brush
There are two main factors to consider when using goats to clear brush. First is how to get and properly take care of the grazing goats, and second is sorting out how to set up your landscape to keep your goats happy and the plants you want around from being eaten. The following sections will address both of these concerns.
How Many Goats Should I Have?
How many goats you need to properly clear brush from your land is dependent on the size of your property. But there’s a safe rule of thumb you can use to decide based on your needs.
With ten goats, you can clear an acre of land in a month. However, you’ll need to make sure your goat at least has the minimum amount of space required for grazing: 30-50 square feet of land per goat (Source: Pets on Mom).
Goats are incredibly social creatures and will become depressed and not eat if they are left entirely alone, so it’s essential to make sure that no matter how small your lot size is, you’ve at least got one or two buddies for your goat so they’re all happy and can get the job done.
What Type of Goat Should I Get?
While most goats naturally love to clear brush and landscape on their own, there are a few breeds that are our favorite pick for clearing brush for various reasons. These include:
- Alpine goats: These large goats love clearing brush and are natural leaders. This helps with making sure all the goats work as a team to get the job done. Not only that, but alpine goats are large, so they can reach brush in high areas.
- Boer goats: Boer goats are mainly used for two purposes—meat production and brush clearing. This muscular breed has a lot of endurance, making them the perfect choice for clearing a lot of land in a short amount of time.
- Angora goats: Angora goats are the perfect choice for landowners who have many poisonous or thorny weeds that other breeds of goats may avoid such poison ivy, oak, and sumac, nettles, or briars—you name it.(Source: Goat Farmers).
- Pygmy goats: Pygmy goats are perfect for detailing. They’re a small breed and sit lower to the ground than other goat breeds, allowing them to eat weeds and brush low to the ground that other goats are uninterested in.
These goats are an excellent choice for clearing brush and come with their own set of benefits. Choose according to your land type and preferences!
Do I Need to Feed My Goat Other Foods, Too?
Goats require a variety of nutrients, which they absolutely get from clearing brush out of the land. However, it’s essential to make sure that your goat has plenty of nutrient-dense alfalfa hay or other goat foods available as well to make sure they’re eating as much as they need.
You can easily find these types of food at your local farm store or even on Amazon.com. Check out Purina Goat Feed or these alfalfa and timothy pellets.
How Should I Set Up My Goat’s Enclosure and Shelter?
Goats are extremely good at jumping and climbing—it’s what they do best in the wild! They’re also infamous for jumping on top of (and causing damage to) cars and other machinery.
So, you’ll want to make sure you get them properly fenced in (using a fence that’s high enough) to ensure they don’t escape or cause damage to areas of your property that you don’t want them interfering with; this also deters other common predators like coyotes from attacking your herd. A good rule of thumb is to ensure that your fence is 42 inches high to keep them from jumping over it and secured to the ground to keep them from climbing underneath the fence.
Set up your fence so that it only includes the areas of your property that you want the goats to interfere with. As we already know, goats are not picky. They’ll have a taste of those roses you worked so hard to grow if they get the chance, so it’s best to simply make sure their enclosure only includes the areas you want the goats to touch.
Goats also require an overnight shelter for them to stay in to protect them from harsh weather conditions. Make sure the shelter is ventilated and large enough for your whole herd.
If you can meet all of these requirements, goats very well may be a solution to your overgrown landscape problem! If you aren’t confident that you can keep them out of important areas or give them the proper space, food, and shelter they need, you may want to consider searching elsewhere for your landscaping problem.
Goats are a cost-effective solution to clearing brush from land, and the best part is that it’s what goats do best and love to do naturally. If you’re looking at alternative solutions to clearing brush from your land, consider choosing goats as a natural solution to your landscaping problems to save money and enjoy the presence of these dynamic creatures.