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Goats cleaning off a fenceline

Goats cleaning up a fencelineI was a bit disappointed by our goats' inability to eat a thicket of weeds to the ground, but I've been thrilled at how well they do at cleaning honeysuckle off our fencelines.  Every evening, after walking the girls back to their coop, I move five cattle panels into a new arrangement to prepare for the next day.  Two panels lean up against the honeysuckle-covered fence, and the other three (and two fence posts and a bit of rope) complete the enclosure.

The next morning when I bring the goats to their new pasture, Abigail runs right for the honeysuckle and Artemesia soon follows suit.  They gorge for a couple of hours, then chew their cuds, then gorge again.  By dinnertime, that side of the fence is bare of honeysuckle leaves (although some stems remain, proving that the goats will have to regraze the same areas next year).

Honeysuckle on the fence

For the sake of comparison, the photos above show yesterday's fenceline (left) and the edge of tomorrow's fenceline (right).  After reading that honeysuckle leaves are equivalent in protein and total digestible nutrients to alfalfa hay, I can understand why our girls do such a good job removing the wily vine.

Goat eating cattails

Back when I was just reading about goats, I hadn't planned to let our new livestock within our core homestead.  In fact, I was going to keep them at least two fences away just in case the tame deer (which is how I thought of them) escaped and headed for my precious apple trees.  Now I'm thinking that maybe I overreacted.  The only goat escape from my cattle-panel tractors has been when I didn't tie one panel securely and our little doeling slid out through the gap...then grazed right beside the fence until I put her back in.

Now I'm thinking that goats are like chickens --- they don't want to put in the energy to escape as long as you keep them fat and happy.  The big question becomes: Can we keep the honysuckle buffet coming all winter?  Only time will tell!



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goats are a cosin to deer they dont eat off the grond well inless they are real hungery. katodin sheep are a good way to go kinda like a goat sheep combo. hair sheep. tom
Comment by Anonymous Thu Oct 23 10:38:53 2014

I am thinking about getting some goats to clean my fence line. Many questions. Can you use the milk from a goat who cleans a fence line and eats poison ivy? Do you tie the goats to the fence line, or is that impossible? If you can't tie them, how to you get them to stay on the fence line and not eat all the pasture? Cindy

Comment by Cindy Diveglia Tue Aug 15 15:24:39 2017

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime