GoatDairyLibrary.org          A database of materials for the commercial goat milk producer
Table of Contents

Bibliography

Building/Planning  A-L

Building/Planning M

Building/Planning N-Z

Conformation  

Conversions

Definitions

Diseases A-B

Diseases C-E

Diseases F-K

Diseases L-O

Diseases P-Q

Diseases R-Z

Diseases Misc.

Forms

Grazing

Medical A-D

Medical E-M

Medical N-R

Medical S-Z

Milk Production  

Nutrition Categories

Nutrition General

Nutrition Grouping

Nutrition Links

Nutrition Rations

Plans

Producers Tips  

Reference

Reproduction 

Seminar Notes

Settng Up

Value added.

Grazing  Goats on Pasture and Browse

Adaptive advantages that enable goats to graze successfully

An innate ability to select the most nutritional plants, and the most nutritional parts of those plants

An ability to grasp and tear, enabling them to eat a multitude of plants other animals cannot eat.

A tolerance for bitter taste enabling them to eat plants other animals will not eat. 
(For example, tannin-producing plants which have natural deworming properties.)

A preference for eating forage higher than their knee level.  (above parasite level)

The ability to store liquid in the rumen, which allows them to survive without water for up to 4 days.

Fat storage in the abdomen which allows them to survive without food for up to 4 days.

(Smith)

Benefits of grazing

Grazing offers higher nutritional value than that achieved by haying off the same field. 
This is due to the goat’s ability to select the highest nutritional quality among the forage offered.

Being outdoors prevents diseases that thrive in damp, dark barns

Grazing reduces feed waste.

Goats carefully walk and nibble their way through fields, with minimal damage to stands of grass and legumes, and they deposit manure and urine that fertilize the pasture.

Goats dislike fines and prefer whole grains.  You can eliminate the expensive loss of feedstuffs from fines produced in confinement feeding systems.

Grazing saves the farmer time in the barn, as there is no forage to haul to the barn to feed, or to clean up after the goats are done eating.

Grazing minimizes the need for large, expensive machinery and reduces trucking costs to bring in purchased hay.

Goats can clean up a neglected pasture to prepare a place for other animals to graze. 
When clearing pasture of weeds and brush, rotate the goats through the weedy areas more frequently than you would a regular rotation, so they repeatedly eat off the growth buds.  That way the weeds can’t renew their root resources and they die out, leaving only good pasture behind.  (See before and after pictures of this type of “weeding” at: http://www.ansc.purdue.edu/meatgoat/companion%20pastures.htm )

Minerals  are more available from forages in pasture than those in grains or in rock form.  

Grazing increases the flavor in milk products. 
At Langston University Goat Research Center, they found that the soft Egyptian Domiati goat cheese had the best flavor when mid-lactation goats were pastured in June and July, and had little or no grain supplementation.  Adding high levels of grain to grazing goats, decreased the cheese flavor and increased the somatic cell count.  (Langston) 

Challenges of grazing

Goats will initially resist change, just like people.  When you don’t give them the hay they’re used to, and put them out to graze, they will holler their heads off for about 4 days.   After that they will settle down and start grazing.  The key is stick to your guns.  Do not give in and feed hay when they go in to be milked. (Hart and Min)

Goats don’t like rain and wind.  You must provide a moveable shelter. 

Grazing must be managed, and this takes some producer time. 

You must set up temporary fences ahead of where you are currently grazing, so you can move the goats when they need to be moved.  This is easy with spool type reels that hook over the perimeter fence, and pigtail posts that quickly and easily push into the ground.  You can set up several at once when you have time. So you only have to do this occasionally. (Kencove Farm Fencing)

You must move the shade/shelter when you change paddocks. (once or twice a week)

You have to go out and bring the goats in for milking and treatments.  Other options that have been used:  

Have a mobile milking parlor and take it to the goats

Design your parlor in the center of the field so that all paddocks lead to the parlor (New Zealand model)  

You must pay attention to the pasture itself so you don’t damage it.

Exterior fencing and interior, moveable fencing costs money.

Grazing is seasonal in the northern part of the United States, requiring that you cut and store pasture forages (hay or wrapped hay for baleage), or buy forages for winter feeding.

Milk production decreases slightly on pasture, but that loss in income is more than made up for in reduced production costs, reduced vet and medicine bills and reduced labor time in cleaning the barn and carrying feed.

Effect of grazing on milk production and components

A 2005 study at Langston University, found that "high levels of milk production could be obtained on pasture alone, and that response to concentrate supplementation is dependent on pasture quality."  They said that milk production would be lower if goats were grazed without supplementation, but that it might be cost effective not to supplement.  (Lower feed costs can quickly offset milk production losses.)  They found that dairy goats grazing fresh forages without supplementation can produce 3.8 kg/day (8.36 lb.)   Higher production than that would require supplementation.  They supplemented at two levels, and found that 0.33 kg supplement /kg of milk produced over 1.5 kg (0.76 lb. of supplement /lb of milk over 3.3 lb.)  was adequate to increase production.  There was no advantage to feeding the higher level of 0.66 kg/kg of milk produced over 1.5 kg, (1.45 lb/lb milk produced over 3.3 lb) since higher supplementation did not increase milk yield or milk protein.  They said that diets with low levels of supplementation are more cost effective and that the response to supplementation is highest when forage quality is low.  If forage is adequate, then supplementation had a less profound effect.   

Their pasture contained wheat, berseem clover, wheat/ryegrass, sudangrass and crabgrass.  They used a 7 day rotation to provide 2-4 kg (4.4 - 8.8 lb.) of dry matter per day. Their does kidded March to April.  A Panacur drench was given before they started grazing and was given again if Fecal Egg Counts exceeded 800 eggs / gram of feces during the lactation period.  Fecal egg counts were done once a month using a modified McMaster Technique.  The goats were milked twice a day at 7am and 4 pm.  

(Min)

Feeding behavior of goats on pasture 

Diet choice and feeding behaviors are influenced by previous behavior.  Goats raised in confinement since birth, will be slow to adjust to grazing.  But once over the initial resistance to change, goats will eat pastures containing forage grasses such as orchard grass and rye grass.  They will eat chicory, and legumes such as red clover and alfalfa.  In one southern study, testing food preferences, the goats preferred chicory, red clover and orchard grass when allowed to select their own feed.  Their preferences were not related to the quality of the forage, only to type.  When offered two patterns of eating, one where types of grasses were planted in separate areas, and one where they were all mixed together, goats preferred the areas where they could eat just what they wanted to, rather than getting a mixture in one bite.  The researchers decided that combining the “preferred” forage species with familiar forage species is the best option for planting, or the goats would only graze their favorites and not get enough variety in their diet..  Goats that previously had a predominance of corn in their diet or who were relocated before grazing and thus were already upset, did not graze as well as those familiar with grazing.   (Burgess)

Goats graze from the top down.  They do not like to graze close to the ground.  They  have been observed to 

1) select grass over clover 

2) prefer browse over herbaceous plants 

3) graze along fence lines before grazing the center of a pasture 

4) refuse to graze forage that has been trampled and soiled. 

It is better to put them into a small section of the pasture and to move the fence as needed, rather than to let them roam freely.  (Yoder)

Young goats graze better than their parents, who have been raised in confinement.  (Brewer)

Grazing management goals

to ensure adequate nutrition

to maximize goat health by reducing disease and controlling parasites

to maintain the integrity of the pasture or browse area.

Green feeding (zero grazing)

If you decide you don't want to graze, an alternative is "green feeding"" where you green chop the pasture and bring the feed to the goats. (Called zero grazing)

They have the benefit of fresh grass and legumes, without the parasites.  (Considine, Dairy Goats For Pleasure and Profit, page 65)  

Note: you must cut higher than 5 " from the ground to avoid parasites.

 Managed, intensive (rotational) grazing, with moveable interior fencing

Managed grazing means that the majority of the goat’s nutritional needs are met on pasture.  No hay is fed in the barn, except during the winter or in bad weather. Grain is fed at milking, and only to supplement the forage as needed.  (You test the pasture grass so you know whether you need supplementing at all, then give only what is absolutely necessary.) 

Paddocks are formed with moveable fencing, and the goats are moved every few days, allowing them to have fresh pasture, and enabling the area they left to regenerate. 

This method allows you to control what the goats are eating, and avoids letting them eat too low on the plants since parasites abound on the lower 5" of the plants.

Managed grazing does not mean feeding hay in the barn and then letting the goats wander through a field.  In this scenario, the goat will have little incentive to eat from the pasture.  

The more you offer supplements in the parlor, the less the does will be driven to graze. http://www.uvm.edu/sustainableagriculture/SRDPspring05.PDF

You must have a parasite control program in place.  See Don Bliss's Parasite Program on the Seminar Notes page, and in the medical section of this website under Parasites...

Pasture gate               fence hook                 pasture reel 

                                 Gate post                                 Portable fencing hook to attach to permanent fencing                Portable wire reel stringing wire to pigtail posts

hooking reel on fence               red clip                  pasture grass

               Hooking reel to permanent fencing                        Hooking clip from permanent to portable fencing                                          The pasture

Maintaining the integrity of the pasture

Control stocking rate and stocking density for each paddock at rates appropriate for stand density.

Graze the paddock uniformly by adjusting goat numbers or by adjusting paddock size

Move the goats when they have defoliated the area to a desired stubble height ( Note: 5” for parasite control) and before they start re-grazing the new growth.

Rotate back to the first paddock before it has become too mature to meet the goats nutritional requirements. (Brown-Crowder) 

Stocking rate for goats on pasture 

5 goats per acre on pasture (Greene, Understanding Pasture Stocking Rate and Carrying Capacity)

6 goats per acre on improved or native pasture. 10 goats per acre on browse.  (Brown-Crowder) 

Time between grazings

 Start grazing when grass is 8-10 inches. Animals can eat more at that height, with the least effort    

How often you move the goats depends on the carrying capacity of the land, that is , the amount and quality of the available grass. (Greene)

Generally, do not regraze land for at least 30 days, especially where there is a lot of alfalfa because you will reduce the stand.  Also to avoid parasite reinfection. (Greene, Maintaining..)     

Meeting nutritional needs on pasture

The goat’s basic nutritional requirements can be met entirely with good quality pasture. (See table below for definitions of pasture quality.) Supplementation is only required to meet increased nutritional needs due to growth, pregnancy and lactation. (see Nutrition section for supplementation levels for those stages.)

Test pasture forages so that you know how much supplement is needed.

Supplement with grain by moving the animals to a separate grain field 2 hours a day, or by feeding grain at milking time, but ;limit it to just what is needed, or you suppress the need to graze..

Minerals: Use 0.75-1 oz. or 24-30 grams per day for mature goats on pasture.  Note: Consumption of mineral may be excessive immediately after introduction to the mineral, but it will generally level off after 10-14 days.  Copper should be 25-30 parts per million (ppm). (This section summarized from Machen, Minerals) 

Build a PVC mineral feeder that clamps onto fence posts.  Here are the directions:  PVC Mineral Feeder

Methods of seeding / reseeding pasture

Select late maturing varieties that are palatable, adapted to grazing and persist well in your area.

Soil test pastures and bring them up to recommended nutrient and pH levels.

If you don’t have machinery to seed the pasture, you can:

add some forage seed to the mineral mix (5 lb. of see to 50 lb. mineral mix), then put the animals on pasture.  They will "deposit" the seed, walk it into the ground, fertilize it and water it for you!

allow a pasture of established legumes to go to seed, graze that field and then move the animals to the pasture you wanted reseeded, letting them deposit the seen for you..

add the seed to the manure in your manure spreader and spread it with the manure. (Daigle)

Parasite control on pasture

You can use dewormers or you can try some the sustainable methods below.  (Remember that parasites are becoming increasingly resistant to dewormers, so eventually we will all have to learn to control parasites without them.)  You will need to use a combination of techniques.  

Sustainable methods:

  • parasite peak period avoidance: shifting goats from permanent pasture to annual pasture or browse areas, and remaining off permanent pasture until parasite load decreases. (PPPP=permanent pasture promotes parasites)
  • haying off the permanent pasture (exposing parasites to sunlight)
  • cultivating the permanent pasture to destroy parasite load
  • not allowing goats to graze below 5” on the stem. (larva is found on the lower 4” of forage stems)
  • selectively breeding goats who do not get high parasite loads (natural resistance) and culling those who do.
  • planting tannin-producing plants that have natural anthelmintic properties. (Langston University, Texas A&M and Purdue)

Treatments with chemicals:

Dr. Bliss Method: Treat the goats on dry lot prior to moving the goats out to pasture. (If you use Safeguard Block you will need to start sooner that if you give paste form  It takes a while to lick enough of the block to be effective. See Medical section, Dr. Bliss method for instructions on using block dewormers.)

Check worm levels with a FAMACHA chart, and body score the goat.  Record results on the BCS, Weight and Parasite Scoring chart from the Forms section. 

Withhold grain for 24 hours before deworming so they will eat the dewormer. 

Use dewormers by mouth.  Do not use pour-ons, as goats do not usually have sufficient body fat to prevent nerve damage to the spine from pour on dewormers).

Use twice the cow dosage for all dewormers except Levamisole.  Use Levamisole at 1 times the cow dose. Most people would assume that because a goat is smaller than a cow, it should get a smaller dosage of drugs, but that is not true.  You also have to take into account the ability of the animal to process the drugs in it's body.  Drugs move through a goat's digestive system much faster than through a cow's system, so not as much of the drug gets absorbed..  You have to give a higher dose, as much of it gets washed out of the system.  The reason a goat's body processes things faster is because they have small bodies and don't have room to store as much food.  Thus they eat more often and process the food quickly in order to get nutrients.  A cow on the other hand, has a lot of body room for food storage, so drugs stay in a cow's system longer and there is more time to absorb the drug.

Keep them in the dry lot for at least 24 hours after giving the dewormer, to allow them to release the parasite eggs on the dry lot. Then move them to pasture, and disinfect the dry lot with Virkon, or use a separate place in the pasture to keep them after deworming and never use it for anything else but deworming.

Check FAMACHA levels a week later to make sure the drug is working.  You should see a 95% reduction in worm load.  If you don’t, then your herd is resistant to the drug you are giving.  Switch to a different class of dewormer and repeat treatment. (See Medical section under “Parasites” for dewormer classifications.

Repeat application of dewormer every 21 days, three times during grazing season to control parasite load. 

(see Medical section under Parasites, and read the Parasite Seminar notes here for more information on parasite treatments.)  

Pasture forages for the southern U.S.

Legumes * Grasses
Alfalfa Bermudagrass
Soybeans Sorgum, sorghum sudan grass
Peanuts Orchardgrass
Clovers (red, ladino) Tall Fescue
Trefoil Timothy
Lespedeza Oats
  Timothy
  Bluegrass

* legumes thrive on a soil pH above 6.7
(Adapted from Mauchen, What About Hay? and Greene, Maintaining Permanent Pastures for Livestock) 

Pasture forages for the tropics

The best resource for grazing goats in the tropics is Christie Peacock's book,  Improving Goat Production in the Tropics: A Manual For Development Workers.  Published by Oxfam/FARM-Africa. 1996.  You can buy it at www.Amazon.com.

You can also find information on grazing goats and finding food resources by searching the FAO database, http://www4.fao.org/faobib/

Pasture forages for Wisconsin livestock grazing

This information is based on Wisconsin plants, and temperatures in the winter that may extend below -20 degrees F., and in the summer,  above 100 degrees F.  People in the Southern U.S. may find the links under the Value Added-Meat goat section to be helpful, as much of the research on grazing goats in the south is contained in those articles.  For people in the tropics, Christie Peacock's book Improving Goat Production in the Tropics: A Manual For Development Workers is a very useful resource.

Cool season grasses:

Kentucky bluegrass-easily survives on infertile, overgrazed pastures but produces good yields only if heavily fertilized.

Orchardgrass-has a higher yield than timothy and smooth Bromegrass and recovers more rapidly after grazing but is extremely competitive.  Grow a competitive legume such as red clover with it to control it.

Reed canary grass-will grow in flood areas.  It is difficult to establish, but is extremely persistent.  Plant the new alkaloid-free varieties.  It has the potential to invade and displace native plant communities, especially where there are heavy silt deposits or other soil disturbances.

Smooth bromegrass-recommended pasture forage for southern Wisconsin because of it’s high yield potential, high quality and good legume compatibility.  It should be grown with other forages, since it doesn’t produce a lot of re-growth when grown alone. 

Tall fescue-not recommended for pastures because of reduced palatability and persistence.  However, it works well where you have heavy traffic.  Will withstand a lot of trampling, and it’s fall growth is superior.  It is commonly used in grass waterways since it establishes rapidly.  Use fungus-free see if you intend to graze it.

Timothy-recommended pasture forage for northern Wisconsin because of it’s high yield potential, high quality and good legume compatibility.  It should be grown with other forages, since it doesn’t produce a lot of re-growth when grown alone.  It has a poor tolerance for heat and drought.

Warm season grasses:

Big bluestem-native warm-season grass, which complements cool season grass.  Slow to establish.  Doesn’t compete well with weeds, but once established it is vigorous and persistent. 

Switchgrass-native warm-season grass, which complements cool season grass.  Slow to establish.  Poor competitors with weeds, but once established is vigorous and persistent.  Lower in quality than Big Bluestem, but easier to establish and lower cost.

Sudangrass- annual.  Can grow to 6-7’.  Provides thick stand.  Goats will refuse sourghum sudan grass larger than a pencil. (Machen, What About Hay?)

Legumes: (thrive on pH above 6.7)

Alfalfa/grass-highest yielding legume with excellent summer re-growth.  Drought tolerant.  Persistent.  Doesn’t tolerate flooding.  Will not tolerate overgrazing.  Bloat can be a problem.

Birdsfoot trefoil-It maintains quality better than any other legume or grass.  It is a good choice for stockpiling.  It doesn’t cause bloat.  it grows well on poor soils.  It is the most persistent legume.  It is difficult to establish, relatively low yielding and does not tolerate drought.  It is easy to overgraze this plant.

Red Clover/grass-Persists from 3-4 years.  It is high yielding.  It is the easiest and fastest legume to establish.

Alternative forages

Oats
Winter rye
Winter wheat

(Undersander et.al.) 

Pasture mix specifically recommended for pastured goats in Shawano County, Wisconsin

6 lbs. of trefoil, 2 lbs. timothy, 4-5 lbs. meadow fescue

(Larry Brummond, Grazing Land Specialist, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA)

Pasture planting recommendations by soil type, for Wisconsin livestock

Soil Type Seed Recommendations Lbs. of pure
live seed/acre
Very poorly drained or flood prone soils Mix A. Reed Canary Grass 8-10 #
  Annual or perennial Rye (or light cover crop) 2 #
    Birdsfoot Trefoil, Alsike or Red Clover 6 #
Mix B. Smooth Brome grass or orchard grass 12-14 #
            Birdsfoot Trefoil, Alsike or Red Clover 6#
    Annual or Perennial Rye (or light cover crop) 2#
Somewhat poorly drained to well drained soils Mix A. 2 legumes: 
  either Red, Alsike, or Ladino Clover 
  (or) Birdsfoot trefoil
6 #
    Smooth Brome grass 6-8 #
    Annual or perennial ryegrass (or light cover crop) 2 #
    Kentucky Bluegrass 2 #
Mix B. Reed Canary Grass or Orchard grass 12-14 #
    Annual or Perennial Rye (or light cover crop) 2#
    Birdsfoot trefoil, Ladino or Red Clover 6#
Mix C. Perennial Ryegrass 30 #
           White Dutch or Ladino Clover 2#
Excessively well drained soils Mix A: Alfalfa, Ladino or Red Cover 6-8 #
           Smooth Bromegrass or Reed Canary grass 8 #
    Annual or Perennial Ryegrass (or light cover crop) 2 #

(Undersander et.al.)

Planning birthing to make best use of pasture forage

 If you want to kid on pasture*, in order to make best use of pasture forage, kidding should be planned for a time when pasture is rapidly growing:

Plan a late spring birthing for warm season forages such as Bermuda grass, native range, browse and forbes.

Plan a fall or early spring birthing  for cool season grasses such as rye grass, wheat, Orchard grass and fescue.  Cool season grasses produce less per acre, but it is higher quality energy and protein.  Rapidly growing pasture is high in protein and energy. (Langston, Training, Nutrition section p. 26)  

(* kidding on pasture should be used only for dairy goats that have been tested and are CAE free on at least two consecutive tests, so the babies can safely suckle.  Otherwise, teats must be taped shut to prevent suckling, and the colostrum has to be milked out for bottle feeding.  It may be difficult to move new mothers to the barn from the pasture, necessitating hand milking, or using an Udderly Easy Milker. (See the Equipment supplier list in the reference section.) Mothers that have already given birth will have to be kept separately from those who have not, to avoid having the babies suckle on milking mothers.)

Training Goats To Electric Fence  

Please let me know if you find another method of training.  The following method was all I could locate, and it may be objectionable to some farmers.

Parsons Method 

If you choose to use electric fence, Train the goats to respect the fence in a small area before releasing them to a large area.  If you don’t do this, they will be out all the time.  This is not good for you or for the goat. 

Set aside a small area for training, so they are sure to touch the fence. 

Two people should be standing right there when doing the training.  

When the goats are first shocked they may go right through the fence, so be ready to grab them or you may play chase all afternoon. 

You might put a second row of fence around the first so they can’t get away so easily.. 

It may take repeated lessons for some goats to accept that they can’t go through the fence. 

Once they learn the lesson they will continue to test the fence with their whiskers occasionally to make sure it is still on.

If you are using woven netting, the goats may really get tangled up until they catch on.  One person can go and turn off the fencer while the other works to get the goat loose.   

If the goats are not touching the fence: 

1) Wrap strips of peanut buttered aluminum foil on the fence. (Leave enough bare to wrap around the wire.)

2) Drill a hole in a metal bottle cap.  Run a piece of wire through the hole, then fill the cap with peanut butter. Tie the wire to the fence and turn on the charger.

3) Put grain right along the fence line.  Do not leave the area.

4) Some goats have heavy hair and won’t be shocked unless they touch bare skin on the wire.  If a goat is constantly putting its head through the fence and is not getting shocked, this may be the problem.  You may need to dampen their neck before putting them in.  This is not done to be cruel.  They have to get an effective jolt in order to learn not to touch the fence.  If not, then they will be out all the time, and you will be upset and angry with them, and this affects their milk production as well as eating up your time.  (Parsons)

To see examples of exterior fencing and movable interior paddock fencing for goats, with installation information and costs, see:

Premier Fencing  at http://www.premier1supplies.com/fencing.php?species_id=2

Kencove Fencing http://www.kencove.com/Planning.php

Watering system for pastures

Producer Tip: An excellent watering system can be laid out right on top of the pasture soil.  Black plastic water pipes are laid out in a grid that makes sense with where you want your paddocks to be.  In each paddock, you put in a Plasson Coupler that attaches to a portable water tank with one click.  When you are ready to move the goats, disconnect the water tank, dump the water and move the tank to the next paddock.  Click it in place and you are set up to water again.  (You can buy the Plasson couplers at Kencove Farm Fence http://www.kencove.com/fence/.  Even better, get their excellent catalog.  It is full of helpful information for laying out fence and water pipe.)   We have used this system for ten years, and it still works great.  We've had cows and goats stepping on the pipe, and hay harvested right over it.  Once in a great while you will spring a leak, but it is easily taped up, and if the pipe has to be replaced, it is easy to cut another piece  of pipe with a utility knife.  You can get the black water hose at any farm supply store, Menards, Fleet Farm or Home Depot.   (M. Flores, Red River Farm LLC)
two parts of plasson coupler
Two parts of the Plasson Coupler, and the Hudson Valve.  The yellow capped part of the coupler attaches to the black plastic water pipe in each paddock with pipe clamps.  The plain end of the coupler attaches to the hose on the portable water barrel.
plasson watering systemThis is what the Plasson coupler looks like when attached to the black water pipe in the pasture.

 portable barrel pipe and hose         barrel outside       portable barrel, inside   

This is the homemade portable water barrel that we use.  It is sturdy and can be dragged anywhere you need it. 

This one has been used for both cattle and goats for over 10 years and is still in usable condition.

It has standard metal water pipe fittings bolted to half a food grade barrel.

Add a hose to the outside pipe, and screw the plain end of the Plasson coupler on the end of the hose.. 

In the field, attach the other half of the coupler (with the yellow cap in the picture above, to the pipe in each paddock. 

You can walk up to the yellow capped fitting, flip open the cover and click in the hose end from the barrel. 

Arrange the barrel as you like it, and watch it fill.   The Hudson valve makes sure it doesn't overflow and allows it to refill automatically as the goats dringk. 

You will need to take the Hudson valves apart and clean them periodically. Better yet, keep the barrels clean so they don't get algae that clogs the valve!

 Keep extra couplers and Hudson valves on hand.

(For more information on this barrel see the Producer Tips page.)                                     

Get more information on water, tank capactiy, and other information on the Building and Planning N-Z page.

Links:

ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture website for goats: http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/PDF/dairygoats.pdf.   Excellent resource.  Emphasis on sustainable agriculture.

Beginning Grazier Information Packet   If you want to learn everything you need to know about grazing in Wisconsin, this is the manual to buy.  It was written by Paul Daigle, Marathon County (WI) Conservation, Planning and Zoning, and Paul Nehring, of GrassWorks, Inc.  It is $17.50, plus shipping, and you can order one by emailing Paul Nehring at pmnehring@mail.co.marathon.wi.us.  It is worth every dime.

Clearing weeds and browse with goats (with pictures) http://www.bae.ncsu.edu/programs/extension/wqg/northcreek_images/spooner.pdf

Common Plants Poisonous to Livestock in Maryland http://www.agnr.umd.edu/MCE/Publications/PDFs/FS721.pdf

Companion pastures http://www.ansc.purdue.edu/meatgoat/companion%20pastures.htm  Pictures of a pasture before and after grazing for one year, showing decrease in weeds and increase in healthy grass   SIPAC Southern Indiana Purdue Agriculture Center.   

EQUIP website  (provides financial assistance for environmental costs--pasture as erosion control, fencing etc) .http://www.wi.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip.html    

Forage based dairy goat management http://www2.luresext.edu/goats/library/field/hart02.html

Frequent Cutting Shaves Yield, Life (Frequent early cutting (of alfalfa through a season increases nutritive value, but significantly cuts yields and kills off the plants in one growing season.)  Wisconsin Agriculturist, August 2006 p. 27

Grazing Management  http://www.agnr.umd.edu/MCE/Publications/PDFs/FS786.pdf   Very good overview of grazing management.  

Goat Nutrition and Feeding, Oklahoma Meat Goat Conference 2006.  Excellent, concise overview of what to feed and when to feed it.  Based on latest research from Langston Universities La Kika De Garza Goat Research programs. (The link is so long, it may be best to just Google the title to find the article. file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/Local%20Settings/Temporary%20Internet%20Files/Content.IE5/N4RWTLZV/Goat%2520Nutrition%2520and%2520Feeding%2520-%2520JACK%2520WALLACE%5B1%5D.ppt#256,1,Oklahoma Meat Goat Conference 2006

Livestock Grazing Distribution Patterns: Does Age Matter?   http://www.cnr.uidaho.edu/range556/Appl_BEHAVE/projects/livestock_distribution.html

Maintaining Permanent Pastures for Livestock  http://www.agnr.umd.edu/MCE/Publications/PDFs/FS720.pdf  This is a good article about general pasture management, but be aware that this publication is for all livestock, so when it recommends starting grazing when low-growing grasses are 4-6 inches high and then removing livestock after grazing when the grass is 3-5 inches long for tall growing grasses and 1-2 inches for Kentucky bluegrass, that you cannot do that with a goat.  They need to never eat below 5" from the ground in order to avoid parasites.

Management: Equipment for establishing and maintaining pasture. http://www.agnr.umd.edu/MCE/Publications/PDFs/FS771.pdf  

Managing Pastures for Goats.   http://www.milkproduction.com/library/articles/managing_pastures_for_goats.htm

NRCS Pasture Condition Score Sheet  ftp://ftp-fc.sc.egov.usda.gov/WI/grazing/pasture-score-sheet.pdf

Paddock Design, Fencing, and Water Systems for Controlled Grazing (IP152)    http://www.attra.ncat.org./attra-pub/paddock.html

Pasture legume identification guide with pictures: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/04-057.htm (use search feature to find “legume identification”

Reducing parasites on pasture with lespedeza grass http://www.sheepandgoat.com/news/Dec2003.html#worms

The Dirty Dozen: Identifying Pasture Weeds   http://clean-water.uwex.edu/pubs/pdf/add.pastureweeds.pdf

Traditional and Non Traditional Forage Species Mixtures (meat goat study which shows which pasture grasses goats prefer. http://www.sare.org/reporting/report_viewer.asp?pn=GNC02-008&ry=2004&rf=1

Understanding Pasture Stocking Rates and Carrying Capacity http://www.agnr.umd.edu/MCE/Publications/PDFs/FS788.pdf

What About Hay? at http://animalscience.tamu.edu/ansc/publications/sheeppubs/ASWeb079-goathaypdf.pdf

What Range Herbivores Eat and Why  http://animalscience.tamu.edu/ansc/publications/sheeppubs/B6037-rangeherbivores.pdf

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This picture shows what happens when grazing is not controlled.  This is Ethiopian government-owned pulic grazing land after several years of drought. 

The important thing to understand is that even this land could be reclaimed through the use of rotational grazing, allowing rest periods so that the grass can rejuvenate itself.

In the early 1970's German aid workers turned similar land in Afghanistan into lush pastureland in 3 years time. (Interview with Peace Corps worker Steve Weerts.  Served in Afghanistan 1971-1973)

denuded land(Picture from AMAREW site at http://www.oired.vt.edu/amarew/photos/)

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