Raising Goats on Small Acreage

By: Joe Brown
By: Joe Brown

“They would rather eat the leaves off a tree, or the brush or yaupon, or even poison ivy or poison oak.”

That’s not to say goats won’t eat grass, but they clear land of weeds and brush before they get to the grass. Brazos county agent Eric Zimmerman says goats can be a much better choice than cattle for small land owners.

“You don’t have to have this huge working facility, and squeeze chute, so is it being a viable option for small land owners in this country, probably so, because the labor, and the equipment needed, are a lot less.”

“If you’ve only got 5 or 6 acres, set them up in 1 acre traps, and rotate your traps each week, so that by the time a month has passed, or 5 weeks have passed, you’re able to bring the goats back onto fresh grass.”

Washington County goat rancher Mike Vader says pasture rotation also helps with managing stomach worms.

“Your parasite control is done because you’ve got good hot sun shining on it, the grass has had a chance to grow up, and it’s had a little bit of a rest.”

Predators are usually discouraged by having dogs or donkeys live with the herd.

“Predators being coyotes and bobcats, or neighbors’ dogs. “

“I have net fence up here by the pens, but with most part of my fence, it’s got two strands of hot wire on the inside run to a charge that produces 10,000 volts.”

Zimmerman says there’s one other hurdle to get past.

“Be willing to get rid of the thought process of ‘I’m a goat farmer. We’re in Texas, we’re in cattle country, you know I’m 3 hours south of cow town, Oh I’m a goat farmer.”

I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.

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