for people who love the littlest dairy goats
I don't have any goats yet, but dream of it someday when we get our own property. I'm wondering, if you could buy your property with goats in mind, what would be the ideal kind of landscape for pasturing them? I'm assuming not open mown fields, since they are browers, not grazers--although that is the easiest thing to fence. On the other hand, overgrown pasture I've heard often has milkweed and other poisonous things for goats. What about woods? We have a lot of those here in New England!
Overgrown brushy areas are ideal. They love bushes and young trees. Google "goat landscaping," and you'll see lots of examples of what goats love.
Goats have a higher tolerance for toxic plants than most livestock. I still have not seen a truly accurate list of what is poisonous to them. You almost never hear of one getting poisoned. They also tend to ignore a lot of plants that would be poisonous for them as long as they have other food available. There was a woman on here several years ago who said her goats were in a pasture with oleander for months and totally ignored it until there was nothing else left to eat, and then they got sick, and one died. I think I've heard more stories of goats dying because they ate a plastic bag than a poisonous plant.
Thank you, that's very helpful!
We will be the first to admit that our goats are spoiled, but though they have lovely large paddocks with green grasses (and weeds) that many a sheep or cow would love, our girls and boys stand in one corner and then when hungry, wander back into the barn for the hay. We have noticed though that when we take them for walks down the lane way, etc., they really enjoy the browse of the leaves on the various small trees and bushes which grow there, mostly Australian natives such as Acacias, Banksias, Eucalypts, and Casuarinas, the Acacias being the favourite. We have noticed as well that they avoid some trees and will absolutely not take more than a leaf and then move on. This is the case with the tea trees (Leptospermums) which makes sense because there is a pungent oil which is used medicinally in a number of products (great as a treatment for lice on the heads of school kids, as we learned when our son was in early primary school).