[NAFEX] Fruit Tree and goat care

Lucky Pittman lucky.pittman at murraystate.edu
Tue Jul 11 13:10:54 EDT 2006

Goats are, by nature and design, BROWSERS, not grazers, so they 
prefer to eat leaves, buds, twigs, bark, etc., and usually, so long 
as they are browsing, things go just fine, but once they're reduced 
to having to graze low-growing forages, here in the Southeastern US, 
parasitism problems follow closely.   Fully 95% of the dead goats I 
see on a day-in/day-out basis have succumbed to the (barberpole) 
stomach worm, Haemonchus contortus, contracted from grazing pastures, 
rather than browsing rough, overgrown ground.
As I related to you earlier, "Goats were never intended to live and 
GRAZE in the hot, humid, Southeast".

I don't know about this 'getting into the mind of the doe', and 
devising inventive, distractive strategies...
Well, actually, I do!
I know what's in the mind of a goat!
If there's a tree/shrub/bush available, they're going to eat it to 
the ground and strip the bark off as high as they can reach.  It's 
what goats do - and don't believe for a minute that they can't or 
won't climb a tree, fence, or cage, either.

Check out this little discourse(linked below) on clearing brush with 
goats, from a discussion thread back in '95 on the Graze-L list; it's 
an overview of a study conducted at WVU on the efficacy of clearing 
overgrown pastures using goats, sheep, or cutting and herbicide usage 
- goats reduced brush cover(MF rose, hawthorn, greenbrier) from 45% 
to 15% in one year, and by year 5, brush cover was only 2%.
I've meant, through the years, to try to hunt down the full 
published(if it ever was) report, but just never got around to doing so.

Any fruit tree or berry bush that you value had better be fenced off.

In one discussion on effective fencing for containing(or excluding) 
goats, someone intimated that the only effective control was to pour 
a 10 ft high concrete wall, drop back 20 ft, build another concrete 
wall, fill the space in between with water, and stock it with sharks 
and piranhas.  A bit of overkill, but not by much.


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