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Hello all,

 

I was wondering what all of you who have herds/flocks would suggest how many meat goats we could successfully run on a .5 acre pasture with supplemental feed (hay)? We’re considering about 10 does and 2 bucks (to be housed seperatly.)

 

A little background: I live in Northern Nevada. The winters as of late have been fairly mild since I don’t live that close to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. If we do get snow, it often melts by midday unless it is still snowing. Even then it is gone within a few days. I already have an old horse shed that my parents used for rabbits and Nubian goats when I was little.

 

ETA: Planning on having Tennessee Meat Goats

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Is that .5 or 5 acres? If it's .5 that sure sounds like a lot of goats. What is your grass like? Snow would not be my issue but grass would. I'd hate to have to feed only hay and with that small a place I would think they'd knock it down pretty quickly.

 

But I don't live in Nevada and I have sheep so guess goats could be different???

 

I live in MO and have about 17 acres mostly in pasture. I am building a flock right now. My goal is to get about 20-25 ewes on the property to see if it can handle that many. I will adjust accordingly. When I first moved here I kept the few sheep I had (8 ewes + lambs) in a dry lot and the barn. It was costly having to pay for what I put in their mouths.

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Agree ^^

 

We have a 1 acre pasture near the house and can nicely keep 4 sheep on it in a decent year. They graze spring-fall. In early June it's usually growing too fast for them to keep up with so we're able cut/bale it for hay to feed in the winter.

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The small pasture is only a half acre. We plan on buying the lots to either side of use once they owner is willing to sell. The plan is to rotate the groups from one side to the other. It has a rye, kentucky blue, and crabgrass mix on it now. without kritters keeping it down we are mowing it down every 4-5 days to keep it like a "lawn". The same mix covers the rest of our 1.25 acer property.

 

How many should we consider if we are not supplimenting the pasture?

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Ok, thank you all.

 

Cynthia, that is what we are surrounded by lol. Sasgebrush on all sides including our neighbors properties.... maybe we can work out some "weed control" arangment with them. It is going to be about 6-8 months before we get our goats to our property and wanted to find out what would do best, pluse have fencing and shelters in place before hand.

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Another thing to keep in mind is that goats on limited pasture are highly susceptible to parasite problems. Resistance to dewormers is a huge problem in some of these situations.

 

Your local agriculture extension agency should be able to tell you the appropriate stocking rate for your area. The grass may seem great now, but other parts of the year you'd be essentially dry-lotting those goats based on 10/acre.

 

You may want to reconsider having 2 bucks. They may not get along, especialy in such close quarters.

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I agree with everyone else has said. Ten goats on half an acre seems like a lot, though as Emily said, you should ask your local extension agent to confirm appropriate stocking rates for your area, and if you have time to graze them in areas outside of the pasture then you might be able to make it work.

 

Right now, I have 33 aheep and it's too many for the pasture I have. I have 5 pastures I can rotate through, the largest is probably 5 acres, and the smallest is probably 1/2-3/4 acre. I have had the whole flock on the 1/2-acre patch, but they eat it down in no time. Of course, my pastures are planted in native grasses (and weeds), so my stocking rate is lower than what it would be if the pasture were planted in classic pasture/hay grass like, say, fescue.

 

The ideal stocking rate here is probably 12-15 ewes. My numbers are up right now because I still have some of last year's lambs (yearlings) and this year's lambs. I'm trying to mitigate that by rotating often and also by some supplementation (for example, I'm feeding the sheep that are being used for dog training).

 

I keep two rams, and frankly, it can be a PITA. I keep them separate from the ewe flock at least part of the year (since I have some ewe breeds that will breed out of season), and also separate from each other (though I'm working to remedy that), and it requires a lot of additional management. I'm not sure if goats can be bad about fighting, but if so, and you've invested in two of them, then you'll need to consider how you're going to deal with it so that one doesn't inadvertently kill the other.

 

If I had an independent source of income and could spend multiple hours in a day trailing the sheep around the open areas, which are largely fescue, I could keep a lot more of them because I could give them access to extra forage outside of their pastures, but unfortunately, I can't do that and still earn a living to help pay for keeping the sheep! :)

 

J.

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^^lol! I have a dear friend whose bucks were kept near the house and I can attest to the extreme stinky factor. My rams smell musky, but you have to be pretty close to smell them; the goats reek quite a good distance! I remember helping her feed one time and praying that the bucks didn't touch me because I didn't want to smell like that for the rest of the day. Ick!

 

J.

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Tennessee Myotonics are more browsers than grazers and you run the risk of them standing on and stretching your fences to reach browse in a dry lot situation. I would not put more than four does and one buck on a 1/2 acre that will be fairly dry and sparsely vegetated.

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Well contacted the ag dept. and they reffered me to our planning dept. who told me in a round about way that "yes, you can have barnyard animals." as for how many... as many as we can feed properly.

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Well contacted the ag dept. and they reffered me to our planning dept. who told me in a round about way that "yes, you can have barnyard animals." as for how many... as many as we can feed properly.

Is your 'ag dept.' the agriculture extension agent for your area? If so, I would call them back and ask them about stocking density, goat nutrition, etc. But it doesn't sound (from their answer) as if they are the extension agent. The planning department is only concerned with zoning issues - which can include # of animals per acre, but they don't approach it from a 'best practices' point of view.

 

I suggest you try and find a county extension agent to help you with your nutrition- and forage-related questions for your area.

 

Jovi

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Yes, the ag dept. is the agriculteral extension for our area. Unfortunatly they did not have the information that I was wanting and sent me over to the planning department who then sent me to animal services for my county. I have been trying to get ahold of the UNR ag reps to see what they would suggest. Will let you know what I find out.

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Alright, finaly got ahold of someone who could give me actual numbers and as of right now my half acre is not able to support more then 3 goats year round. So I will have to supplament feed no matter what way I go really.

Thank you all for your information and willingess to help. :)

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Goats will eat grass, but they are considered "browsers" not "grazers" like sheep are. They will smash down fences, or go under or over if they see something they like better than what they have. They prefer browsing on weeds, trees etc to grazing grass. That said, I have a doe and a wether right now. The doe will graze with the sheep for the most part, the wether will get out of any fencing and browse the trees, shrubs,poison ivy, whatever he can get to instead of grazing the grass. They are La Mancha's, so they are a dairy breed. I'm not sure if maybe the meat breeds might be better grazers. I have mine on about 1 acre of some graze and some browse. Including my sheep I have 9 animals and I have to supplement. Also I would think 1 buck to 9 does would be more than sufficient.

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Well we are cutting down our numbers to just 6. will be suplemanting thier feed and we have mostly sagebrush on the rest of the property we have. Thanks for your info about your herd that you have ItsADogsLyfe. I was also informed by the range management guys that it would be best to put a hotwire along the top and bottom of our fencing, to help keep the goats in the fence.

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Our stocking rate in the Seattle area and I live in a valley that Dairys used to be the main business...is 5 head per acre and we have lots of grass, green all year round.

 

I pretty much use that number and rotate and it works well. I do feed in the winter and during lambing.

 

I raise goats too and they would love to test the fence and ate differently than the sheep. I have one now and she eats branches and blackberries bushes.

 

diane

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I have 6 goats that will graze if there is no browse, but they prefer browse. When I trim trees, I always give the trimmings to them to strip. They have a quarter acre night pen that they keep stripped of edible weeds and underbrush, but the grass is over a foot tall.

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