Does goat Grazing work?
Absolutely. Buckthorn has come to thrive in our landscapes precisely due to the lack of grazing animals. With animals on the landscape that love to eat buckthorn (goats), buckthorn cannot survive. Best results come with patience and design of a good management strategy.
What is the best way to control buckthorn?
Every buckthorn control method has pros and cons. Herbicide can be expensive and have unintended consequence. Prescribed fire season can be short, not allowing enough time to burn. These conventional approaches do have their time and place. However, goats can be used year round and do not require chemicals or optimal weather conditions. No matter your project constraints, we can find a solution for you.
How does Prescribed Goat Grazing work to control buckthorn?
Prescribed grazing works by the goats defoliating the target plant (commonly buckthorn). With the leaves consumed, the target plant is denied its ability to gather energy through photosynthesis and must use its root reserves to refoliate. Each defoliation event weakens the plant further until it is dead. See our page Goat Grazing for more details.
How are goats contained? Do I need to do anything while they're at my property?
Goats are contained by a fully solar powered electrified netting that provides about 8,000 volts to the fence. Our well trained goats will excel at staying in their paddock. We provide all necessary elements for their well being, including water, mineral, salt, fencing and monitoring.
What do the goats do in the winter?
Most of our goats return to the farm for winter where we feed high quality hay while we wait for kidding season (usually March). Some of our tough goats will work throughout the winter on rotations, where they excel at stripping buckthorn bark and eating buds. This is a highly effective way to control buckthorn before the growing season.
How long will goats be at my property?
A couple factors determine how long the goats will be at your property. A rule of thumb is that 20 goats will eat about an acre of fairly thick buckthorn per week. We will tailor the stocking rate to your property size and desired time window.
How much does goat grazing cost?
Cost for goat grazing will vary depending on these factors: 1. acreage size 2. location (highly urban vs. rural). In general, larger acreages in rural locations will have a lower cost per acre of about $3-500/acre. Smaller urban projects will have a minimum mobilization cost of about $1200. When compared to hand pulling or manual removal with herbicide, goats are a cost effective tool; especially when working on lands at scale.
Is Buckthorn Invasive?
Buckthorn has its evolutionary roots in Europe and Eurasia. We prefer to see buckthorn not so much as invasive, but opportunistic. Buckthorn flourishes in lands that do not have traditional land management strategies being implemented: Grazing and Fire.
Do predators ever attack the goats?
Generally not. Goats are quite intelligent and use herd strategies to intimidate predators. Additionally, our strong fencing system keeps predators out. Coyotes can usually find something smaller and easier to eat like mice.
Where do the goats sleep? Do they stay on site at night?
Goats love to sleep outside. They'll stay overnight on site- they do some of their best work at dawn and dusk!
What Kind of goats do you bring?
We field primarily kiko goats. While there are other meat breeds that are suitable for thriving on brush, we've developed a very special herd of goats that absolutely excel at eating brush. Through over 10 generations of breeding, our goats are born and bred to do this work and exist within our management system 365 days per year. They are especially able to perform prescribed grazing work to a high level.