Question about opening up new browse area

Discussion in 'Dairy Goat Info' started by Qvrfullmidwife, Jul 6, 2008.

  1. Qvrfullmidwife

    Qvrfullmidwife New Member

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    Stupid question...but that is OK, I am known for them! :rofl

    We are wanting to open up some of the acreage for the goats to take out browse. Seems it would be nice to be able to round out their feed with some of the seven wooded and brushy acres, huh?

    I am paranoid, tho, that they will eat some kind of toxic plant that I dont even know that I have!

    Any reassurance?
     
  2. Feral Nature

    Feral Nature Active Member

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    Hi LeeAnne

    We turn our herd out every morning and every evening to browse. We are in drought so it is all burned up looking out here, real brown. The goats eat every sort of weeds, even poke, which is 6-8 feet high, and there is lots of it. But the goats take a few bites and move on. They do this day after day and the poke weed all looks like umbrellas now with the lower leaves all stripped clean. The goats have lots of yaupon and oak, yall have been out here, we let them out in the back. They come around to the front though because it is not completely fenced around. It's fine though because we are allowing them to browse all around the house to clean up the brush because of the fire danger. Every little bit helps.

    Let your goats out a little bit at a time til they get used to it. Buffer their stomachs with hay first. We are not feeding hay anymore so the only roughage ours get is the browse they get during their outings. But our goats have grown up this way for several generations earning a living the hard way on lots of browse and not so much feed. They start browsing as babies. They get lots of exercise browsing and they start looking better like humans do when they take aerobic classes. They work their muscles and get into shape, a plus for the show ring. We are not completely fenced in though so our herd must be attended by a goatherd (me or DH). The goats cannot be trusted :D
     

  3. hamilton40

    hamilton40 New Member

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    A goat usually will not eat anything that will hurt them unless there is nothing else to eat. And If they need something to cure a problem in their system and it is there they will find a plant that is a natural cure for that problem if it is available. They are a lot smarter than most people give then credit for.
    Clay
     
  4. Feral Nature

    Feral Nature Active Member

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    We have tons of dewberry vines out here too, they go after that, I hear that's medicinal. They also love the grape vines. I've been picking wild grapes and they help me way too much :lol
     
  5. Kaye White

    Kaye White Guest

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    Do just as the suggestions. Fill them up before you turn them out and they won't be so inclined to eat something not good for them.

    Mine were not on browse for about 5 yrs. until just the other day...not one problem then or now. And they are so HAPPY! Me too, in that they are only eating about 1/3 of the alfalfa they were and coming in with FULL udders and rumens!

    LOL...ok, Sara, I will be the person unloading with the backend of pickup FULL of honeysuckle and briar cuttings! LOL
    Kaye
     
  6. Jo~*

    Jo~* New Member

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    I'm just now fencing in a half acre spot and I wonder the same thing. I have a few bracken fern to pull up also some Tansy.
     
  7. whimmididdle

    whimmididdle Guest

    L.A. I turned mine in on new browse about 6 weeks ago, and at that time the new browse was really juicy. I had a little problem with light bloat , but got the Baking Soda back out there free choice, and that took care of the problem. Those same plants are not getting the rain now, and are not near as juicy as they were.....so no problems at all now. Not real sure what to contribute that to.....whether my goats just got used to the browse, or the fact that they can buffer it with the B.S.,,,,,or both.
    I do know this....it has let me cut my feed back on everybody just a little bit, so the fence was worth putting up.

    Whim
     
  8. Feral Nature

    Feral Nature Active Member

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    It's just one of those gut feeling things. When the browse is super thick and green and lush, I always buffer their stomachs with hay and alfalfa pellets first. Then I leave them on the browse til I just "have that feeling" I need to take them off. Then I, too, immediately offer fresh and ample baking soda in several containers so all goats have immediate access....if something "tells me to"...because other times i don't. Also, I keep the water fresh. I don't feed the goats when I repen except for a reward for coming back into their pen....saves feed because they just filled their bellies with perfect natural goat food, like deer, and goat feed at this time is just to satisfy their spoiled-ness. They lay down and cud.

    The only feed I do feed is 1 part each of oats, alfalfa pellets and beet pulp. No hay now. They get fed once a day in the pen and on the milkstand. All they can eat when milked, maybe and "some" in the pen.

    I change the water before i bring them in from browsing and also try to put out fresh minerals. They are very thirsty and can get dehydrated fast in this 100 degree heat. mine do alot of running and jumping even when they are out a long time. Even the adults are playful. They spend time standing up eating oak leaves, stretching.

    The goats may appear bloated when they are not, after eating a lot of browse, particularly if it is lush. I press on the left sides and just do a check and just feel the tightness. It is just a "gut feeling", pun intended. I have never ever lost a goat to bloat from browse. I have lost goats to bloat from man-bought feed.

    Sorry I got so wordy :/
     
  9. Anita Martin

    Anita Martin Senior Member

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    I can't wait until we get up more fencing. My boys are out on a large pasture with PLENTY of browse. They are out with 4 horses and they all graze together. My buck has a mare he absolutely ADORES. I sometimes switch out the boys with the girls, to allow the girls to graze for a while, but that is rather time consuming for me at the moment...so it only happens on the weekends. The rest of the time the girls are allowed out for periods in the evening, after milking, but the young does are with them...and they are BAD...no manners at all..jumping on the cars, etc. So can't wait to get some more premier fencing soon. I can move that around, and still enclose their shelters and keep them away from the boys. It makes me SO HAPPY to see them out browsing and getting all that exercise.
    Anita
     
  10. Feral Nature

    Feral Nature Active Member

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    Anita, your post made me smile....I can just see those bad girls jumping on the vehicles and the buck "adoring" the horse :rofl