Weed Control Using Goats

Goats are highly preferential feeders and if the plants on the top of the goats’ list are also available, goats will eat those plants exclusively until those species are gone. The major drawback is that the most preferred goat foods are also species that are valuable and prized by humans… plants such as ornamental shrubs, trees and flowers. Guard these species carefully or else the goats will strip them bare. But if goats can be confined in a pasture that is dominated by some noxious weed, such as thistle or better yet, leafy spurge, the goats will happily munch on these plants to the exclusion of others. Especially with spurge, to which the goats become addicted, palatable species such as Timothy hay, clover and other hayground species will go practically untouched as the goats nip every available spurge flower. There are tracts of land in the northern tier states (North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska) that are virtually 100% spurge. The going rate for leasing spurge eating goats is $4 per head per month. Add it up. Even with providing fencing or supervision, this can be a significant income source.

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