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About City Grazing
Special thanks to the City of Denver for their great work in the field of raising city goats.
Why use goats in San Francisco?
There have been various approaches to weed control, none fully satisfactory nor efficient. Using goats is an efficient, holistic, environmentally healthy approach to weed control allowing us to restore degraded land in a shorter period of time. This is a novel, common sense approach that puts Denver on the cutting edge.
How do goats help restore natural areas?
Using goats is based on a natural process, like bison grazing the prairie.
Goats eat dried and fresh above- ground plant parts.
They break plants down into digestible pieces by their saliva.
Their hoof action also tramples plants into smaller pieces.
Plants slowly decompose releasing nutrients into the soil.
Goats also work desired seeds into soil with their hooves.
Goats can restore large areas in a shorter time period than people.
Why is using goats environmentally healthy?
Grazing is an alternative to mowing and herbicides.
Goats eat plants, eliminating debris and recycling nutrient elements.
They maintain beneficial soil organisms.
Goats exclude the use of heavy equipment minimizing soil disturbance and compaction.
Goats trample dried brush, create a natural mulch and add organic matter to the soil.
Why use goats instead of other methods?
Goat grazing is not a replacement, but another methods of weed control and land restoration. They can cover large areas in a shorter period of time than most manpower. Fifty goats average 1/2 acre per 8 hour day).
Goats are best used:
a) In sensitive areas near waterways, rivers and lakes where chemicals are prohibited.
b) On steep embankments difficult for people.
c) On ditches, canals, rocky and wooded areas where mowing or spraying are difficult or inadvisable.
d) In large areas where manpower is unavailable and costly.
e) On very degraded land where human efforts would take years.
a) Do not bring weed seeds to the surface.
b) Do not disturb the soil organisms.
c) Do not extract soil nutrients.
d) Are not a potential risk to ground water.
Disturbs soil bringing more weed seeds to the surface.
Creates plant debris that goes to landfills.
Extracts nutrients from the soil.
Disturbs soil organisms.
Is labor intensive.
Uses heavy equipment that compacts soil.
Creates air pollution.
Leaves stubble, does not eliminate plant.
May contaminate ground water.
May kill or disturb soil organisms.
Do not allow seeding at same time.
May damage desired vegetation.
May have risk to personnel.
How will using goats work?
We will use a small goat herd, 75 to 100 head of mostly Cashmere bred goats. They are easy to handle and friendly to people. Areas are enclosed by fence panels and protected with an Anatolian shephdeing dog.
In the spring, goats are used to:
1) Remove top growth, eat dried brush from previous year and early cool season weeds that either over wintered or recently emerge.
2) Work in desired seeds with their hooves while they graze.
Once an area is clean, the goats are moved to the next area and the process is repeated. Placing the goats in strategic areas and managing their time in the area are key factors. Babi Yar Park (Yale Street side is an example of how much can be accomplished with goats. There are numerous wildflower species now emerging.
In summer or fall the goats feed on emerging annuals and perennials:
1. Managing their time to feed on the perennials minimizes food reserves in the unwanted plants and prevents plants from going to seed.
2) Continuous grazing stresses the plants.
3) Reseeding at this time allows desired vegetation in late summer to compete.
4) On Cherry Creek we are using goats incombination with small beetles to reduce the invasion of leafy spurge.
Reseeding areas is necessary to:
1) Stabilize disturbed sites.
2) Replant with desired species.
How do we keep goats and people safe?
Safety is critical to the success of this program. The following condition will be put in place
1) The herder remains with the goats at all time.
2) Goats are enclosed panel fences with an Anatolian dog inside the fence and border collie outside the fence.
3) There is direct radio contact with Natural Areas, Parks staff, Animal Control and the goat herder.
4) Communities are kept informed including Parks staff, police and City Council.
5) Goats are not placed in dangerous situations e.g. where chemicals are in use.
City Grazing Goat Facts
Here are some interesting facts on goats, grazing, raising feeding and caring for goats!
Special thanks to Jean-Marie Luginbuhl of NCSU.
Age of puberty 7-10 months
Breeding weight 60-75% of adult weight
Length 18-22 days
Duration 12-36 hours
Signs Tail wagging, mounting, bleating
Ovulation 12 to 36 hrs from onset of standing heat
Gestation length 146-155 days
Breeding season August-January
Seasonal anestrous February-July
Buck effect on estrous Positive
Age of puberty 4-8 months
Breeding age 8-10 months
Breeding season All year
Breeding ratio 1 buck : 20 to 30 does
Temperature 101.7-104.5 F
Heart rate 70-80/minute
Respiration rate 12-15/minute
Ruminal movements 1-1.5 /minute
RULES FOR GOAT HEALTH
* Provide proper housing
* Practice good sanitation
* Provide adequate nutrition
* Provide clean water
* Observe how much feed (hay, minerals, concentrate) is left over
* Observe your animals daily
* Observe the feces of your animals
* Clean pastures and exercise lots
* Become familiar with the common diseases
* Investigate the source of strange smells
* Use your veterinarian for diagnosis
A HEALTHY GOAT
* Eats well
* Chews its cud
* Has a shiny coat
* Has strong legs and feet
* Is sociable
* Has bright and clear eyes
SIGNS OF ILLNESS
Off feed, water Diarrhea
No sign of cud chewing Runny eyes
Standing apart from group Limping
Rough hair coat Hair falling out
Abnormal temperature Swelling on any part of body
Heavy mucous in nose and mouth Pale mucosa of eyes and mouth
Upon arrival on farm,
* Isolate animals for a month
o Test for certain diseases
o Coccidiosis control program
o Identification tag
HERD HEALTH PRACTICES
If possible always weigh animals prior to vaccination to 1) calculate and inject the correct dosage of the vaccine(s) and 2) assess body condition
Enterotoxemia and tetanus - Clostridium perfringens C, D + T
Once a year
Once a year (4 to 6 weeks before kidding) or twice a year: 4 to 6 wk before breeding, then 4 to 6 wk before kidding
Week 8, then booster on week 12
If possible, always weigh animals prior to deworming to 1) calculate and inject or drench the correct dosage of the dewormer and 2) assess body condition. Underdosing of goats because of failure to weigh the animals or because of underestimating their live weight is a very common but costly mistake because this may lead to parasite resistance to dewormers. Therefore, determine dose according to heaviest animal in the group. On the other hand, overdosing of certain dewormers can cause health problems. If deworming animals before kidding, make sure that dewormer is safe for pregnant does.
* 2 to 3 weeks prior to breeding
* Avoid early pregnancy (20 to 60 days)
* 2 to 3 weeks prior to kidding or at kidding
* Day 30
* Day 60
During warm, wet weather it is advisable to take fecal samples 10 days after deworming in order to determine fecal egg counts and effectiveness of dewormer
Coccidiosis usually strikes young animals during periods of stress such as weaning. Level of control depends on the level of infestation
* Coccidiostat drench
* Coccidiostat in water tank
At other times (if necessary)
* Mineral with Bovatec
* Decoquinate in feed
KID HEALTH PRACTICE
* At birth
o Dip navel in iodine
o Kids should ingest 10% of their live weight in colostrum during first 24 hours of life. Colostrum should be ingested or bottle-fed (in case of weak kids) as soon as kids have a suckling reflex. In cases of extremely weak kids, they should be tube-fed. The producer must be certain that all newborn kids get colostrum soon after birth (within the first hour after birth, and certainly within the first 6 hours) because the percentage of antibodies found in colostrum decreases rapidly after parturition.
(The question is: why castrate if you will sell your buck kids for meat at 4 to 5 months of age?).
If not castrated, buck kids should be seperateed from doe kids at weaning.
Feeding strategy to increase ovulation rate
Starting 3-4 weeks before the breeding season, and throughout the breeding season, increase the plane of nutrition of does to be bred
* Switch them to high quality pasture or
* Supplement them with 1/2 lb cracked corn/head/day or 1/2 lb whole cottonseed
To insure proper embryo development
During the first month of pregnancy
* Keep the plane of nutrition similar to that of flushing period
IMPORTANT PRODUCTION TRAITS
o Ability to survive in given environment
o Ability to reproduce in given environment
o Is a lowly heritable trait
o Conception rate
o Kidding or prolificacy rate
* Growth rate
o Pre-weaning gain
o Post-weaning gain
* Carcass characteristics
o Dressing percent
o Muscle distribution
BODY CONDITION SCORE
* To monitor and fine tune nutrition program
* To "head off" parasite problem
* Visual evaluation is not adequate, has to touch and feel animal
* Areas to be monitored
o Tail head
o Edge of loin
o Back bone
o Longissimus dorsi
Thin 1 to 3
Moderate 4 to 6
Fat 7 to 9
End of pregnancy 5 to 6
Start of breeding season 5 to 6
o Animals should never have a body condition score of 1 to 3
o Pregnant does should not have a body condition score of 7 or above toward the end of pregnancy because of the risk of pregnancy toxemia
o A body condition score of 5 to 6 at kidding should not drop off too quickly
* Smooth electrified wire
o At least 42 inches tall
+ 6 to 8 inches near the ground
+ 8 to 12 inches at the top strands
# Example (inches from the ground): 6 - 14 - 22 - 32 - 42 - (52)
* Woven wire (6" X 6")
o Costs at least twice as much as 5 strands of smooth electrified wire
o Horned goats can get caught
+ Place an electric wire offset about 9 inches from the woven wire fence and about 12 to 15 inches from the ground
+ Reduces control of forage growth at fence line
* Woven wire (6" X 12")
o Horned goats usually do not get caught
* Two to three wires (braided or tape) with tread-in posts
In a pasture situation, goats are "top down" grazers. They start to eat seedheads or the top of the canopy and progressively take the forage down. This behavior results in uniform grazing. Goats do not like to graze close to the ground. Grazing goats have been observed to 1) select grass over clover, 2) prefer browse over grazing, 3) graze along fence lines before grazing the center of a pasture, 4) refuse to graze forage that has been trampled and soiled. These observations have been put to use in the grazing management of goats: it is preferable to give them a daily allowance of forage and to move the fence accordingly rather than to let them roam freely in a large pasture. This type of management, called control grazing, was developed in Europe and is implemented very successfully in New Zealand and numerous other parts of the world. Control grazing results in better animal performance, higher stocking rates, and increased pasture productivity.
SO, YOU WANT TO GET IN THE GOAT BUSINESS
Are you really, really ready?
* Are your fences, pens, chutes goat proof
* Is your grazing land adequate
* Do you have sufficient supplemental feed on hand
* Is your predator controller in place
* In your medicine cabinet, do you have
o Antibiotic ointment
o Insecticidal powder
o Stomac tube
o Hoof trimmers
* Have you discussed your new venture with your local veterinarian?
* Have you alerted your next door neighbors to the possibility of excessive noises, exotic odors, sexual activity during the breeding season, animals getting out, and allayed their fears of the spreading of diseases?
henrique pereira dos santos (com os meus agradecimentos a quem me mandou o link)