How much does it cost to have a site grazed?
The fee charged depends on the size of the site and type of vegetation,
but the average is about $800 per acre. The cost includes
the shepherd's salary, supplements and healthcare for
the goats, fencing, and insurance.
Is there an optimal time of year for grazing?
This depends on what is desired by the land manager. For mitigation of a
specific plant they may want the goats to graze prior to seed set of
that particular plant. For fuel mitigation, timing may be based upon
historical fire records for that area.
What will the goats eat?
The goats will eat most vegetation that is available, including plants
such as poison oak that are difficult to clear by hand. They will
readily consume otherwise undesirable species such as pampas grass, any
kind of thistle, and blackberry. By generally eating the top of the
plant instead removing it by the roots, goats may be less damaging to
native plants when compared to traditional grazers. If, however, the
land manager is trying to protect specific species other steps may need
to be taken such as fencing off sensitive areas.
Does grazing cause erosion problems?
If the animals remain for too long in one area, yes, this can be a
problem. Our goal is to work with land managers to achieve an
appropriate level of vegetation removal that will reduce fire danger or
an exotic species without causing unnecessary erosion.
Can transfer of seeds between sites by the goats
Yes. If this is a concern for a particular site, the herd can be
quarantined at our ranch for three days where they will be fed alfalfa
to clear out their systems. We can also use short-haired goats which
will carry fewer seeds in their fur.