Goats need access to water at all times during the year. During summer however, they get a lot of their water intake from all the fresh greens they are eating, and drink much less then other times of the year.
We use multiple short water tanks, which are usually made from the bottom third of a plastic drum. These are durable, light and short. This makes it so goats of all sizes can get a drink when needed. They may be hard to see at times, but they are usually in an area where the goats can not push them up against the fence and where we think the goats would be most likely to rest during the hot summer day.
We bring water with us in a large tank to top off as needed. Usually the amount of water we set up on the first day is plenty for the week and we end up dumping most of it out when its time to move.
Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
Where did it come from?
Buckthorn is a species of plant that was brought to North America as a landscaping plant, it had been used in Europe for hundreds of years. It was thought to make wonderful hedges, as it is fast growing and, grows in thick, making an impenetrable hedge. Additionally Buckthorn flowers in the spring, providing berries for birds, and even holds onto them into winter.
Is it really issue?
Buckthorn has a vast root system which out competes native plants for water and nutrients. As it grows quickly to create a canopy shading out the other species. This pushes out many natives species that had been supporting the local wildlife. Causing the area under the Buckthorn to become dark and barren.
Once a stand of Buckthorn is established it is hard to remove it. The berries that the birds contain seeds that the birds conveniently spread enveloped in a bit of fertilizer to help the Buckthorn seed get off to a good start. Once the seed is spread it has a long life and can stay in the soil for up to five years. This one one reason why Buckthorn is not removed from an area just by cutting it down, in fact it gives the new seed a perfect opportunity to start sprouting.
One of the other reasons Buckthorn is hard to remove is its ability to come back from roots left in the ground, or even from the stump. The stump will use some of the energy stored in root system to send up multiple new shoots, enabling the trees to aggressively start over. It can be beat though, through repetitive cuttings or grazing wearing away the energy stored in the root system.
“Do I stay out with the goats to contain and protect them?”
When we get a site ready for the goats, the first thing we do is set up the fence. This ensures the goats stay in the desired area and are protected from wildlife or stray dogs that may be in the area.
What is the fence?
- The fence we use is an electronet fence. It is a white and black netting that comes in rolls with posts already attached. This flexible modular fence allows us to set up our fence to accommodate each sites specific needs and terrain.
- The fence is powered by a fence energizer, that is powered by a battery. This way we don’t need to be close to a power source or out in the open for a solar panel to work. The battery is switched with a freshly charged battery as needed to keep the fence energized for optimum performance.
How does it work?
- For the goats the fence is a psychological barrier. Once the goats are trained to the fence they avoid it. This prevents the goats from challenging the fence to get greens on the other side.
- For the predators who may be checking the fence and thinking a goat looks like a good snack, they find out that the fence is quite a shocker and look for an easier meal elsewhere.
- The shock is uncomfortable, but won’t harm people or pets who get to close to it, but I wouldn’t recommend testing the shock, believe me, I have accidentally tested it on a few occasions.