Goats eat about anything and everything. It has even become quite popular to use goats to clear out weeds and tall grass in yards. But will goats eat everything including Sagebrush? And how much can goats really clear out?
Sagebrush is no different than other types of brush and you will find goats do enjoy this type of plant. The matter of how much they can clear out depends on the number of goats and the amount of brush within an area.
Goats can eat quite a lot and do it pretty quickly. Continue reading to figure out what they can eat and how fast they can clear the brush. You’d be surprised how efficient and effective this method of clearing out brush can be.
Will Goats Eat Sagebrush?
Goats have been used for a multitude of things, including a weed eating machine. They will eat just about everything, even those bushes with thorns or prickly stickers. They have even been known to eat poison ivy, so eating sagebrush isn’t excluded from their diet.
Why Should They Eat Sagebrush?
Sagebrush has become quite the nuisance of a plant because cattle and other grazing livestock actually do not want to touch sagebrush. It is dense, hardy, and just not fun to eat, but goats have shown they are willing to eat such a plant.
So why should they eat sagebrush? Here are a few reasons why they should eat sagebrush:
- Boosts plant diversity.
- Provides anti-oxidants.
- Great food source in the winter.
Goats eating sagebrush helps pave way to other plants and adds diversity to the ecosystem. Sagebrush has become invasive in the United States and it is hard to get rid of. Goats provide that benefit to the environment.
Sagebrush also provides anti-oxidants that are actually beneficial for goats. It gives them resilience. But be warned that black sagebrush contains toxins that may be harmful if eaten too much by your livestock.
Because sagebrush is quite invasive and dense, it survives throughout the winter. This can be helpful to goat owners because it can be a food source for the goats in the winter seasons. You won’t have to buy extra hay and other foods for the loss of food from other brush.
Goats are happier when they have things to play with. Look through these Goat Toys on Amazon for inventive feeders and large balls or toys for your goats.
Here’s a video showing just how much brush goats can clear:
Can Baby Goats Eat Sagebrush?
Baby goats don’t have the immune system or hardy digestive system that adult goats have. It is recommended that you don’t feed sagebrush to baby goats because it could make them sick and be harmful to their health.
They do not have enough protein in their system to help break down the toxins that is in sagebrush and so it is best to not let them eat it. They may just get sick but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
How Often Can Goats Eat Sagebrush?
Goats can eat sagebrush regularly, even though it does have some toxins. They will not be harmed from eating sagebrush every day. But you could overfeed them. You will notice bloating in your goats if they have eaten too much of this brush.
Refrain from giving them sagebrush until the bloating subsides. Research has even shown that goats who have more protein are better fitted to withstand the toxins within sagebrush and it will help with the bloating. They are able to break down the toxins (source) more easily.
For the best results, ensure that their diet is varied and diverse. They should eat not only sagebrush but other types of plants. You can include hay, but land that has brush diversity will do the job.
How To Introduce Sagebrush In Their Diet
There is no special way to introduce sagebrush into your goat’s diet. Simply put your goats near sagebrush and they will begin chomping down.
They do not discriminate against different plants. They may not eat it right away, but don’t worry, they will eventually begin eating it.
How Much Can Goats Really Clear?
How much your goats can clear depends on the amount of goats you have. If you have ten goats they could clear half and acre in about a week. The more you have, the quicker they can clear out all the brush, including sagebrush.
Goats can make quite a bit of headway when clearing out brush. Some research has even shown that if you give your goats protein supplements, they will eat more brush because it is easier to break down the plants in their digestion.
Signs Your Goats Are Eating Too Much
If you do see any of these signs while your goat is eating sagebrush, then you should limit their consumption until the signs have dissipated completely:
- Distended belly
- Change in demeanor
Note when these symptoms and how long they occur. If these symptoms do persist after you have limited or removed sagebrush from your goat’s diet, then you may need to see a veterinarian. There could be other underlying issues not caused by this specific plant.
What Plants Should Goats Not Eat?
Because goats can eat just about anything, it is better to address what goats shouldn’t eat instead of what goats can eat. The list will be shorter this way.
Here are plants (source) your goats shouldn’t eat:
- China berries
- Virginia creeper
- Black cherry
- Red root pigweed
- Curly duck
There are many other poisonous plants that goats should stay away from. Sometimes goats will automatically steer clear of these poisonous plants but not always. Eating every plant in sight is sort of what they are known for.
You can always look up what poisonous plants grow in your area and see if those are on the list of plants goats shouldn’t eat. There are many websites and almanacs that contain a full list. This will reduce the amount of scrolling you need to do.
Sagebrush is a great source of food for goats and allowing goats to eat it can be very useful not only for you and your goat but the ecosystem. Just remember to keep a look out for any bloating, but other than that, let your goats eat to their hearts’ content!