Goats are lovable and cute Houdinis. Just google search for cute goat videos and it will return millions of hits. If you follow us on social media you will know that I have posted many times about how good goats are at escaping.
So why did we choose to raise goats? We have three reasons: they are good for fire protection, they can help control noxious weeds and they provide a high quality, widely consumed protein.
We live in California and fire danger is always on our mind. Clint, as a professional in Wildland Fire, knows the importance of maintaining a defensible space to aid in the protection of our home. Goats are browsers, they eat brush, shrubs and woody material. As typical in California, we have areas of chaparral and manazinta brush. These two species burn hot and quickly. Goats will trim the brush and also eat the lower branches from the oak trees. This does two things: it reduces the fuel load and keeps the fire on the ground. Both will reduce fire severity and intensity. We purchased our Savanna goats last fall from a couple that saw first hand how goats can reduce the danger of wildfire. They have been raising and grazing goats on their property for about five years. First in the pastures to remove wild rose species, but the last couple of years in the mixed oak woodlands beyond their pastures. A large and quick moving wildlife approached their property. At their property, the boundary of the fire became markedly less severe. It burned with less intensity and did not cause major property damage. They attribute the goats to saving their home.
The second reason we decided to try raising goats is because we wanted to control some noxious weeds that plague us. We have areas on the ranch with infestations of dyers woad, star thistle, short pod mustard, and tumble weed. It is the goat's natural instinct to eat plants that are tough and unpalatable to cows. We are trying to manage these plants without the use of herbicides. Some people say goats will eat anything, and while that is not entirely true, they do have a vastly different diet than cows or horses. This growing season we will be moving the goats around the ranch and concentrating them on places of concern.
The last reason we decided to try raising goats is that the meat is the most commonly eaten protein source in the world. I know here in cattle country of the far reaches of Northern California that might sound crazy, but it is true. Goats take less feed and space than cattle and they are also able to eat forages that are considered lower quality, which makes them easier to raise in large parts of the world. So if you have not tried goat, you should see what the rest of the world already knows: goat or cabrito is a delicious meat.