Moes acquire goats for weedwacking, now raising them for other purposes
Kristopher and Abby Moe have 22 does, two bucks, three wethers, and 14 babies in their tribe of goats, and are preparing for many more kids.
“The does are about half done kidding,” Kris said during an interview last week. “We’ve got a ways to go.”
“It all started last summer when walking through the grove,” Kris related. “I noticed a lot of buckthorn, burning nettle and other weeds as well.”
Buckthorn is a very invasive understory shrub that was brought to North America in the early 1800s as an ornamental shrub, primarily to serve as hedges. But this woody plant escaped from yards and landscaped areas long ago; it is very invasive and produces an underlying layer of vegetation in woodlands and other natural areas. Burning nettle, is an annual broadleaf plant that is troublesome as it inhabits agricultural lands and other disturbed sites such as orchards, groves and ditches.
“I could have used the Bobcat (with brush removal attachment) to pull the weeds,” Kris said, “but I learned that goats are very efficient at cleaning groves.” Goats can provide an inexpensive and eco-friendly option. They’re like living weedwackers. Goats love plants that you are least likely to want in your yard or grove and they can clear areas that are difficult to access with traditional equipment.
Kris and Abby began research of information about goats. “We started looking for breeds that are efficient weed eaters,” Kris said.
They decided on Boer goats and three Nigerian dwarf goats. The Boer goat is a breed that was developed in South Africa in the early 1900s for meat production. Their name is derived from the Afrikaans (Dutch) word boer, meaning farmer. Their selective breeding over the last century has led to fast growth rates and excellent meat qualities, making them a popular choice for farmers. In addition, Boer goats have high disease resistance and adapt well to nearly every environment. The Nigerian dwarf is a miniature dairy goat. A healthy Nigerian Dwarf doe can produce a surprising amount of sweet milk for her small size — up to two quarts per day. The Nigerian dwarf goat milk benefit is that it is higher in butterfat (6-10 percent) and higher in protein than milk from most dairy goats.
Last May and June the Moes fenced three acres of grove surrounding their house.
In July, they bought and placed 18 goats in the fence. “In three weeks they had most of the weeds cleaned up,” Kris commented.
“We decided if we had goats, we should do other things,” Kris added.
See complete story in this week's edition of the Springfield Advance-Press.