Target Browsing has a lot to offer the world. In western Canada, target browsing is a new industry. I work with and support other goat owners who might want to get into target browsing because if someone were to get over their head and botch a job, the negative P.R. could tank the whole industry. I do not see other goat owners as competition, I see them as support. Please contact me if you are a goat owner, mull over some of the points I’ve made below and if you’re feeling adventurous give me a call. I also support the University of Fraser Valleys Target Browsing Course and a new one in Williams lake and Chilliwack see below for details.
For my clients, I advise you do not hire just anyone with goats or buy your own. Like I was saying its a new industry, there are several things to consider;
- Insurance is almost impossible to get. It takes a very long time. There are many things that can go wrong from damage to disease, liability to injury. Make sure you hire someone with knowledge of not only the vegetation and the land but animal health and disease control. Damage to neighbors property can be an issue too, save the headache and hire us. Agricultural insurance won’t cover it, you need real insurance.
- While goats typically have less disease than sheep, goats can carry many of the same diseases as cattle, deer and elk. Diseases like Johnnes doesn’t show for 3-7 years and can live in soil for a very long time. It can be spread by wildlife. It is important to only ever have goats from a closed, tested and disease-free herd and to always do a foot bath from site to site. Any goat or other animal on a farm from auction can threaten the livestock of you or a neighbors farm. Make sure the person you hire is knowledgeable about provincial requirements on disease, management and treatment and pre-cautions with wildlife.
- Knowledge of the vegetation and experience with the land is of the utmost importance. Knowing what and when to target certain weeds is what we specialize in. Knowing when it is the most cost effective to target and what environmental conditions will effect each site can’t be learned on-line.
- Goats need extra attention. Someone will need to be with the goats 24hrs. Do not let anyone “fence” in a goat on your property. Fenced in goats will eat everything, for proper land management you have to be diligently watching the pressure on the vegetation. Buying your own goats can be a huge headache and cost.
- It isn’t about free food. We are land stewards targeting weeds. In fact, from an agricultural standpoint, this is a dumb idea for any goat farmer. Moving animals stress them and breeding programs go out the window. Your does wont catch as well and if you are lucky, you’ll be kidding at the wrong time of year $$$$. If your reproduction drops to less than 80% of your farm income, you’ll lose your agricultural status, insurance and WCB benefits. Again, you will need more than agricultural insurance.
- Goats need extra attention…the mineral and feed requirements of goats is very different from sheep and cattle. Wintering goats is much more expensive than other livestock $$. A lot of energy goes into milk production, the ratio of feed cost to protein production doesn’t leave very much of a profit margin. Buying your own goats can be a huge headache and cost.
- Goats need extra attention…they will inbreed, that’s a lot of whats on the market right now. You need to castrate. $$ You need to deworm $$ Keep them warm $$ help kid, maybe a c-section or two $$ they have twins so one is usually a time consuming, bottle baby $$ treat colds $$ trim hooves $$ de-bud horns $$ treat mastitis etc. Buying your own goats can be a huge headache and cost. It’s more than likely that anything that came from auction was a cull (unwanted for genetics, sickness or inbreeding), it was sold with the intent to be eaten. There are shysters on sites like kijiji trying to take advantage of new folks looking for herds, they buy randoms from auction and sell them as a “herd”. Goats from a closed herd more or less act the same as if from the same background, if some are cuddly and others are terrified that’s a red flag, a closed herd all know each other, none will always stand far away.
If you do decide you’d like to buy some goats or get into weed management please call me or visit the University of Fraser Valley Target Browsing course in my Facebook post. If you’d like to forgo the headache, I’m here to serve you.