‘Ask the Experts’, with Anke Sieker

Can goats and other farm animals share grazing, and if so what are the best combinations?

Anke Sieker says: Many goats are kept on garden holdings, where they are the only larger livestock. If goats share their exercise yard with poultry it is important to ensure that goats do not have access to the chicken feeders. Layers pellets are irresistible to goats which can cause bloat.

If you have grazing available and also want to keep other farm animals you have to think carefully about co-grazing arrangements. Goats and sheep are affected by the same parasites that live on pastures. Worms and fluke are the most common. Whereas adult sheep will usually tolerate a certain level of worm burden, goats – being browsers rather than grazers – will become unthrifty and unwell quite quickly if infected. It is therefore good practice to have separate paddocks for sheep and goats. However goats can share their grazing with both cattle and horses, as they are prone to different worm species.

Sheep should not have access to goat or cattle feed mixes, as the high copper content – important for the wellbeing of both cattle and goats – can be fatal for sheep. However sheep mix is safe for goats to eat, if not the ideal feedstuff for high-yielding milkers. Mineral licks for goats containing copper (an example being the Red Rockies) should also be in a place where the sheep cannot get to.

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