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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Large Animal Veterinary
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Experience:  As a veterinarian, I have been educated to treat all animals, big and small.
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I just bought a new property and have been considering goats

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I just bought a new property and have been considering goats to maintian the vegitation around the land. I don't want a goat to milk, shear, or to eat as meat....I just want goats that will eat the grass & plants that I have growing. What breed should I be considering?


I live in Southern California if that helps your answer considering the climate and vegitation that I live in.

Thank you for your question.

Since you want to have goats on your property for vegetation maintenance rather then for production of typical goat 'products', I would say that you would be best to consider a breed that will be low maintenance and able to maintain on the moderate vegetation levels that we see in Southern California (since most of the area is essentially a semi-desert).

In regards XXXXX XXXXX that were selected for these types of traits, the ones we might consider here would be Savannah, Spanish, Boer, and Kiko (the last breed possibly less so, since they tend to thrive better in wet weather). And just in case you also were considering sheep, the Dorper sheep are an African breed that are renowned for their being able to survive on poor pasture. This means that they will thrive on what your land has to offer, where other breeds may struggle.

At the end of the day, most breeds with be amenable to the vegetation that they will find in Southern California. It will just depend on the quality and volume of plant life specific to your land that will determine whether a breed (and how many) can live just off the land or may require some supplementation to sustain themselves there.

I hope this information is helpful.
Please do let me know if you have any further questions.
If you have no further questions, feedback is greatly appreciated.

All the best,

Dr. B.


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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Great advice and thank you Dr.B,


I have one last question, is it true that goats can't eat grass? I've got hilly terrain on my property which has a combination of wild grass and weeds, I just don't want the goat to have any intestinal or digestive problems. Will they ignore the plants that aren't good for them or do I have to control where they graze?


Thanks again,


Hi Jarrod,

That is a wives tale, goats can eat grass just fine.
I suspect the misunderstanding arises because we are so used to goats thriving on poor pastures with limited grass. But that doesn't mean they can't or won't have grass when its on offer. Here is a good article on that very subject that you might find interesting (link).

In regards XXXXX XXXXX control, this is unfortunately a must. We all wish that they would know which items not to graze but to be honest I have lost count on how many goats with rhododendron toxicity I have seen in my days (so common). So, you do need to have an idea of what plant life is on your land and make sure that you address any toxic ones before introducing the goats to maintain the rest. Here is two list of edible and toxic plants to start you off (link 1, link2)

All the best,
Dr. B.

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