These are some of our notes in preparing to construct the most ideal goat sanctuary using permaculture design. The goal of this sanctuary is to provide the goats the happiest healthiest life possible, while at the same time reducing the amount of management through proper planning and strategy. This is not a comprehensive guide, if you have any personal experience, advice, or corrections you’d like to point out we would love to hear what you have to share! Permaculture is all about using as much information as you can to make decisions that benefit you for a long time to come so we have more research to do!
An area with diverse conditions is ideal, with a more densely forested section, and a more open sunny field. This will give the goats a wider range of plants to forage, as well as provide shade for varying temperatures for the goats comfort. There should be enough room for them to comfortably roam with the protected space.
Happy goats are less likely to attempt an escape. As long as there is ample and diverse foods that they like they are less likely seek food outside the fence. Rotating more frequently or planting more forage plants can save on time chasing down escaped goats.
Ideal Plants for Fodder
(These plants were selected for Zone 7, in NW Arkansas)
Storage for Overwintering
- Red-clover – leaves, and flowers
- Amaranth – leaves, stalks, and seeds
- Yellow Dock – leaves, stalks, and seeds (in moderation)
- Buckwheat – leaves and seeds
- Lambsquarters – leaves, stalks
- Thistles – leaves, stalks, flowers
- Alfalfa – Leaves, seeds
- Maximillian Sunflowers – leaves, root tubers, and flowers
- Sunchokes – leaves, root tubers, and flowers
- Rosa rugosa – leaves, flowers, and rose hips
- Lilac – leaves and flowers
- Blackberries – brambling, leaves, vines, flowers, and fruits (plant around established fruit trees to protect them from hard grazing)
- Siberian Pea-shrub – leaves, flowers, seeds
- Black Locust – leaves, bark, and flowers, coppices well
- Honey Locust – leaves, bark, and flowers, coppices well
- Willow – 13% leaf protein, coppices well, easily grown from cuttings
- Apple – leaves, twigs, fruit, flowers; a good use for crab-apple varieties
- Poplar – fast growing, 17% leaf protein, coppices well
- Tagasaste – Leaves, Flowers, seeds high protein
- Loquat – leaves, twigs, fruit
- Seaberry – leaves, fruits, twigs
- Additional seeds and tree saplings
- Permanent Secure fencing for main grazing area
- Portable Electric Fencing for short grazing rotations
- Shelter for goats to be protected from the elements and sleep
- Water trough that can be filled from the secondary spring or pond.
Written by Tas Zinck