Hedge and ground management is always difficult where hens are kept. Their droppings are a rich source of nitrogen and create a fertile seedbed for nettles, docks & thistles. The hens, who like to pick at the soft grasses, create craters for dusting and allow the rougher clumpier grasses, nettles, docks and thistles to continue growing, they even use them as shelter from the prevailing breeze when sunbathing. This creates rough ground and the presence of this type of growth reduces the area for the soft grasses which the chickens need.
The solution has been to allow the goats to graze the rougher, courser grasses etc. They love thistles, nettles, docks and briars. This rotation results in the pasture being cleaned up and helps to eliminate parasites and re-grow clean, young, soft grasses.
There is no more manual cutting of soft or clumpy grasses as the natural cycle of growth coincides with increased numbers goats and as the ground cools and growth slows the fattened animals are dispatched for the table or the freezer.
Although this stock rotation works like a dream, I can't take credit for it being a well thought out plan!
I like goats and wanted them to keep the chain link fencing free of hedgerow growth and ensure the electric fencing (the guard against the fox) was not weakened by power draining to earth as it came in contact with briars, twigs and tall weeds.
My first goat - a beautiful baby nubian puck, was an impulse buy. I very quickly set about finding him some female company, resulting in a young nubian kid goat of 3 months and a nubian lady about his own age.
I'd been presented with an envelope by my family for my birthday, with the means to acquire the latest iPhone, which I graciously (I hope) turned down and chose the goats instead.
Goats are extremely playful, they are very agile and their antics are always amusing, they seem to really come alive in springtime.