Going into Goats: A practical guide to producing goats in the rangelands

Stocking rate and managing goat paddocks

Managed goats should be introduced to a paddock or property at a rate equivalent to that which the property is rated for sheep. The stocked goats should then be carefully observed and the number adjusted according to the condition of the rangeland.

In winter rainfall areas, stocking rate decisions should primarily be made in spring in an attempt to gauge the total goat population that may be accommodated during the driest period (summer) and adjusted according to the season. Conversely, in summer rainfall areas, stocking rate decisions should primarily be made in autumn when the degree of carryover feed can be assessed.

In poor seasons, where palatable species are in short supply, a stocking rate below that considered to be appropriate for the area should be applied and plant species monitored for evidence of an improvement in the deterioration of the rangeland condition.

The different feed requirements of different classes of goats should be considered when calculating stocking rate. Tables 4.1 provides information into the DSE rating of various classes of goats.

Table 4.1: Dry sheep equivalent (DSE) for classes of goats

Class

DSE (based on limited information)

Weight range

1 dry doe

0.75 DSE

30-40kg

1 breeding doe

During pregnancy:
1.2 DSE

During lactation - with single kid:
1.5 DSE

During lactation - with twins:
1.9 DSE

40-60kg

1 weaner

From weaning to one year old:
0.7 DSE

20-40kg

1 buck

1.5 - 2 DSE

60-80kg

Managing goat paddocks

Goat paddocks should be fenced to include similar land systems and vegetation types. This encourages even grazing of the paddock and discourages the preferential grazing of preferred areas which may occur where different systems are fenced together. Abiding by this principle may mean that smaller goat paddocks are adopted than may otherwise be the case.