I am in a very marshy, swampy area of the Paraná river delta in Argentina. Very, very wet, subtropical, very fertile, aluvial land.
My question is, for anyone that could know, preferebly by first hand experience: is it possible to raise goats in a land like that? what would you recommend. Thank you
I've had up to 20 goats. I kept their bedding dry and a concrete pad clear of mud and manure. If they were allowed to browse in corridors of luceana or other woody material, pruning waste could become a dry mulch. This would help the feet. Scratchy walls of coarse hedging could give them a surface to rub against for insect control. Bantam hens and guinea fowl might control some insects.
Possible, yes. But you are several hardiness zones outside theirs.
A raised bedding area of concrete or even better, mesh. We used plastic pallets to make a raised self cleaning floor, high enough to get under to clean out if needed but the chickens kept it clean most of the time. Lots of rubble piles for them to climb on to get out of the wet and self-trim their hooves. A large roofed area for them to lounge in the rain.
And most important, hardy adapted stock from worse conditions than you will provide.
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thank you Scott
I know they breed goats in New Zealand, and that could be as wet as you can get... as for the heat... it's not bad down here, not so hot, it can go up to 35 C (95F), may be 40 C (104F) some days in summer, and the winter is short and not hard at all, so I hope it can be done and the goats can have a happy life. I have almost 80 acres of bush and wood, most of which is very marshy
Hi Gordo, I lived in New Zealand and had land with goats on it about half the time I was there. I would not consider myself a goat farmer, but I did a lot of research there. You are not quite right about the temperatures there, but there are four or 5 different climates there, and so different areas vary over different temperature ranges. In general, it is a whole lot cooler there than you seem to thing. There is two months of summer, January and February, when temperatures range between 15 and 22 deg. C for lows, and 22 and 29 degrees C for highs. 35 deg. C won't happen south of Auckland, and are really rare and Auckland. But can happen in areas that are sheltered by large mountain ranges, especially on South Island. Winters are cold and long. Whereas Summers are two months long, winters are 5-6 months long. In the winter in rains almost all the time everywhere. And on south Island they have wide areas of snowfall. So, many places are near or below freezing on South Island much of the Winter. North Island is warmer. Winter temperatures vary between lows of 2 deg. 9 deg. C to . to highs between 9 and 17 deg. C. And this is the pattern for about half the year.
People who keep goats dip them regularly to control insects. Goats enjoy a smorgasbord of food, lots of foods and flavors, you can move them around by localizing their food sources. And keeping them on the move better manages your land. I liked what was said about providing them with clean, dry quarters. Maybe several shelters around the property, so you can keep them moving.
I'm not sure your goats are going to want to walk in wet areas so they may not do as good a job of clearing brush there as you hope -- mine hate to get their feet wet. But the main problem I see would be internal parasites. In colder and dryer climates, the weather usually kills a lot of parasites off, but you don't have either the cold or the dry. Other local breeders should be able to help you figure out how to keep the parasite loads down to acceptable levels. Locally adapted stock would be best, too.
Cattle generally do better in wet ground like you have than goats -- any chance you could use cattle for your purposes instead of trying to shoehorn a dry-land mountain animal into an ecosystem that isn't really the best fit for it?
I keep Oberhasli goats and mini-Obers (cross with Nigerian Dwarf). The Oberhaslis are willing to walk in water or cross it, and will sometimes wade through mud up to their bellies on our farm. They hate doing it, but for the right incentive (some particularly tasty vine or bush), they think it's worth it. However, they're very susceptible to our hot, humid climate and parasites. The hybrid cross with the Nigerian Dwarf goat is better off in our summer weather, and more parasite resistant, but also more water-avoidant. They're also very short. A 2 foot creek is dangerously deep water for them. Not a breed I recommend for swamps; perhaps crossing a water-tolerant breed like the Oberhasli with a tall, heat-tolerant breed could provide useful results?
Also, goats are vulnerable to broken limbs or puncture wounds from slipping on debris as they climb around the brush in a swamp. Infection happens fast in those conditions, and if they fall into the mire, they may not be able to get free. I don't know how much of a hazard snakes are in your area, either, but here the water-dwelling snakes are our most aggressive and venomous snakes. Most goats don't come from regions where that's a common threat, so they don't have much instinct about that.
At the least, I would want a place that is dry where my herd would gather in the evenings, such that I could do a head count and quick daily visual inspection for injuries.