So, we put those goats to work and a week and a half later, they’d eaten everything in sight.
It was amazing. First they ate every green leaf within their fenced area. Then they started eating bark off the trees. They stood on brush piles, munching twigs. They stood on their hind legs and pushed tall privet down with their front legs so they could much the tops. They ate their way into what, for us humans, had been completely impenetrable walls of briar and vine.
After just a couple of days of goat hosting, we could see a difference in the tangled land where we’d located them. About a week into the adventure, I went out with a container of grain for a treat–we’d been doing this a couple of times a day, to build up a little trust and friendship–and one of the goats came bounding toward me with an energy that I thought went a bit beyond "oh boy, treat time." It seemed more like "I’m super hungry" behavior.
Goats + a little extra cutting by Mr. Green Scene = land suddenly cleared!
We didn’t want our goats to get too hungry. We want to keep them happy, plus they’re both pregnant and need their nutrition all the more right now. And we’ve been told that if they get too desperate for food, they’ll be more likely to escape.
Though we’d hoped the goats could stay in their first location for at least three weeks, it was clear that they needed to move. And we do have plenty of brushy land that we eventually want their help with. So we bit the bullet and moved the fence. (This involves heavy labor, cutting fenceline, etc.–not a small project.) And the goats (who will, I repeat, be producing more goats in just a few weeks) started eating immediately.
Wow. And, uh-oh.