Goat Fodder Systems

Goat Fodder Systems

Goats have been a major part of human agriculture and offer a central role in permaculture systems. They like to graze on a variety of different plants such as tree leaves, shrubs, grasses, weeds, and young saplings. Goats can be a destructive force on ecosystems but with proper fencing and guidance, they can help keep aggressive plants in check, provide milk, meat, and companionship, and fertilize the area for future plant growth.  Although goat fodder systems can supply  the majority of nutrients, it is also important to provide the goats with access to mineral blocks to guarantee that they have all the proper minerals for good health.



Some plants that we have experience feeding to goats include:


Sunchoke leaves

Cat tail greens

Most tree branches, bark, and leaves

Grape leaves

Goosefoot/lambs quarter

Purple loostrife

Most shrub leaves and new bark growth

Grains like alfalfa

Ground covers like clover


It’s important to have some separation between goats and fodder plants so that the plants can recover. Specially with trees and shrubs, plants should be placed so that the goats can only reach overhanging leaves and branches, and are not allowed to strip the bark around the trunk of the tree. Coppicing is a method of cutting certain varieties of trees back to just above the ground so that they can quickly grow back plenty of new shoots from the same root system. This is a great method for producing plenty of new leaves and bushy growth for goats to feed on. Trees such as willow, black locust, mulberry, and wild fruit trees seem to be some good candidates for coppice agroforestry and goat fodder systems.