One of the first things we did when we moved was put the goats in the most overgrown areas of the farm. Brambles and poison ivy were encroaching on the pasture and in places that I’d planned to garden. So, we spent most of the summer moving portable fencing (tedious) and beating back the tide of forest succession.
Goats are a truly effective method of clearing wooded or transitional areas. They are browsers, not grazers; as such, they will mow down wild roses, ivy, and just about any plant that most ruminants would find unpalatable.
When we moved, a lot of the farm looked like this:
This is, for the record, goat heaven. It is also a good reason to have your tetanus shot updated.
Now the the goats have beaten the brush back, it’s time to move to phase two. With the help of a good pickax, shovel, pruning shears, several pairs of leather gloves, and a hand saw, those same overgrown areas are becoming a little more manageable.
There is still much more to be done to convert this area to a full-fledged pasture, but converting a field to pasture without the aid of a brush hog or chemicals is possible with a bit of sweat equity.