Predators are a serious problem in the use of goats for vegetation management as locations are often remote, with habitat that provides natural cover for predators. Guard animals put with the goats can prevent predator attack. The number of guard animals needs to be sufficient to cover the area and terrain in which the goats are kept. If guard dogs are used, plans need to be made for feeding them. They can be fed using self feeders, but the goats need to be excluded from the feeder because goats can founder on dog food. Further, pet foods may contain ruminant by-products that are prohibited by law from being fed to other ruminant species, including goats. This is to prevent occurrences of transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, the most commonly known one being “mad cow disease,” or BSE, from occurring in domesticated ruminants. Successful predator control usually entails a combination of predator-deterring perimeter fence and a guard animal.
Hart, S. 2006. Goats for Vegetation Management. In: Meat Goat Production Handbook, ed. T.A. Gipson, R.C. Merkel, K. Williams, and T. Sahlu, Langston University, ISBN 1-880667-04-5.