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Mowing Goat Pastures Will Help Your Goats

Pasture Management for Healthy Goats: The Crucial Role of Optimal Height

Effective pasture management is a cornerstone of ensuring the health and well-being of goats. One key aspect that often gets overlooked is the optimal height at which pastures should be maintained. This article delves into the importance of mowing goat pastures to around 8 inches to keep goats healthy, touching upon aspects such as forage quality, parasite control, and the prevention of respiratory issues.

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Mowing your goat's pasture will help keep them healthy

Forage Quality:

  • Lignin Content: The top portion of mature grass contains higher levels of lignin, a complex organic compound that goats find difficult to digest. Goats are selective grazers and will avoid consuming the tough, mature grass blades. The only reason goats will eat the top of mature grasses is if there are seeds there to eat. This is why goats do best on broadleaf plants and weeds. They will eat those from the top down, keeping them away from the ground and protecting them from worms.  

Parasite Control:

  • Targeting Young Shoots: Goats have a natural tendency to graze closer to the ground, favoring the tender new shoots and leaves at the base of each grass stem. While this behavior is beneficial for nutrient intake, it also exposes them to a higher concentration of parasites like worms. When you understand how a goat lives in this world, you know that being proud of a goat pastures with 4 foot tall grass isn’t actually something to be proud of. 

Worms and Health Risks:

  • Worms as a Leading Killer: Internal parasites, particularly worms, are a significant health concern for goats and can be a leading cause of mortality. Grazing on shorter grass significantly raises the risk of ingesting infectious larvae, raising the overall parasite load in the herd. If possible, give the goats what they need: broadleaf plants that they can eat from the top down, thus avoiding worms. 

Ground Drying, Pathogen and Pneumonia Prevention:

  • Tall Grass and Moisture Retention: Tall grass can trap moisture at ground level, creating an environment conducive to bacterial and fungal growth. This increased humidity can contribute to respiratory issues, including pneumonia. By maintaining a pasture height of around 8 inches, you promote better airflow and quicker drying of the ground, reducing the risk of respiratory infections.
  • Optimal Height for Faster Drying: Shorter grass allows for improved sunlight penetration and faster drying of the ground. This is crucial in preventing the growth of pathogens that thrive in damp environments. A well-maintained pasture contributes to a healthier living space for goats.

Preventing Overgrazing:

  • Balancing Consumption and Regrowth: Maintaining your pastures by mowing them and also rotating pastures, helps prevent overgrazing, a situation where goats consume the grass faster than it can regrow. Overgrazing not only depletes the forage but also leads to soil erosion and a decline in pasture quality. Maintaining an optimal height, while allowing the land to rest before putting the goats back in, ensures a balance between consumption and regrowth.

Environmental and Herd Health Benefits:

  • Promoting Biodiversity: Mowing at the right height supports the growth of various grass species and encourages biodiversity. This diversity not only enhances the nutritional variety for goats but also contributes to a more resilient and sustainable pasture ecosystem.


In conclusion, the height at which pastures are maintained plays a pivotal role in the overall health and well-being of goats. From ensuring high-quality forage and minimizing parasite exposure to preventing respiratory issues and promoting environmental sustainability, the benefits of mowing pastures to around 8 inches are numerous. This proactive approach to pasture management is an investment in the health and longevity of your goat herd, contributing to their vitality and resilience in the face of potential health challenges.

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