That was getting long, so I decided to tackle the goat issue in a new post.
I have discovered that copper is lacking in the soil here. Sheep are very good at processing copper and you must be careful not to overdose them, however, goats are not. So, you must supplement them with copper.
I have been doing some reading on the mineral deficiencies in the local soil, and looking into amending the soil with copper to help the plants as well as the animals. I have discovered a very accurate indicator of copper deficiency is alkaline soil, and sulfur water... we have both here. The only thing keeping my soil at neutral to slightly acid is the leaves.
From a goat health viewpoint: I do not want my animals to eat anything off of the ground! Worms and coccidi are parasites, and once they are passed in feces, they do their life cycle, some in snails, and then they are in the lower 2 inches of weeds, and when an animal eats there, they are ingested.
Therefore, I want to keep my goats eating above the first 6 inches. Leaves that have hit the ground could be contaminated. I can't keep poultry above that 6 inch mark, so I just have to plan on dealing with their parasites, in as organic a way as possible. Diatomaceous earth to the rescue, inside and outside the animal!
Also, my dairy goats are big pets, they are well trained, but they weigh as much as I do, and walking them on a leash just isn't a reasonable option for me. In order to have mobile goats that I can move to one area or another, I need pygmies! But, even pygmies are strong little rascals for their 50 pound weights, and can be a handful to lead, when they want to go elsewhere. It is much less effort to simply cut brush and take it to the goats hay rack and feed them up high, than to try moving the goats to an area.
I am also reading: https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Herbal-Handbook-Farm-Stable/dp/0571161162
I had the old version of this book, but it burned in the fire. But, the hedgerow chapters talk about the good herbs for the goats hedgerow.
And that is in the preview to the book! Yeah!
Makes sense, if I can amend the soil, get the mineral deficiencies worked out, plant a decent hedgerow of herbs, and get the animals health at the top of the ladder... the manure from them, will then have everything that I need in my garden? Well, that is my theory at least.
So, I am researching these areas, if anyone has additional information on these, please share.
I am not attempting the fungal issues until I get the minerals, and the balance of ph, npk, etc worked out with alot of humus to stop this turning to cement thing! One step at a time.
Leaves are buried in the compost bin, under that lousy first load of topsoil, so they are out of harms way, and since I can't get to them, I am using hay for mulch. But, I am planting herbs for hedgerow, with the idea, of harvesting the whole plant come fall, both for goat feed, and to use along with hay and leaves to balance my garden.
So, I need to find the herbs that contain the most copper, naturally and are not dependant on finding it in the soil!
Scott, would herbs, since they are organic, and less woody than leaves still have your amoebas and stuff?
Talk to your plants.... If your plants talk to you... Run!