Goat Grazing Rules

You can use goats for clearing vegetation from land without a permit by following a few rules [SRC 400.120(d)(3)].

Grazing rules

Goat herding companies specialize in renting out herds of goats for targeted grazing. Although not required, it is strongly suggested that you hire one of these experienced goat herders to ensure that the goats are properly monitored and cared for while they are grazing your land.

  • Only goats may be used for targeted grazing in Salem.
  • The keeping of goats permanently on a property is not allowed. Within the Residential Agriculture Zone, you can keep goats permanently for your own private noncommercial use on a lot 10,000 square feet.
  • Goats are allowed to graze for no more than 21 days at a time on a single property that is half an acre or less in area. Properties over half an acre in area may be split into penned areas of at least half an acre in size, and goats are allowed to graze for no more than 21 days at a time in any one penned area.
  • Goats may not return to a grazed property or penned area for 30 days.
  • No more than three grazing treatments at a single property or penned area are allowed in a calendar year.

Sites with protected vegetation

Goats eat all vegetation. It is your responsibility as the property owner and goat herder to make sure that goats do not eat protected vegetation. In Salem, all native vegetation is protected within riparian corridors. A riparian corridor is the area on both sides of a waterway, such as a creek or river. The riparian corridor boundary is measured 50 feet horizontally from the top of bank on each side of the waterway. Generally, goat grazing is only appropriate on sites where the entire understory of vegetation is dominated by invasive species.

Use of an electric fence to pen goats

Temporary electric fences used to pen grazing goats are allowed within the City. Goat herders often use temporary electric fences to pen goats for targeted grazing. Electric fences must be posted at 15 foot intervals with warning signs notifying persons of a dangerous fence.

Noise regulations

Goats cannot create a noise disturbance for neighboring property owners. Property owners using grazing goats on their land should take care not to allow the goats to make continuous loud noises in close proximity to neighboring homes. Police officers who respond to complaints of loud goats will treat them the same way as barking dogs, and could issue your a citation and fine for keeping continuously loud goats.

To avoid noise disturbances, please remember that goats will generally remain quiet if they are contented. However, goats will vocalize loudly when they are:

  • Hungry or thirsty
  • Injured or sick
  • In rutting season

Care of goats grazing your land

​If you rent your grazing goats from an experienced goat herder, they will monitor and care for the goats while they are grazing your land.

If you choose not to do this there are a few things to know about the proper care of goats:

Shelter

  • Goats cannot tolerate wet conditions and will always seek out dry shelter during bad weather.
  • Goats should have access to a shelter at all times, regardless of the season.
  • Goat shelters cleaning regularly to remove any accumulated waste. Please contact the City’s Planning Division before establishing any shelter structures on your property to make sure all applicable accessory structure development standards are met.

Feed

  • Goats cannot just eat the vegetation growing on your property.
  • Goats require a well-rounded diet that typically includes bulk foods such as well-made hay that is free from mold, seasonal green vegetation, and daily mineral supplements.
  • You should seek advice on a suitable diet for your particular goats from an experienced goat owner or a veterinarian.

Water

  • Goats need a constant supply of clean, fresh water.
  • Position and secure water containers so that goats cannot accidentally urinate or defecate in them or knock them over.
  • Provide six gallons of water per day per goat.

Fencing

  • Fences should be at least four feet in height and checked ​​regularly.
  • Gaps in fences must be small enough so that goats will not get their heads and limbs stuck.

Tethering

  • Do not tether (tying up on a long leash) ​goats.
  • A tethered goat can injure or strangle themselves on the line.
  • Tethered goats ​cannot escape predatory animals.

Contact us

Planning DivisionCommunity Development Department
Monday–Friday
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 305
Salem OR 97301
Phone: 
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