Herds for Hire: Rent Goats to Manage Invasive Weeds

Herds for Hire: Rent Goats to Manage Invasive Weeds

Lauren Zerbey
Jun 21, 2011

This is one of those ideas that I think is both hilarious and genius. Using goats for manual labor is not a new concept, but it has certainly become more popular in recent years. In the Seattle area alone, there are a handful of goat rental companies and the animals have snacked on everything from homeowner's backyards to invasive blackberry brambles under freeways.

Goats are a great solution for weed management and here's why:

  • The all-natural approach means no toxic chemicals.
  • Their hooves are gentler on the land then heavy equipment.
  • Goats are natural climbers and do well on steep slopes and other areas that would be difficult for machinery.
  • Their droppings add fertilizer to the land.
  • It's often a less expensive solution to chemicals or heavy machinery and in many areas a clearing permit is not required, saving even more money.
  • People notice goats, so it's a great opportunity to educate others on the merits of alternative weed control.

So how does it work? Most companies will first evaluate a site to make sure the area is free of any plants that might make the goats sick. Then, a herd is brought out and corralled within a temporary fence that is moved about the site as the goats chow down. While ruminants will eat most anything, they do skip over a few things that the goat manager can then remove by hand. At the end of the day (depending on how big the area is), the fencing is removed, the goats are loaded up and the job is done.

Best of all? You get to sit back and watch, no back pain required.

(Image: Rent-A-Ruminant)

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