Want an environmentally-friendly solution to lawn mowing? You may want to consider hiring some goats.
Goat rentals are becoming an increasingly popular service for homeowners and farmers looking to get their vegetation under control, with multiple companies now offering the service worldwide.
Goats eat plants considered weeds. Goats are browsers rather than grazers. This means they eat mainly leafy plants and shrubs rather than grasses. Although goats will eat most common weeds, they particularly like blackberry brambles, kosia, leafy spurge, poison hemlock, scotch broom, spotted knapweed, yellow star thistle, wild rose and wild turnip.
In addition to eating the weeds, goats also eat the seeds too and so eliminating the seed’s potential to germinate again. The goat’s digestive system sterilises seeds as they move through the goat’s body, so a weed seed is usually unable to produce new plants.
Goats are used in this capacity for wildfire prevention, managing invasive weeds on public land, and browsing weedy areas around homes and schools. Intensive targeted browsing can create effective fire breaks. Also, in areas where brush and brambles choke the streams, goats clear out the mass of vegetation without damaging the riparian ecosystem.
In West Virginia, the National Park Service deployed two dozen goats last October to tackle the problem of invasive plant species taking over the town of Thurmond in the New River Gorge National River. For a month, the goats roamed the land eating invasive species including Japanese knotweed, multiflora rose, and kudzu. The invasive weed-munching goats will return to the area over the next two years as part of a three-year programme. You can watch their story in the video above.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at Rosamedea.com