Eco-goats are latest graze in Maryland

Jul 30, 2011
Organisations in Maryland have found an ecologically sound method to cut weeds: bring in the goats.
Brian Knox, owner of Eco-Goats, a business based in Davidsonville, Maryland, said the hungry animals graze on dense vegetation and munch unwanted weeds and invasive plants while also leaving fertilizer behind for the grasses that people want.

Cities and organizations in the US state of Maryland have found an original and ecologically sound method to cut the weeds from their parks and gardens: Bring in the goats.

Brian Knox, owner of Eco-Goats, a business based in Davidsonville, Maryland, said the hungry animals graze on dense vegetation and munch unwanted weeds and while also leaving fertilizer behind for the grasses that people want.

"There is poison ivy and all kinds of stuff that you know people don't want to go in there for, and the don't seem to mind that much," he said.

Eco-Goats, which has been in business for three years, often brings dozens of goats to the site that a customer hopes to clear, then puts up electric fences and allows the goats to graze for days.

One group of 30 goats can clear 100 square meters of brush per day, according to Eco-Goats. Because the animals are agile and good climbers, they can often get to hard-to-reach vegetation.

When the work is finished, the goats have left behind their droppings which serve as fertilizer, said Eco-Goats, which charges about $5,750 for 2.5 acres.

In Gaithersburg, Maryland, the conservation group Izaak Walton League of America (IWLA), in partnership with the city, called on the goats to remove harmful, invasive species in the parks that it protects.

"It's such an innovative, sustainable way of removing invasive species, and you get to hang out with some cute goats while you're doing it," said Rebecca Wadler, an IWLA Sustainability Education Program Associate.

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User comments : 19

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PaulRC
4.8 / 5 (4) Jul 30, 2011
ha ha ha! the guy gets free graze for his goats, and charges money for letting his goats graze there. brilliant! talk about reducing your ranching costs lmao!
dogbert
2 / 5 (3) Jul 30, 2011
Goats have always been used to keep land clear of weeds and brush. They do an excellent job and eat just about anything.

People sometimes object to them in city parks because the people might step on a goat turd.
Isaacsname
not rated yet Jul 30, 2011
Lol. We had a guy here in Asheville with a goat-based lawn mowing service. Didn't go too well.
daveswaney
2 / 5 (2) Jul 30, 2011
So they clear ~ 10 yards by 10 yards in a day, even with 30 goats per session. That's going to take some serious time to clear a forest edge or a fire break around housing.
barakn
not rated yet Jul 30, 2011
Original? Where I'm from goats, sheep, cows, llamas and other critters have all been tried.
Newbeak
not rated yet Jul 31, 2011


People sometimes object to them in city parks because the people might step on a goat turd.

I imagine control of the goats would be more difficult in open public areas like parks,and electric fences would be frowned upon with children milling about.Maybe the invisible fence concept would work with them?
dogbert
1 / 5 (1) Jul 31, 2011
The invisible fence would likely work, but it would be costly to implement.

In today's economy, many cities and towns are unable to maintain their parks, but they still need to send someone in periodically to bush hog the area to prevent brush from taking over. Goats are a perfect solution to this problem.

Goats are cheaper than tractors and bush hogs, they find their own fuel and they require very little maintenance. The city can even use solar powered electric fences to further reduce ongoing cost.
Isaacsname
not rated yet Jul 31, 2011
No, invisible fences won't stop goats. I know from years of experience. Goats will destroy any type of fence you put in front of them, electric fences will slow them down for a bit, but not forever.

When I was growing up, you put the goats on a revolving tether, let them eat a circular patch, then moved them. It's really the only way. A herd of goats in a park will be a sight to see, that's for sure.
danny6114
5 / 5 (1) Jul 31, 2011
$5,750 for 2.5 acres? A bush hog would be cheaper.
dogbert
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 31, 2011
$5,750 for 2.5 acres? A bush hog would be cheaper.


You would not have to rent the goats from someone. You could just buy as many goats as you need.
Newbeak
not rated yet Jul 31, 2011


When I was growing up, you put the goats on a revolving tether, let them eat a circular patch, then moved them. It's really the only way. A herd of goats in a park will be a sight to see, that's for sure.

That's brilliant.Simple,cheap and effective.I wonder if Eco-Goats is aware of it.
Msean1941
5 / 5 (1) Jul 31, 2011
When I was growing up, you put the goats on a revolving tether, let them eat a circular patch, then moved them. It's really the only way. A herd of goats in a park will be a sight to see, that's for sure.


When I was a kid we had neighbors who would tether a self propelled lawnmower to a post in the middle of the lawn and just let the tether wind around the post and draw the mower in closer on each revolution.
Newbeak
not rated yet Jul 31, 2011
When I was growing up, you put the goats on a revolving tether, let them eat a circular patch, then moved them. It's really the only way. A herd of goats in a park will be a sight to see, that's for sure.


When I was a kid we had neighbors who would tether a self propelled lawnmower to a post in the middle of the lawn and just let the tether wind around the post and draw the mower in closer on each revolution.

LOL!
Isaacsname
not rated yet Jul 31, 2011
When I was growing up, you put the goats on a revolving tether, let them eat a circular patch, then moved them. It's really the only way. A herd of goats in a park will be a sight to see, that's for sure.


When I was a kid we had neighbors who would tether a self propelled lawnmower to a post in the middle of the lawn and just let the tether wind around the post and draw the mower in closer on each revolution.


Haha. They say the best way to find an easy solution to a hard problem is to give the job to a lazy man.
Ricochet
not rated yet Aug 01, 2011
When I was growing up, we just quit watering the lawn...
(the ultimate lazy man solution)
amcellig
not rated yet Aug 02, 2011
"put the goats on a revolving tether, let them eat a circular patch, then moved them. It's really the only way."

This represents extremely poor animal welfare, and should not be carried out. Goats are highly social animals with complex behaviours. Basic guidelines for their well being should be followed.
Isaacsname
not rated yet Aug 02, 2011
"put the goats on a revolving tether, let them eat a circular patch, then moved them. It's really the only way."

This represents extremely poor animal welfare, and should not be carried out. Goats are highly social animals with complex behaviours. Basic guidelines for their well being should be followed.


You are blowing hot air there pal, have you ever even owned a single goat ? Try shaking your head to and fro', some of those pebbles should fall out.
amcellig
not rated yet Aug 02, 2011
Yes, I have kept goats for more than 20 years.

I suggest you google "RSPCA goat welfare" and do some reading, before making silly, offensive comments.
Isaacsname
not rated yet Aug 02, 2011
That's nice. I have worked with animals of all types for over 30 years, rare birds included, in addition to having 6 years worth of studying sustainable living and animal husbandry practices at Penn State and outlying areas, interning with Amish farmers, I grew up living in a log cabin with no utilities, in the mountains of Washington state. I know and care more for animals than some quick-to-cry moe ran online who makes assumptions about how I treat animals I have been responsible for stewarding, will ever know.

Try to wrap your brain stem around this: Putting a goat on a tether for a few hours, is no crueler than penning it up at night. Did I say you leave them there until it looks like a putting green ? No.

You probably think chicken tractors are cruel and unusual punishment.

Ha! Ha I say!