Goats are the perfect lawn mowers for overrun spaces, waysides, undeveloped fields and woodland regions that need to be cleared. And here’s the genuine kicker-they have stomachs that can digest poison ivy, and they love eating it. Goats also find invasive species tasty such as kudzu, multi-flora rose, Japanese honeysuckle and Oriental bittersweet. Don’t ever try these on salad.
Goats ignore poisonous plants most of the time, but because of their need to browse, they may try them just for variety. Whether a goat that eats a poisonous plant shows signs of poisoning depends on how much of the plant it eats, what part of the plant it eats, the condition of the plant (fresh or dried), the time of year, and the size and health of the goat. Prior to moving in goats is the time to learn what is growing on your land.
The Perfect Lawn Care Solution? Maybe Not.
There is a collective inaccuracy with many people who think that a goat will offer an answer to trimming their lawn. While goats undoubtedly will create a fair indent in a lawn, it is not the supreme fit arrangement for either the goats or the grass owner. A green lawn is feasibly the lowermost order of brush control. They will eat the grass but would rather eat your rose bushes, flowers, the trees you just planted.
It is a fact that a goat will graze on your regular lawn grass but the shortcomings to this are substantial. Goats will not evenly trim the grass to look manicured. If you are considering goats for the job, don’t expect your lawn to look proper as golf course greens. These eco-mowers will frequently leave behind bulky or spindly stalks that they reject for whatever reason. Perhaps a goat knows that leaving a few of these outsized stubbles will produce more seeds to supply the next crop of lawn grass and weeds, or perhaps they just don’t taste good.
Lawn grass (while nutritious in many ways) should not be the complete nutritive source for the animal. There are numerous categories of grasses as well, each with its own nourishing physiognomies. A goat needs a range of nutrition that will provide the necessary vitamins, proteins and fiber to balance the goat’s intake fully and to sustain suitable well-being. An additional food source such as a hay feeder would be worthy. Be warned that they tend to waste a lot, either from urinating or defecating on it. And this kind of waste matter tends to get rather odiferous after a short period of time.
With much planning you may achieve some very good results. By using the waste matter such as the uneaten and wasted hay, you can create the start of a stellar compost pile. But in reality there are a couple of other things to think about as well; goats tend to paw at the ground and will not stop until they are at the dirt. They are digging themselves a nice, comfortable place to lie.
Perhaps the perfect arrangement for using a goat to supplement your lawn care program would be to have the lawn area fenced in and to then allow the goat to browse the lawn by day, sleep elsewhere, and of course have the secondary food source in the evening. Or, you can rent a goat! Services such as Rent-a-Goat, Eco-Goats and We Rent Goats provide goats to clear noxious weeds from your lawn.
Goats Vs. Lawn Mowers
Goats are Versatile: Goats can be used effectively in almost any location or terrain type, especially in terrain too rocky or steep for human or machine clearing. Goat cleared areas are significantly more attractive.
Goats are Cost Effective: Goats are one of the most cost effective brush and weed abatement resources per contracted area.
Goats are Environmentally Safe: Goats are an environmentally friendly method for clearing areas containing invasive vegetation. Thinning by goats is a natural method resulting in a naturally balanced environment over the long term.
Goats are Quiet: Goats are far less intrusive than mechanical clearing tools. Which would you rather hear…? The loud noise of heavy equipment, or the quiet grazing of goats?
Elizabeth Fournier is affectionately known as The Green Reaper in her tiny community of Boring, Oregon. She is the owner of Cornerstone Funeral Services and works as a green mortician, educator and advocate who is always ready to lend a hand, or a shovel. She is the voice of the autopsy exhibit in the forensic wing at the United States National Museum of Medicine, and recently published her memoir, “All Men Are Cremated Equal: My 77 Blind Dates.”