Skip to comments.Goats for Hire, Come With Voracious Appetites
Posted on 05/14/2012 9:27:59 PM PDT by nickcarraway
If you have a big lawn you're tired of mowing or have overgrown land you need to clear, there are some four-legged friends who are hungry for the job.
Prosperity Acres Farm in Sunderland, Md. has what it calls "green goats."
As an alternative to using herbicides, property owners in Southern Maryland can hire the goats to chow down on unwanted vegetation.
Many of the things goats feast on, are things you don't even want to touch.
"They love the wild rose bushes, poison ivy, poison sumac, poison oak. (They're) not a problem for them whatsoever," says farm owner Mary Bowen.
The Calvert County farm will bring the goats to a given property, set up a temporary fence to keep them in one place and protect them from predators, as well as provide the animals with water and check on them daily.
"As long as they've got the weeds to eat, the goats are very content," Bowen says. "It's as if they're at an all-you-can-eat buffet."
"Not only are the goats cleaning up, but then they're fertilizing in a natural and organic way, and they're leaving their fertilizer behind," she says.
The arrangement works well for her because during the summer, Bowen says she doesn't have to spend money to feed her goats at all.
Right now, the goats are being used to maintain the Mellomar Golf Park in Lower Marlboro, where the goats have become a local attraction. They are also helping to clean up a vacant farm in Prince Frederick that dates to the early 1800s.
The male goats at Prosperity Acres are raised for their meat, which Bowen says is healthier than chicken.
"I think it tastes sweet, but I can't compare it to another meat. It does not have a gamey taste like a deer," she says.
No matter if they're male or female, all of the goats get a lot of love.
"We care very much for our animals, as if they were our dog or our cat.They all have names," Bowen says.
Many are named after characters from the "Cars" animated movies, including Lightning McQueen, Sally, Guido and Luigi.
A few months ago, researchers at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore launched a three-year study to determine how best sheep and goats can be used to eliminate unwanted vegetation.
"We want to develop a model that can be transportable and reproducible, so we can tell the farmer, 'This is what you need to do to your farm,'" says Assistant Professor Enrique Nelson Escobar.
Bowen is helping with the project by allowing scientists to study her "green goats," and by testing some of the researchers' ideas to see if methods she's using can be improved.
My son wants to raise goats, I wish he’d hurry up and buy some.
Hasn’t this been going on for eons?
You think they might f@rt green house gas and endanger the world. /s
A bunch of goats is a Kudzu Army! :-)
Boy, do I have a fricken feast for some lucky goats! I wonder if anyone in my locale is doing this. I’ve thought of getting a couple of goats for the summer season, then selling them in fall.............still an option.
I am considering this too. Get a really good portable electric fence and move them around the property to clean it out. However, many folks familiar with goats have said that sheep are less picky and will eat bushes and small trees that goats won’t be interested in. The problem with sheep is that we have large coyote packs running around here and some of them are about the same size as my German shepherd.
I may try out pigs and fence them in the woods a 1/4 acre at a time to see how they do. Supposedly they root up everything! They taste better than goats or sheep although some mutton dishes are mighty tasty.
Original Weed Eater/
Rolled shoulder with salt, pepper, thyme and mint jelly is paradise. The best thing ever.
Short video on Goat based longevity here:
Regards from Spokeshave who helped our goats birth 5 kids last week
(Summary of the 10 steps for longevity here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r__a7ZfztCo&feature=relmfu )
Several goatfarmers in SoCal hire out for weed abatement. Goats leave rabbit-pellet type waste, practically disappears into the ground on its own. My favorite, the Lamancha, is a dairy goat which has tiny ears and can be doglike in its behavior. Climbing things and playing King-of-the-Hill seems to be a favorite game of goats, some can be real escape artists!
I like the jacob sheep.
If I was going to raise an animal like a goat, I would opt for the jacob sheep.
You’re right about sheep being less picky. Sheep will even eat goatheads, which goats won’t touch. Goats are crazy. They’ll eat a shoe or a rope, but not goatheads. :) And sheep taste better IMHO.
If anyone’s wondering what goatheads are, it’s the nastiest plant I know of.
I’ve never understood why they didn’t “unleash” goats and sheep against the Kudzu.
They used the goats to clear out a couple of areas in my neighborhood. It worked great. Got some pictures of them around here somewhere...
Yes, the goat herd as vegetation control is nothing new. I knew
a guy who had several hundred goats he would rent out to ranchers
for that purpose. Personally I hate goats but they do have a
function. Along with llamas, peacocks, and emus goats were in-
vented by Dr Seuess.
I have goats and their pasture is full of weeds they won’t touch.
It still has to be mowed and/or weed whacked periodically.
The downside to letting them loose in your yard is that they *will* devour those lovely, expensive shrubs you bought for landscaping.
My Arbor Vitae was carefully sculpted into a Dr Suess lollipop-esque artform by my baaaaaaaad goats.
Despite myths to the contrary, they’re *extremely* picky eaters.
Make sure they can’t get to your vehicles. They have been known to try to eat the mirrors and anything else they can pull off. Oh, and they like to leave hoof-prints on car roofs and hoods.
Before you run out & buy a goat, consider this.
A goat is a browser, not a grazer. It will leave lush green grass on the ground as it eats your ornamental bushes & fruit trees. It will pull the tree limbs down, break & strip them. It will eat the bark of a tree, killing it.
Goats are great for clearing thick, brushy land, but they will trash your back yard.
Buford Dam near Atlanta is mowed by goats. Too dangerous an area for humans to trim.
One of my brother’s goats pulled a flaming piece of newspaper to eat from of the edge of a smoldering brush pile and burned off its beard.
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