goats have become superstars on the internet lately and have taken up views to pose on top of the downward looking dog in yoga classes or their sheer sweetness as they cuddle around the nursery. Not to mention the many hours that baby-pygmy goats have occupied our own screens in recent months.
These frolicking barnyard animals are more than viral sensations. They have become green alternatives to gas powered lawn mowers. And we're happy about that.
What is a brush goat?
This term is commonly used when referring to a goat used to clear the brush. There are some goats that breeders have labeled Brush Goats, but it is a combination of different goats. Some types can do the job better than others depending on your current needs. For example, if you have a wooded spot on your property that needs a little thinner, larger goats are more suited to clearing branches higher up on trees, while an area with low-growing bushes and weeds can be taken care of by smaller breeds.
Before you buy
You do not have to raise your own herd. Check out your area for services that rent their goats for brush cleaning. This is a good option if you do not have a large parcel to clean and do not want to devote valuable space to housing and care for additional animals. If you have extensive property or no access to a goat haircut service and are interested in getting your own for the job, invest in fencing to keep them housed. Goats are high jump and energetic, so keeping them contained can be a challenge.
Install at least fences at least four feet high to keep them secure. Electric fencing is another option, but goats are cunning and have been known to escape even these types of enclosures. If they manage to escape despite your best efforts, or if you try to limit their range to a specific area, never chain them. They could suffocate themselves and try to get away.
How many do you need?
Whether or not you rent or buy, evaluate how many are needed for the job. Take into account the size of your property, the type of brush that is cleaned, how fast you want to finish and what type of goat to use. Generally, three to four full-size goats can take care of about half an acre of land in three days. Double the number if you use smaller breeds like Pygmy or Nigerian Dwarf.
Keep in mind that goats don't care how hard you've worked hard on your veggie and flower beds, so unless you have the areas protected from these nagging marauders, be prepared to start over. We can help you with that. Replace what you have lost with these fast growing vegetables.
Despite the precautions you must take and the threat of regretting some of your hard work, the good news is that they also do not care about eating toxic ivy and toxic oak. Large patches of these irritating plants do not disturb your friendly garbage. They will be happy to clear the area without hesitation, but make sure you have to touch them after their work day is complete. The oils from the plants that cause allergic reactions can end up on their coats and remain active, causing you significant grief.
If you are thinking about using goats strictly for urban lawn, a robotic lawnmower may be a good option. Or an electric one. Especially if you have a small area to take care of and if you appreciate the well-kept look of a new lawn. Goats are not interested in lawn aesthetics. They will skip or miss some of the tall stalks that give the grass a decent type of hairstyle rather than a smooth, even lawnmower. Their behaviors are more suitable for an area that you don't mind looking a little rugged, like a meadow or a ride. If you do not care about the straight lawn, in which case we are all for the natural lawnmower. Check your city ordinances for any cattle restrictions.
Let these amazing animals help you work your land without renting expensive equipment or putting stress on your back.