Gardening on the Planet

Hire some goats and give up the Toro

GoatFlickMalingering

Google's been in the news lately for having hired 200 goats to "mow" the grounds around their California headquarters.  But I'll go parochial here and brag on the mowing goats of Maryland:

  • The State Highway Administration is using them to mow around highway bypasses where the threatened bog turtles live.  The light-hooved animals pose no threat.
  • Baltimore schools use goats on loan from a local farm to clear brush at their central garden/greenhouse facility.

GOAT ATTRIBUTES
Not only do goats not run on gas or kill turtles, but they fertilize as they work, and aerate the soil as they stroll along.  Also, no coffee breaks.  And they're so CUTE.  Beyond Pesticides lists all the uses of mowing goats it could find.

Photo credit

ADDENDUM:  I lOVE this comment from Cameron:

"I have a bit of amusing goat experience. First of all, if you buy one goat, you
get three. All females are pregnant with twins! LOL

"Having milked
Toggenburg goats so often for a friend when they took vacation, I can no longer
eat goat cheese — the smell — well, it's memorable!

"Once on a trip to
France, my stepson, a teen at the time, sniffed some smelly cheese and said it
smelled just like a male goat that he once had. My husband has a lot of stories
– like the time the goat was stolen and the thief was known in the community
and made fun of to the point that he returned the goat. The goat would slip
under the fence on a regular basis to go next door to watch the kids play
basketball.

"They are funny and friendly. I once knew a goat that had to
kiss me every time I visited my friend. Each has a unique personality. However,
they are a handful! :-)"

Posted by on June 6, 2009 at 4:08 pm, in the category Gardening on the Planet.
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12 Responses to “Hire some goats and give up the Toro”

  1. Love this post — now, goose person that I am — they just need to recruit some geese to weed!

  2. Jean says:

    Wow, the Maryland highway dept uses them? That’ll never happen in Louisiana, LOL!

  3. You’ve never kept a goat, have you Susan? Though cute at times, they can be quite a handful. I’d like to know how they keep the goats off the road.

  4. susan harris says:

    Craig, you got me – I’ve never tended goats myself. And I remember once stopping along the roadside somewhere to admire them and one just climbed into the car and we had quite a time getting it out. That one adventure was probably as much goat-tending as I really want to do.
    And yes, how DO they keep the goats out of the highway?

  5. Goats are the last hoof animal a shepherd can keep in a degraded landscape. They’ll eat most anything.

  6. Plantanista (Maureen D) says:

    Goats are used lots here in CA. They usually are contained by a temporary electrified fence. My dad lives in a gated community that has begun using goats for vegetation control, and everyone in the neighborhood goes to watch the goats, following them around from location to location.

    The shocking thing, when watching goats do their thing, is the violent way in which the kids approach mom for a meal. They often come bounding from ten yards away, muscling in at full speed to get to her udders, only to clamp on and YANK. Makes me glad not to be a mama goat! Ow!

  7. Gail says:

    I’ve written about this myself Susan! When I found out the herders wanted a place for the goats to sleep at night I knew that I was going to have to find some other way to clean out the poison ivy and honeysuckle in the wayback back yard. gail

  8. sarahammocks says:

    Very cool! My neighbor raises sheep and sometimes has “yard goats” for sale. You keep them tethered to a cinder block, and move the block around, she says, and get em a bale of hay for the winter. I’m tempted to get one, but right now caring for a lame dog and a worm coop is all the animal husbandry I can manage.

  9. It’s wonderful that they are using goats instead of mowers.

    That said, I have a bit of amusing goat experience. First of all, if you buy one goat, you get three. All females are pregnant with twins! LOL

    Having milked Toggenburg goats so often for a friend when they took vacation, I can no longer eat goat cheese — the smell — well, it’s memorable!

    Once on a trip to France, my stepson, a teen at the time, sniffed some smelly cheese and said it smelled just like a male goat that he once had. My husband has a lot of stories — like the time the goat was stolen and the thief was known in the community and made fun of to the point that he returned the goat. The goat would slip under the fence on a regular basis to go next door to watch the kids play basketball.

    They are funny and friendly. I once knew a goat that had to kiss me every time I visited my friend. Each has a unique personality. However, they are a handful! :-)

    Cameron

  10. An old boyfriend use to keep goats .
    His Wooly Weeders names were Elextrolux and Hoover.
    Mean Green Eating Machines.

  11. LauraP says:

    Goats are the ultimate poison ivy and brush control tool. They’re browsers. I use them here to open up honeysuckle-choked woods and keep the underbrush near the barn under control — fewer hiking places for predators mean the ducks and chickens are safer. Just keep the goats away from the roses, tulips, etc. . . . mine all love those tasty flowers.

    As for the smelly cheese, I’ve kept Alpine dairy goats for 14 years. The only time they smell like a buck is during the rut if you let the buck run with the milking herd. Properly handled goat milk does not smell like that, and well-made cheese doesn’t smell or taste rank. Yeah, you can make the smelly stuff if that’s what you really want. But why?

  12. Jenny says:

    A few years ago I made the not so brilliant decision to name three young boer does Paris, Nikki and Nicole. They did their best to live up to their names and were constantly in trouble. When a tree fell on the overhang to the barn, they used it as access to climb onto the roof. Sundown has a sound around here- hooves on a tin roof. It’s disconcerting to see them peering down at me from 18′ in the air.

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