Serious Green: Rent-a-Ruminant to Get a Tough Job Done


[Flickr: uberculture]

Got a lot of land? Need to clean it of brush quickly? Forget the gas-guzzling bush hog or poisonous herbicides. Time for some eco-friendly vegetation management. Goats to the rescue!

In Seattle (where the state of Washington classifies the Himalayan blackberry bush as a Class C noxious weed) Tammy Dunakin's Rent-a-Ruminant team of 100 goats work as professional vegetation eradicators.

So what's so great about goats? (Besides the fact that cheese made from their milk is so tasty, of course)?


[Flickr: Kevin]

There are very few plants that goats will not eat. They've got four-chambered stomachs and are ready and willing to chow down on all types of invasive species, including ivy, nettle, holly, morning glory, knot weed, and scotch broom plants—but they'll still leave behind the good stuff, like woody growth.


Before Goats [Photograph: Rent-a-Ruminant LLC]

Goats have a low impact on the environment and their sturdy hooves help them reach uneven places that machinery can't.

They are also fast and cost effective. 60 goats can eat about 1/4 acre (10,000 sq feet) in about 3-5 days. Unlike with heavy machinery, permits are not needed for goats to clear land. Instead of clearing land and then hauling the debris away, goats take care of it all on site. Rates for Dunakin's goats start at $725 per day.

Plus, goats bring free fertilizer with them wherever they go.


After Goats [Photograph: Rent-a-Ruminant LLC]

Check this national database to see if goats are available for hire in your area: Livestock for Landscapes

Goat Cheese Recipes:

Zucchini, Mushroom, and Goat Cheese Tart
Goat Cheese Bread Pudding
Goat Cheese Tart with Pears


Serious Green: Turn Your Lawn Into an Edible Garden