Goats ate my trees! And I’m glad.

Goats ate my trees! And I’m glad.

And now for the coolest news of the day. We used to have, on our property, a big area of young trees and briars and weeds. You could walk through it, but just barely; it was thick as a Honduran mountainside, and full of chiggers to boot. Now, that area has been cleared. By goats!

Yes, goats. A herd of 10, to be exact, who munched their way happily through this jungle in about a week and a half. They’re not our goats; they are the hoofed employees of Goat Busters, a goat-rental outfit based in Afton. (And no, this blog post is not written to pay the goat-rental fees. I honestly thought you’d be interested, readers.)

After the two amiable human partners in Goat Busters came over to check out our property and help us decide where exactly the goats would go, they cleared enough space for a lightweight electric fence, and then brought the goats! Along with them were two Great Pyrenees dogs—big ol’ white creatures—who are the herd’s official protectors.

Goats and dogs hung out inside the fence for around 10 days, during which the goats ate every green and leafy thing in sight except for one particular type of weed that they really don’t like. Here are before and after photos:



Now we can easily mow or machete the dead stalks and stripped branches they left behind, and the area’s ready to turn into garden or meadow or whatever we want.

The greenness of the goats is this: They do not run on gas. They do not make noise, other than the occasional and very appealing maa-a-a-a-a. Instead of exhaust they produce fertilizer. And, if I may get a little heady about it for a second, their presence invited us to spend more time in that spot, thus becoming more familiar with our land, which I think is important to being able to steward it well.

So there you have it. Has anyone else out there used animals to clear land instead of machines? Also, am I the only one who thinks goats are both cute and creepy?


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