There are playful, cuddly baby goats you can meet and hug in late spring at goat cheese farms. Then there is the latest craze “Goat Yoga” where restless adorable animals hop onto you or bump into you while you are twisting yourself in a pretzel on your mat. And then there is Goats Eat Weeds, a sustainable weed removal and soil refertilization practice performed by large herds of goats in the American West. #iherdthat
One sunny day in Colorado, on my morning bike ride, I saw an idea of mine become a reality – stop running that damn lawn mover and get a goat 🐐! The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority employs goats to weed, fertilize, and renew the soil along the Rio Grande Bike Path every summer.
Following my natural curiosity, I stopped to talk to the goat herders and learned a few fun facts about goats 🐐#curiositykilledthecat I even got invited to work with them for a couple of days, fixed fence, and was assigned my own border collie to herd goats. #heaintgoodbutheiscute 🐶
- Goats are browsers not grazers. They eat weeds, brush, trees, and flat leaves first and only then move on to grasses. (If left in the area for too long…the herders usually moves them away before that to save native grasses.)
- Goats are light weight and split hoofed. They till and aerate the soil with their feet. (As a comparison, horses and cattle are heavy weight and flat hoofed and they stomp the soil.)
- Goats are the only species from the sheep/cow/horse/etc domesticated farm animals family that process all the seeds in their FOUR!!! stomachs and their poop is pure fertilizer. They don’t bring invasive species to the area and don’t replant the seeds they just consumed.
- Their urine is full of nitrogen and irrigates the soil. Nitrogen makes the soil alkaline again and promotes plant growth while it removes pesticides, herbicides, and left over heavy elements.
- Goats work 24/7, you can see them lay down at sunrise to warm up and process their food. They can’t get fat if only grazing (oops, meant browsing) 😉
- Goats are herded by border collies and are kept contained by electric fence. They stay wild to have respect of people and dogs.
- They are SUPER cute, fuel-efficient, eco-friendly, non-stop working machines!!!
Goats Eat Weeds is hired by government and local agencies all over the West to help with weed removal and soil fertilization. They have over 1200 goats working in different states from CO to CA. The company is based in Ft. Collins, the goats get transported around with large semi trucks and the goat herders live in RVs close to their goats. #incrediblestory #gypsies
You can hire Goat Green LLC to “trim your lawn” aka weed and naturally fertilize your property! And if you ask politely, by special request you may get a Bulgarian Mermaid as a goat herder. Apparently, I am a natural 🙂 #overeducatedgoatherder