(Beyond Pesticides, June 15, 2007) What is herbicide-free, cheap, has four fury legs, produces fertilizer and is winning over the city of Seattle? Rent-A-Goats. The ruminants’ tendency to eat just about anything in its path in combination with their four-chambered stomachs has put goats in demand with Seattle-area developers and government agencies.
Eating up to eight pounds of green foliage a day, the goats’ appetites are quickly converting skeptics. John Iwanczuk, a project manager for a Seattle construction company was a skeptic, but he found “not only did it [the goats] reach our objective, we saved a pile of money and made incredible inroads with the neighborhood.”
Mr. Iwanczuk’s project entailed a lot covered with impenetrable brush — something he estimated would take a crew at least a week to clear, filling numerous trucks with debris. Instead, his lot was cleared within four days by 60 goats while attracting elementary school groups and numerous neighborhood residents.
Besides being a cheap non-chemical method to remove undesirable and invasive plants, the goats draw a crowd. The animals are popular with children and parents, and gardeners looking for free fertilizer.
Seattle Metro Transit Agency, Seattle City Light and Seattle Parks and Recreation are a few of the local government agencies hiring goats to help reach pesticide reduction goals. The animals are especially helpful when it comes to controlling invasive species and protecting waterways and the environment.
To learn about other non-chemical and least-toxic ways to manage undesirable species, visit http://www.beyondpesticides.org/alternatives/factsheets/index.htm.
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer