Goats for Weed Control

Consider adding a few goats to your farm for weed control--another way goats can help humans get through the day

by Dani Yokhna
PHOTO: LindasPhotography/iStock/Thinkstock

One goat activity that is gaining interest throughout the United States is weed control. Weeds are tasty to most goats, which are natural browsers.

This makes goats an excellent method to control unwanted vegetation without the use of herbicides or heavy equipment.

This method of keeping weeds to a minimum, called “mitigation,” helps reduce the risk of brush fires.

In the Western United States, the use of goats for weed control is becoming popular. Some goat owners have started small businesses, hiring their goats out to land owners and even government municipalities for vegetation control.

Building a Weed-control Goat Herd

To be part of a herd of weed control goats, a goat must be calm and easily manageable and must have a good appetite—not overly fussy about what it eats.

Goats of different sizes are a good idea in a herd of weed control goats since each size goat will focus on plants that are most suitable to its stature.

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A herd made up of large, medium and small goats will provide the most effective weed control in an area.

The size of the herd of weed-control goats doesn’t matter—any number of goats will do the job. However, the smaller the herd, the smaller the amount of land will be that the goats can browse. A herd of five or six goats can’t be expected to clear out many acres of land, but they can be effective on smaller lots.

Vegetation control is a great way for goats to satisfy their natural urge to browse while helping keep brush fire risks and herbicide use to a minimum.

Weed control goats also help their owners earn extra money while providing a positive image of goats to the general public.

Excerpted from “A Goat of All Trades” by Audrey Pavia. Read the full article in Popular Farming Series: Goats, a publication with in-depth information for those who own or would like to own goats. 

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