Forget The Landscaping Crew, Bring In A Few Goats
Posted by GreaterGoodness
Government officials at airports and major destinations across the nation are turning to natural ways of maintaining areas with wild growth. Goats and similar livestock offer benefits over traditional chemical- and machine-based landscaping methods, and they can do so at low costs while still providing reliable and eco-friendly results.
Goats offer lessened environmental impact, providing a natural way to deal with overgrown weeds and vines in public areas. The federal government of the United States employed a small herd of the animals to clean up the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. The creatures feast on the vines that strangle mature trees in the cemetery, which can otherwise lead to the trees falling on historic headstones and damaging the important site.
According to NPR, one of the favorite snacks of the goats is poison ivy, and using the livestock to remove this weed offers a safer alternative to toxic herbicides or burning out the harmful plants. Controlling poison ivy in this manner also allows visitors to the Congressional Cemetery to enjoy their trip with less likelihood of encountering the plants, which for humans can cause serious skin irritation on contact. The goats also naturally fertilize the land as they graze and make a tourist attraction in and of themselves.
It may not seem like goats are an easily accessible option in large cities such as Washington, D.C., but the number of goats raised for this purpose and the number of companies looking into their impact has led even big companies to consider the potential revenue of lending herds.
According to Newsweek, Amazon added goat-grazing to its list of home services available for employment in certain parts of the country. Amazon’s service makes handymen and workers of many different sorts, including the hoofed variety, available to private businesses and homeowners across the nation. This enhanced availability makes goats an even more viable alternative to traditional methods of dealing with problem overgrowth and invasive weed control.
The NPR report also notes that a two-week rental of a herd of 30 to 35 goats can cost around $4,500, which is comparable to, if not cheaper than, the cost of manpower and supplies for a landscaping company to tackle many of the same tasks over the same period of time. The cost of the goats at the Congressional Cemetery was covered by a donor, but this places the price in a good range for those looking to hire the grazing animals.
According to USA Today, Chicago O’Hare Airport has previously used goat services, as well as other livestock, to manage some of the land on the airport’s property over a few months of grazing. The animals return home during the colder months when the vegetation isn’t as abundant, but in that time, they can cover up to 10 acres efficiently.
Other airports have also come to enjoy the reliable results produced by goat herds. These include the Hartsfield international airport in Atlanta, Georgia, and the San Francisco and Portland international airports. Goats can more easily weave around trees and through bushes, allowing them to get at weeds that would otherwise be difficult to access with traditional landscaping equipment. This produces neat undergrowth control and helps turn the undesirable vegetation into natural fertilizer to keep the area looking its best for longer periods of time with a reduced or eliminated need for chemical soil amendments or treatments.
Goats, and similar livestock including llamas and donkeys, provide a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative to traditional landscaping methods. The enhanced availability of goats, through local farms and services such as those offered by Amazon, makes this a viable option in many areas, especially for big businesses or governmental entities that own large properties. Learn more about how to make eco-friendly choices that can help beautify surroundings and reduce the need for harsh chemicals and heavy machinery.