They’re cute. They’re useful. They have the coolest eyes. They’re goats. And they’re not just for farmers anymore. All over the country, ordinary homeowners are hopping on the goat bandwagon, acquiring and rearing their own goats. Because why wouldn’t they?
Being as they are voracious consumers of all things living, goats make an excellent, low-carbon, substitute for lawn-mowers, weed-whackers, and hedge-trimmers. In fact, 60 goats working in concert can clear an entire quarter acre of dense vegetation in just 3 to 5 days! Grass, weeds, brambles, stickers, poison ivy, kudzu, stems, twigs—you name it; they’ll eat it.
But wait, there’s more! Goat-droppings make for an excellent, high-quality, zero-cost fertilizer. (Can your lawn mower do that?) And as an added bonus, goat-mowed lawns and fields stifle regrowth, thanks to seed-sterilizing enzymes within the goat’s digestive system. And with a little effort, research, and savvy, your goat can also be a source of delicious, nutritious milk.
That said, goat-ownership is not without drawbacks. Not only do goats need lots of TLC, they also need a fair amount of cold hard cash. In the winter when forage is sparse, goats require feed, running between $15 to $30 a month. Hoof trimmers, vaccinations, dewormers, and other health items cost around $50. According to one estimate, caring for just 2 goats can run around $35 to $60 a month. And that’s without an expensive emergency trip to your neighborhood veterinarian.
- Goats can be LOUD! Don’t believe me? Hear for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PpccpglnNf0#t=23
- As ‘herd’ animals, goats require other goats for happiness and well-being. Meaning you can’t just have one goat.
- Goats are rough on fences. (They like to rub against them—roughly.) Goats are also notorious escape artists. Electric fencing/wiring is recommended.
- Left to their own devices, goats won’t just mow your yard; they’ll DESTROY it. Anything you don’t want consumed MUST be safeguarded.
Still interested? Well, some cities and municipalities prohibit goats altogether; many more impose weight and size limits.
Fortunately, in many states you can actually rent a goat. (I know, right?) Goatfinder.com, a goat classifieds site, can help you connect with goat-owners.
Not everyone is cut out for goat-ownership. It’s involves time, sacrifice, money, and the blessing of your local legislative body. But with the threats of climate change and energy depletion looming large, a couple of goats might really come in handy.