May 05, 2009

Google Goes to the Goats

Apparently Google has learned something I have known for years, that goats make great environmentally friendly weed eaters and a much better alternative to gas powered lawn mowers and toxic chemicals for weed control. It was posted on their blog that they have hired 200 goats from California Grazing to control weeds and brush at their Mountain View headquarters. Google has found out that whether it is controlling Kudzu in the south or reducing dry weeds and brush in California, goats can get the job done and be cute as well as personable while doing it. Goats are especially well adapted for this type of work because they are closely related to deer in their eating habits and actually prefer the leaves, weeds and brush. They won't leave a property looking like a well manicured golf course but they will definitely knock out the invasive woody plants and weeds as well as fertilize it as they go. (pun intended...well I found it funny)

I think the owners of California Grazing have a genius business in this. They are getting paid for their goats to browse on other people's property which also equals lots of free food for their goats. Since typically the greatest expense for keeping any type of livestock is the food that they eat California Grazing gets to go to the bank twice on that one. As expected, all of this has the benefit of reducing the risk of grass and brush fires in an environmentally friendly way, which I think is fantastic. I think the unexpected benefit of using goats as weed control in urban areas is that people that live in the city and may have never had any experience with farm animals can see and experience these goats just being goats. They can learn that goats are not the smelly, tin can eating animals just looking for someone to butt portrayed on Saturday morning cartoons.

The Google goats and others like them can teach people that goats are actually quite friendly, clean animals with many positive uses such as weed control. Maybe the Google goats will spark some city folks interest in goats and their other positive contributions to our lives such as delicious goat cheese and skin soothing goat milk soap. An increased interest in these farm products can also help farmers and that is always a great thing in my book, no kidding. (Sorry I was on a goat pun roll here)

The picture is not of a Google goat but was taken by me on our farm of a goat eating from a tree and showing their agility and determination for eating leaves and vines.

21 comments:

Pricilla said...

We love our lawn mowers around here! We have so many invasive weeds and the goats are great for weed control.

Media Mentions said...

http://www.pressdisplay.com/pressdisplay/showlink.aspx?bookmarkid=PUCX92ANWIL8&preview=article&linkid=0f1044f1-c986-48ca-b721-b22ae850850f&pdaffid=ZVFwBG5jk4Kvl9OaBJc5%2bg%3d%3d
I used this article to support what I learned from yours. Veery interesting indeed :D

Sincerely,
MediaMentions

Lisa T. said...

Very cool. If anyone needs four very effective rose bush killers, tulip munchers or iris chewers--give me a call. I'll set you right up.

Smiles,
Lisa

Amy said...

How neat but already knew that about goats too but ours are more browsers than grazers though so they wouldn't make good lawn mowers.

Stephanie said...

Love it!

Mary @ Annie's Goat Hill said...

They definitely can do a good clean up job. I loved your puns, Jennifer. :)

I remember an article about a woman my age that travelled around with her herd of goats, somewhere out west. It was a moving article, inspiring.

There are a lot of people that still think goats will eat anything, including tin cans. Wish we could change their minds!

Cori said...

Right now the best looking spot on the farm is the pasture the goats are in. It has been too wet to mow for days and the grass is getting tall. The goats' pasture actually looks like a well manacured lawn and their's is the only fence we don't have to string trim around-ever.

Christy said...

If you have any strawberry plants you don't want anymore, we have the goats for you! LOL.

Carolyn said...

I keep telling people about this idea and they don't believe me!

Great post. I'm glad Google is bringing goats good press.

Leslie said...

Funny, because we were just talking about getting a goat for this purpose. If I could get some willing help with the weeds, I would have more time for other things, like caring for the goat. Really, I think they are just so cute!

Linda Hughes said...

We have a home in the Oakland Hills which we lost in the firestorm of 1991. (Rebuilt now) Anyway, now herds of goats come to eat down the brush in the hills to abate fires. We love to see them munching away. One evening we saw a mother give birth as she was walking along and the kid was up and moving with her in minutes. Quite a sight! Sure wish they had been bringing in the goats back in 1991!

San Diego Farmgirl said...

Sounds like they prefer garden plants, too. I think I'd need more space for goats. I'd hate to keep them too confined, and they WILL NOT eat my garden! :o)

KathyB. said...

My sheep also keep the weeds and brush down...I have often wondered why it hasn't occurred to the average American that keeping a few hens and a small goat or sheep is the best answer to many of their weed and pest problems..and these animals are much less noisy, dangerous, and destructive than the common dog.Plus, as you stated, the stuff that they leave behind IS fertilizer and a true garden commodity, unlike doggy poo.

Good and interesting post! Funny too.

Twisted Fencepost said...

The agility and balance of a goat never ceases to amaze me!

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

we won't be buying anymore machine lawn mowers.

Rachael said...

wow, that is really neat! i think i need some goats :)

DayPhoto said...

AND they like to climb on buildings and trucks and haystacks, and ....well, you know.

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com/

Alix said...

Now if you could only train those cuties to climb up on the roof and lick the shingles clean, we'd be talkin'.

Love your tree climber. THAT is adorable.

José Eduardo said...

What never ceases amazing me is the smell that 200 goats exhale, keep in mind to have some Channel number 5 at hand :)

amanadoo said...

I recently saw an ad for someone around here (Cleveland) who rents out their goats to clear our places that need it. I think they also do pigs for rooting up stumps! I think it's fabulous.

Oz Girl said...

Oh I love your photo of the goat in a tree! :)

This is great that Google is using the goats for weed and brush control, esp in California.

I hope in the next year I can acquire some chickens and goats. It will take some coercing of my honey... :)