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.
22 hours ago