Eco-Goats
  How it Works

Goats are not right for every piece of land. But—when they are right, they are very right! We offer a free visit to walk your property, evaluate your needs, answer your questions, and determine if goats would be a good choice. We assess the vegetation, make sure we know what your intentions for the property are (there is no one "right" plan for all property), and then provide you with an estimate given the acreage, vegetation, time and materials involved.


When your scheduled date arrives, we move the goats from their home in Davidsonville, MD to your property by trailer. We set up portable electric fencing that we provide, being sure to include information and warning notices so that curious passers-by can safely enjoy watching the goats graze.


In most cases, grazing goats are visited on the job by an Eco-Goats staff member once a day. We check for any problems in fencing (even if a part were to be down, the goats respect that electric deterrent!), evaluate the grazing, and make sure everyone is healthy and happy.


Once finished, we remove the goats and fence. Goat droppings become great fertilizer, so this parting gift is yours to keep! Having been trampled by the goats, it breaks down quickly and becomes rich soil. Depending on the time of year, it is most often absorbed into the land within a week or two.


 

Frequently Asked Questions

How many goats do you bring and how long does it take?
What if the goats eat something I want to keep?
When are goats NOT a good choice for a property?
What happens to goat droppings?
How do goats stack up to herbicides?
How soon will it grow back?
Are goats safe in my neighborhood?
What areas do you work in?
What time of year do I want the goats to come?
Has there been research on using goats?
What kind of consulting do you offer?


How many goats do you bring and how long does it take?
This isn't a simple formula. While we have 100 goats, we have to consider what kind of vegetation is on the land, how much is there, and how many goats a property can hold. On our sample video jobs, there were 30 goats used for 48 hours on a .3 acre neighborhood property, and 50 goats used for 12 days on a 4 acre property with thick forest vegetation. Eco-Goats will estimate how many goats and days you will need for your unique property at the time of our initial evaluation.


What if the goats eat something I want to keep?
Because goats eat a wide range of vegetation, we assess each job before we start to be sure we will meet your objectives. In some cases, areas with desirable vegetation or critical trees can be fenced out.


When are goats NOT a good choice for a property?
There is a wide range of situations when goats would not be the best choice for vegetation control. For example, when there is a large quantity of desirable vegetation that goats are known to eat mixed in with the vegetation you want to get rid of. Another example would be when the vegetation is toxic to the goats, such as Mountain Laurel, Rhododendron or Yew.


What happens to goat droppings?
It becomes fertilizer— which you want! Droppings provide nutrient rich organic matter that improves soil fertility, texture, water holding capacity and infiltration. Out go the weeds and invasives, in stays the grass, up comes more grass next time!


How do goats stack up to herbicides?
In many cases, herbicide is the fastest and cheapest means of killing a wide range of vegetation. It can also be helpful to spot-reduce certain weeds when the bulk of the vegetation is desired. However, real dangers have emerged as a result of the blanket use of herbicides. Dangers include buildup of persistent toxins in the soil, contamination of surface and ground water, immunity and plant mutation (creating the "super weed"), and harmful effects on desirable vegetation, domesticated and wild animals, and humans. Beyond this, they do not always work, causing a waste of time, energy and money to the landowner. Goats are also a broad-spectrum solution to problem vegetation, but they enhance the environment instead of harm it. They are often a superior choice in hard to reach or environmentally sensitive areas and over time can restore vegetation to its healthy native state.


Eco-Goats

How soon will it grow back?
Vegetation control is always a process and cannot be viewed as a single project. Repeated applications are required no matter what form of control you use--herbicide, machines, or goats. Residual seed, banked in the soil, will return to grow again. However, goats often create a long-term net gain in restoring healthy soils and native vegetation. With proper timing, they reduce the amount of seed released into the soil and surrounding areas, which helps deplete the seed bank and control spreading. The number of applications and amount of time for this depends on the vegetation species, the time of year the property is grazed, and the overall health of the soil (weeds and invasives are often the strongest competitors on depleted soils).


Are goats safe in my neighborhood?
We carefully assess the needs of each site to maximize both the protection and enjoyment of the goats as they graze. Our portable electric net fencing is a very effective tool in containing the goats. Clear information signs instruct neighbors about what is going on, the joys of grazing goats, and at the same time provide clear warnings not to touch the fence or goats. Thus, goats can be as safe in your neighborhood as your household pets are.


What areas do you work in?
We service smaller properties in Central and Southern Maryland. Larger properties may extend to all of Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania.


What time of year do I want the goats to come?
The best time of year depends on the vegetation you want to be rid of. There are ideal times for different mixes of vegetation and we will assess the most effective timing for grazing your unique property when we come to visit.


Has there been research on using goats?
Yes, there has been extensive research on using goats for invasive and other unwanted vegetation. See our Press and Links page for more information.


What kind of consulting do you offer?
At Eco-Goats, we know goats! And, with Brian Knox being a Licensed Professional Forester, we also know vegetation. Putting the two together, Brian consults with individual land owners and civic groups who are out of our area of service. He can help you decide if goats are right for you, including sharing what goats can and can't do, on what kind of goats work best and in what environment, and how many goats you might want to consider for your job. He consults on fencing, identifying and evaluating your vegetation, and how to understand what to look for on your site. Hire his wealth of knowledge for a few hours, a few days, or on an ongoing basis. Write Brian Knox at forests@earthlink.net or call 814-233-0305 for more information.


Click here to see a few 'before and after' videos of our very own Eco-Goats in action.