You Can Actually Rent Goats to Eat Weeds in Your Yard


Invasive species of plants can make gardening and yard work a real pain. And the most noxious weeds—the ones that choke out other species, are harmful to pets or kids, and can even damage structures—can be really hard to get rid of. If you use herbicides to remove them, the solution might be worse than the original problem.

Luckily, there’s a cute, natural, and environmentally friendly alternative to most weed control problems, and you can pay for it by the hour: You can rent some goats to eat the nasty plants plaguing your yard. It’s more practical (and feasible) than it sounds.

How to rent goats for weed control

There are a few handy online tools to help you find a local goat rental service in your area. If you live in the U.S., you can use this directory from HireGoats.com to find a local goat rental service in your area, or you can find a herd using the website Goats on the Go.

Make sure you have an approximate size for the area you want to clear before you try to get an estimate for goat rental. Having these weed eating dynamos on your property will likely involve some temporary fencing, and you’ll need to plan to allow goat handlers access to your yard, just as you would for any yard maintenance team. You might also need to keep your pets and kids indoors while the herd is at work, as you don’t want them to be distracted from the important work of eating your unwanted greenery.

How much it costs to rent goats for weed removal

Renting goats is often done by the acre, and the cost averages between $400 to $1,000 per. But if you live in town and don’t have that much land, weed-eating goats can usually be rented by the job, at a cost of between $450 and $900 per day. The rate will vary depending on on where you live, the scope of your job (including the volume of vegetation you want removed), and the terrain and fencing necessary. Getting a quote from a professional is the best way to estimate your costs.

Why would you want to rent goats?

If you have noxious weeds, especially ones like poison oak, poison ivy, and poison sumac that can cause severe rashes to humans handling them, goats are a great approach. They can consume these plants safely and contribute some rich fertilizer while doing it.

Goats will eat lots of invasive and nuisance species, including kudzu, mile-a-minute weed, himalayan blackberries, English ivy, and knapweed. Goats leave behind only natural fertilizer, so they’re way safer for pets and kids than herbicides, and certainly easier on your back than hand pulling.

When goats aren’t practical

Obviously if you have a very small space to clear, goats won’t be a practical solution. In addition to the overkill involved in bringing multiple goats to eat just a few weeds, they won’t be cost-effective unless you have some truly dense or dangerous weeds to clear. Since goat grazing is significantly more invasive than your average lawnmower, you shouldn’t try using goats just to cut your grass. They’re better for fast-growing, dense weeds than lawn care.

Goats won’t completely kill off all your weeds, so you’ll still need to deal with pulling roots and other remediation after they’re done grazing, so if you don’t want to deal with a two-step process, consider other solutions. Also, goats will eat all of the greenery they come in contact with, which is worth keeping in mind if your prize petunias are growing right next to a clump of weeds.

What to expect when you rent goats for weed removal

When renting goats for landscaping purposes, you’ll most likely be visited first by a goat wrangler who will scout out your property and assess your needs. This person will measure everything to determine how much fencing will be necessary to corral the goats and what the job will cost you.

Once you’ve booked your four-legged removal crew, the rental company will return with some portable electric fencing to install temporarily to keep the goats in the areas where you want them to graze. After that, the goats will be delivered, and go to work. A herd of 30 goats can clear a densely overgrown half-acre of land in about two or three days, so imagine what two or three of them could do in your backyard over the weekend.

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