Does this really work?
Goats Chomp Up Fire Fuel In Wickenburg
POSTED: 9:36 pm MST March 12, 2009
UPDATED: 6:56 am MST March 13, 2009
What the rental rate on a herd of goats?
WICKENBURG, Ariz. -- About 70 goats are roaming through the Nature Conservancy's Hassayampa River Preserve in Wickenburg this month, chewing up vegetation that could fuel forest fires this summer.
Tanya Baker, who lives in Dewey, Ariz., owns the goats. They are one of only a couple animals that will eat explosive brush fuels like the grass and weeds found in the preserve, according to Baker.
"They're one of the very few animals that are browsers, that will eat multiple types of vegetation," Baker said.
The goats can chew up about a quarter of an acre a day. Baker uses an electric fence to make sure the goats graze in the areas that will most benefit fire officials. The fences also serve as a method of keeping predators out.
Wickenburg Fire Chief Ed Temoroski said he initially thought the idea of goats eating up fuel to stop the spread of forest fires was "crazy," but now supports it.
"It's a safety factor because we know we're assured of having fire breaks in this area," Temorowski said.
The Hassayampa River Preserve has had a history of wildfires in the past, Temorowski said. The work of the goats will allow Temorowski's firefighters a much better opportunity to fight a forest fire this summer, if it occurs.
He added that using goats to clear out vegetation is much more eco-friendly than using machines to do the same job. Firefighters have also used controlled burns to clear out vegetation in the past.
Baker lives on-site with the goats while they spend the month eating. Once they are done at the preserve, the goats will go to Prescott for another job.
What the rental rate on a herd of goats!
considering goats will eat darn near anything, and the Army has been using sheep and goats for years to "mow" inside their ammo depots, I would imagine this would be a low cost, eco-friendly alternative to mechanical mulching or chemical treatments, plus they require no maintenance, and when they are done, you can eat them
Going rate w/ one of those goat clearing companies is $1 per day per goat. Most of them send goatherds and dogs so you don't have to fence them in. I think the rate is 400 goats will clear(as in no vegatation below about 5') in one day. So you adjust the numbers to eat what you want cleared. They eat shrubs and weeds and thistles before the grass so you get rid of noxious species, even poison ivy, before they start munching on the grass.
Yes it works
The Forest Service has been testing this out on multiple forests for fuels clearing and weed abatement strategies. I believe Cal fire is even using it in some places in the front country. Seems to be pretty effective. Considering goats eat everything including tin.
Goats and Dogs
I have 6 acres up in California's Mother Lode County. I use 4 goats and a Barbados sheep (as well as 2 Great Pyrenees dogs) to keep clear brush and grass. They work great! There are no ladder fuels anywhere where they are! There are several local ranchers that lease out their flocks for this as well. A good goat will eat everything within reach and will stand on their hind legs to get low hanging vegetation as well. Like I said, no ladder fuels! Nothing under 6 feet off the ground and they really love the poison oak.