Goats: A Natural Alternative to Herbicides

Munching on everything from leafy spurge to knapweed and thistles, the goats are a natural—and more thorough—than herbicides.

| May/June 2002

  • Town of Vail
  • Town of Vail

Goats as landscapers? “Why not?” says Fred Lamming, who owns Jackson, Wyoming-based Ewe4ic (pronounced “euphoric”) Ecological Services with his wife, Lani. The Lammings’ 2,000 cashmere goats have traveled throughout the Rocky Mountains ridding towns, subdivisions, private homes, wildlands and parks of unwanted weeds.

“Goats are self-propelled units that are able to go where no machine can and few humans dare. Goats work during all seasons, in fair weather as well as when it is windy, dark, snowy, raining, and on all major holidays,” Lani explains. “And they’ll eat anything,” says Fred, the former supervisor of the Teton County, Wyoming, Weed and Pest Control District. “A goat is a total farming machine.”

The goats do much more than merely eat weeds. “The goats are full-service,” Fred says. Using no fewer than 500 goats on an acre, the Lammings implement high-intensity grazing for short periods of time. In addition to removing weeds, the goats also aerate the ground with their hooves and tread in the native plant seeds the Lammings drop. The goats’ manure and urine fertilizes the soil. No longer competing with weeds, native plants are able to suck up the nutrients. “Goats are just such beautiful animals and can help the land so much more than herbicides can,” Fred says. “After three years, the land being managed by the goats will look better than any land treated with herbicides.”

“In all of my years in weed and pest control, I never had anyone come up and hug a spray truck,” says Fred. “But they will come up and hug a goat.”

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