If this is the first you’re reading of our goat renting adventure, please start here with the post that describes how we chose this adventure. And just as a side note, whenever you have a choice of the old standard way to do something or the adventurous way, choose adventure. You’ll be glad you did. While it was not the most economic or efficient way to rid our yard of all that ivy, I’m glad we chose the adventurous way. I’m glad we rented goats. Now here’s the rest of the story.
Goats, Sheep, and Donkeys, Oh My!
We had goats (and sheep and a donkey) in our yard for a total of 6 days. The total cost to rent these goats for nearly a week was $750. While we did not have so much fun those first two days with all the boys and their in-season girls, we loved the dwarf goats, Shaun the Sheep, and Guinevere the Donkey. My wife called me when Jason (who looks a whole lot like Jesus) came to pick them up. “Well, now I’m sad!”, she said.
Guinevere was ready to go, though. Despite our feeding everyone chunks of apples that morning, when she heard Jason’s voice, Guinevere trotted over to the gate and began braying incessantly until Jason let her out and onto the trailer.
The Final Results
In the end, every shrub we had, except the azaleas, has now been completely pruned down. These goats ate every leaf off of every shrub we have. They used the orange temporary fencing we put around several bushes as a ladder to get to the juiciest morsels of leaves at the top. Some of them stuck their heads inside the tarp we wrapped around another bush, and just got stuck in there until there was nothing left to eat. We found this out when we removed the tarp after they left. The bush was nothing but sticks.
And the ivy? Well, they thinned it out pretty well, but it’s not gone by any stretch of the imagination. It will be easier for me to whack the ivy and begin removing the vines.
Next time (what?!?), we will properly cordon off specific areas, rent the smaller, nicer goats, and fewer of them, and make sure they stay in an area in which they can eat anything and everything without creating more work for me.
The Goat Renting Business
Got to thinking how fun it would be to hear one of these goat businesses pitch at Pitch Practice. Here’s my version of the Red Wagon Goats pitch:
“Did you know ivy kills trees, hides snakes, and provides a great home for mosquitos? And most chemicals simply won’t kill established English Ivy. But goats love ivy! We’ll rent you a herd of goats by the day to eat your ivy and fertilize your yard. By the time their done, you’ll want to keep these goats. Give us a call, and we’ll bring them over.”
We paid $750 to babysit and feed someone else’s goats for a week. Jason has an old truck and a horse trailer to transport these goats. Every now and then they’re not booked, and the goats are at home, eating feed and hay. I would imagine the toughest part of managing a mobile herd of goats is simply getting them on the trailer each time.