Serious About Sustainability: Why We Use Goats for Weed Control

February 24, 2021 2 Comments

Serious About Sustainability:  Why We Use Goats for Weed Control
Whether you’re a home gardener or an ostrich farmer, weeds are an inevitable thorn in the side. Here at American Ostrich Farms, controlling invasive plants on the ranch is a critical part of ensuring the health and welfare of our birds. This is because certain prolific species, like mustard weed, are harmful—even fatal— to ostriches when consumed in moderate quantities.


Many common weed control methods come with their own drawbacks. Commercial herbicides are made with harsh, synthetic chemicals that negatively impact humans, animals, and the environment. While effective and convenient, the wellbeing of our ostriches and the spaces they occupy far outweighs these benefits. Alternative methods, like weed barriers and natural herbicides are impractical at scale. So, how does AOF deal with unwanted plants? Goats!

WHY GOATS?

Goats are an earth-safe, effective, and adorable weed management alternative.  These “four-legged eating machines” are among the earliest animals domesticated by humans and they have been used to clear unwanted vegetation for centuries.  Goats can remove invasive species that are not easily managed by humans, including those with stickers and thorns, as well as pesky plants such as poison ivy and poison oak, without ill effect.  

We have half a dozen goats here on the farm that are easily “deployed” to different areas to help keep weed growth under control.  Ricky and the gang are beloved members of our farm family that keep us smiling with their friendly demeanor and rambunctious antics.  We’re grateful that our goats help us uphold our commitment to sustainability across all aspects of our operation.

goats on the AOF farm

2 Responses

Jessica
Jessica

March 19, 2021

Hi Kathleen – Great question! Goats will eat a wide variety of plants, including weeds, grass, and desirable ones like vegetables, fruits, and ornamentals. Fortunately, given an option between ornamentals and weeds, they will typically opt for the weeds! That said, we certainly wouldn’t let them loose in the veggie garden ;-)

Kathleen
Kathleen

March 19, 2021

Can the hosts discern unwanted weeds from grass and good foliage? I know it’s a silly question , but……

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