Want to clear out unwanted vegetation this fall without resorting to toxic means? Renting a herd of goats to graze your land may be the solution you’re looking for. Goat grazing is a natural alternative to mowing, weed-whacking, or spreading herbicides.
Goat Brush Busters, a new business located on Greenbrier Road in Seaman specializes in residential and commercial brush removal using goats.
The business is owned and operated by Shula Woodworth, a naturalized American citizen originally from England.
Woodworth was a horse trainer and riding instructor for many years until she was seriously injured and consequently disabled in a horse-related accident.
“Because I’m limited by my disability and can no longer work with horses I decided to start a business that would allow me to be self-sustaining,” said Woodworth.
Woodworth started her unique brush removal business after buying a small farm in Adams County.
She is enthusiastic about her work and her animals. “Goats are smart, friendly, and easy going animals,” she explained. “I’m physically able to do this work and it’s actually good for the environment, it makes life better for everyone.”
Goats and grazing animals have been used for centuries for land management. Farmers and landowners are rediscovering that grazing goats is often the better option for land that has unwanted plants, low organic matter, or soil compaction.
Goat grazing is a natural, quiet way to clear brush and weeds without using harmful chemicals or machines that require fossil fuel.
Managed grazing offers several benefits. Goat grazing is superior to the use of pesticides because it involves no toxic chemicals that can leach into water supplies. In addition, herbicides often impact the surrounding ecosystem, killing more than just the target weeds. Goats also consume the seeds that pesticides leave behind thereby preventing the next generation of weed growth.
Grazing is also superior to mechanized methods of weed removal. Unlike the use of mowing machines, goats are quiet and do not leave dry plant waste. In addition, they can easily clear steep slopes, uneven terrain, and maneuver around in inaccessible corners that a person would have trouble reaching.”
The goats not only get rid of the brush in a natural manner, they also have a positive impact on the land. The animals provide organic fertilizer, which helps to restore degraded earth by returning natural organisms to the soil.
Weeds are often symptomatic of unhealthy, depleted soil. Poor soil with little or no organic matter cannot sustain good growth. Goat grazing helps with this problem because everything eaten is recycled.
Goats eat the weeds, add the fertilizer, and because they are light-footed, gently aerate the soil with their soft hooves.
Over-grown gardens and other heavily weeded areas are a goat’s smorgasbord. They will happily eat aggressive noxious weeds, poison ivy, brambles, briers, and masses of prickly scrambling shrubs.
Even though goats prefer prickly thistles, being goats, they take a salad bar approach to the job and will eat whatever is available. “They have to be fenced in because they’ll eat everything,” Woodworth explains. She uses a portable electric fence to confine the goats to small grazing areas.
“They’re competitive, so if you want them to eat all the weeds they have to be concentrated into a small area. Goats would rather eat woody stems and weeds then grass, so your grass grows stronger and healthier while the weeds are destroyed.”
Goat grazing is an ecologically sound and economically viable option for many landowners. In most situations it is more cost effective than the removal fees landscapers would charge.
Ghost Brush Busters delivers goats to each client’s property and remains with them until the grazing is completed. “We have had goats on a job for as short as one day and as long as a couple of months. The amount of times it takes depends on the client’s needs and situation. No job is too large or too small.”
Anyone interested in scheduling an estimate should call 937-205-4628. The business can also be found on Facebook at Goat Brush Busters.