On Sunday, September 11, two adorable nubians were delivered to the farm as an experiment in invasive plant control. Pongo and Buddy have been happily munching away in the riparian area, consuming prodigious amounts of lambs quarters, japanese hops and fescue. They also enjoy the bladder campion but are not crazy about the sweet annie… yet.
We are hoping to entice them to consume the Sweet Annie before it goes to seed and contributes to next year’s invasives crop.
Goats are becoming increasingly popular as a sustainable, organic way to control invasive plant species. We are also hoping they develop a taste for the honey locust (outlook is good based on one breakfast observation) and the ailanthus.
Many thanks to Charles and Kate Layton for the loan of the goats. We also appreciate the consultation of Katherine Layton on their needs. We are recording their eating habits, rates of consumption and ability to make a difference in the riparian area where there is battle occurring between the native and invasive species.
According to the website www.eco-goats.com, ‘goats were one of the first animals to be domesticated by humans about 9,000 years ago. Today, there are some 200 breeds.’ Also, ‘they have a narrow, triangular face that allows them to crush what they eat, so seeds that might otherwise get passed through to fertilization are not viable.’
So far we are very pleased with the goats’ progress. With an investment of a shelter and some electric fence, they are ready to go as natural lawnmowers.