Local News

Durham goats landscape yards

Posted September 24, 2008
Updated September 25, 2008

— A new landscaping team in Durham can double as a petting zoo.

Alix Bowman owns The Goat Patrol, whose team of 14 goats travels to a home and eats unwanted weeds and brush for a fee.

The goats devour poison ivy, honeysuckles, wild rose, blackberry, kudzu, privet, Chinese wisteria and other plants, according to the business’ Web site.

“What they’re really good for is penetrating thick brush, overgrown areas, tackling some of the tougher, tougher plants,” Bowman said.

The goats are described as an economical alternative to clearing crews, landscapers, machinery and herbicides.

Bowman created the business after struggling one day to pull English ivy out of her own back yard. Four months later, she went commercial.

The company has been in business since July, and Bowman said she typically gets one of two jobs a week.

“They compare to a lawnmower and they’re doing much better than my husband. (Don’t tell him!)” Marie Spiller said as she admired the herd cleaning a yard on Hollywood Street.

Nearby children and mothers gathered to watch the goats, including Rosa, Sweetie, Sigmund, Olive and Mr. Pickles, graze. Children were allowed to pet the friendliest goats.

Each goat costs $10 per day, in addition to a $25 per hour cost to set up fencing for the animals to graze in. Customers are also charged 50 cents per mile, round trip, between the farm and the grazing site.

Bowman said that for an average yard, the cost can be around $300.

Although goats eat eight to 12 hours a day, they can't eat everything, Bowman said. She said she closely monitors what they do eat.


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  • NCSULandscaper Sep 25, 2008

    thats a neat business concept, but what are people going to do when 2 weeks later everything is all grown back up again. Gotta kill the roots, not just strip the leaves off

  • familyfour Sep 25, 2008

    If it gets real bad, I can start rentin' out my goats! Cool.

  • Here kitty kitty Sep 25, 2008

    I misread and thought it said goats escape yard. I kept reading the article wondering when I was going to get to the escape part when I re-read the headline. OOOOPS! time for a new pair of contacts :)

  • GWALLY Sep 25, 2008

    Wow this is new....NOT !! Back in the day we used these guys to clear some major Pocasan swamp land to about 5' off the ground...clean as a wistle!!!

  • 68_polara Sep 25, 2008

    yes, and anything with a pit, like a peach, will kill them. You do need watch what they have available to eat but for the most part it's not a big deal.

  • amyrn Sep 25, 2008

    But aren't there some plants that are poisonous for goats like azaleas?

  • chickentender63 Sep 25, 2008

    Oakrapp, cut it down, mill it, and start selling it as flooring to people in Cary.

  • 68_polara Sep 25, 2008

    Aurthur, because goats are vegetarian and ruminants their poo isn't bad at all it doesn't even stink.

  • 68_polara Sep 25, 2008

    That's funny Rev the first thing my goats go after is the poison ivy, they seem to love the stuff. The last thing they eat are sweetgum leaves.

  • Adelinthe Sep 25, 2008

    "The goats devour poison ivy..."

    Ours wouldn't eat the poison ivy which is the main reason we got the things in the first place; still they were cute and sweet, even though they were little Houdinis.

    As for the droppings, leave them there; that's what God intended for them in the first place, to replenish the land.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB