DURHAM, N.C. — 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.