GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Toward the end of an old deer path leading down to the South Fork of Georgetown’s San Gabriel River rests a herd of about 80 animals you wouldn’t normally expect to see there.
After three days on the job in the Wolf Ranch neighborhood, the herd took a late-morning break before resuming its work clearcutting the vegetation.
Rather than bringing in heavy machinery or herbicides, the goats’ teeth act as weedeaters; their manure as organic fertilizer.
Kyle Carr is the owner of Rent-A-Ruminant Texas. He brought the goats in after the neighborhood contacted him, telling him some of the property’s natural space was getting overgrown, and they wanted help clearing it up for families to enjoy.
“We’re dealing with different terrain, lots of hills and slopes,” he said. “There are also rocky areas, and we’re very close to a waterway. So (we’re) using goats that are just designed to go into these types of situations and do it.”
The goats don’t just clear the ground cover, they’re happy to climb up and eat shrubs and low-hanging branches as well.
“They will just clear up everything from about six feet and down,” he said.
The herd is kept together by a low-voltage electric fence that not only acts to keep the goats in their designated clearing area but also any potential predators out.
They’re also kept together by Mocha.
“She’s a spotted Spanish goat, and she kind of runs the herd,” Carr said. “Whenever she gets up to go graze, everyone gets up and goes and grazes.”
Their work isn’t particularly quick. Clearing an acre takes anywhere from three to five days for a herd of this size.
Carr and his goats travel all over Texas, and he said the work keeps him busy from March until December.
“They’re family, and we kind of know each one of their personalities,” he said. “I know if I haven’t seen someone in a few days. I’m gonna go seek them out and make sure they’re still doing all right. But we really do get attached to them, and a lot of them are very friendly and will come right up to us.”