2009 - Volume #33, Issue #5, Page #09[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
"Goat Mowers" Clear Brush, Weeds
"We put some sheep in the mix to take care of grasses, while the goats take care of the shrubs," explains Allison Sluis. She and her husband Todd operate the business along with his two brothers. "We'll go anywhere people will pay us to go. It's most cost effective to work in Michigan, Illinois, Ohio and Indiana."
Sluis says their goats clear on average 183 sq. ft. per day. Cost estimates are based on the level and type of vegetation, size of the area to be cleared, and how quickly it needs to be cleared. All jobs have a two-day minimum and mileage is charged one-way. Costs also vary depending on whether fence lines need to be cleared.
"We have a guard dog in the area with our animals," explains Sluis. "Plus we have electric netting around the perimeter so stray dogs or coyotes are kept away."
The Sluis' just started the business this spring, but say demand has been strong. Customers like the idea of controlling vegetation without chemicals or heavy equipment. The goats can clear steep slopes and rough ground as easily as they can flat, and they don't mind problem weeds.
"People really like to use them for poison ivy and poison oak control," says Sluis. "They eat it down to where it's more manageable with chemicals and other control. Of course, you have to be careful handling the goats then as they have the plant oils on their hair and skin."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Goat Mowers, West Olive, Mich. 49460 (ph 616 820-9292; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.goatmowers.com).
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