Get Your Goat On

| September 12, 2003

When native New Yorker Hillary Rosner moved to Denver, she traded skyscrapers for waist-high weeds. Although she was drawn to the charm of country living, the romance soon wore off when hours of back-breaking work proved futile in the fight against thistle and bindweed.

Enter Jim Guggenhime, owner of goat grazing service Nip It in the Bud. The Bob Ross of goat herding, the laidback Guggenhime offers grazing and fertilizing services at a cost of $1 per day per goat, plus the cost of fencing and transportation. Whereas regular weeding uproots the entire plant, leaving the soil vulnerable to erosion, goats eat only the flower heads and leaves of the weeds, rendering the plants unable to reproduce or to photosynthesize. Needing only 32 goats for her 2,000 sq. ft lot, Ms. Rosner found the goats provided an environmentally and economically sound solution to her gardening woes.

Goat herding is part of a larger environmental movement in which 'biocontrols' -- such as insects and animals -- provide alternatives to dangerous, ineffective pesticides. Fruit farmers in Michigan use a mobile chicken coop to combat fruit fly invasions, while a University of Colorado professor manages knapweed with the use of several types of beetles.
-- Erin Ferdinand

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