Glen Misiaszek was griping at a family gathering about the perils and pain of attacking the poison ivy and brambles at the edges of the Cohasset Golf Club, where he’s the course superintendent. So he rented a goat, taking advantage of a small but growing cottage industry that uses four-legged critters to manage vegetation in places ranging from the Google campus in California to the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
Pictured: The Goatscaping Company Cashmere goats do their thing at Black Rock Country Club in Hingham. Next
Misiaszek leased a crew of four— Geisha, Skylark, Zoe, and Chloe — from the Goatscaping Co. in August 2012, becoming the first customer of the Plymouth-based enterprise that now wrangles 30 goats along with four borrowed sheep. When they’re not working, the goats stay at the Colchester Neighborhood Farm in Plympton.
Pictured: Elaine Philbrick and Jim Courmier, co-owners of The Goatscaping Company . Next
At their work sites, the animals are enclosed by about 100 feet of portable solar-powered electric fencing, which is moved as needed. On average, four to five adult goats can clear about an acre of brush, up to about 6 feet high, in a week, said company founder and chief goat herder Jim Cormier. Next
Goats don’t like to eat grass, but thrive on poison ivy, poison sumac, blackberries, nasty vines, and briars — the type of vegetation that ordinarily requires heavy machinery, herbicides, or intense encounters with personal pain to manage, Cormier said.
Pictured: Chuck Welch, golf course superintendent at Black Rock Country Club in Hingham, in area near the 14th hole, which was a thicket of poison ivy, primer bushes, and briars. Said Welch, "Before the goats, if you hit your ball in here, it was a lost ball. They don't leave a mess and they work in the rain." The goats over approximately 3 weeks cleaned out the poison ivy and stripped the leaves off the briars so a weed whacker can now be used to easily cut down the remaining stalks. Next
The company charges $10 per goat per day, requires a minimum of four goats for one week, and asks that customers put out daily water and a “little bit” of provided hay and grain. Socializing with the goats is not mandated, but appears inevitable with the friendly animals, each of whom has a name.
Goatscaping’s customers include Misiaszek in Cohasset, Black Rock Country Club in Hingham, a state agency, Duxbury, Planet Subaru in Hanover, and numerous individual homeowners who turned to goats to tackle landscaping headaches after more traditional methods failed or were deemed environmentally problematic. Back to the beginning
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