Midday Palate Cleanser

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Is there anything that Goats cannot improve?

How an Army of Goats Could Help Prevent California Wildfires

California has unleashed an army of goats to munch away at overgrown brush and grass throughout the state in hopes of reducing the risk of wildfires this summer.

State agencies have deployed the animals to roam, eat, and wipe out highly flammable vegetation. Recently, in an area near Lake Oroville in Northern California, between 350 and 400 goats cleared nearly five acres of land. And on Sunday, 1,500 goats are scheduled to begin clearing 34 more acres in the area—by eating everything from invasive species to poison oak to thistle. The animals have also been contracted out to different cities around the state concerned about wildfires, including Anaheim, Oakland, and Los Angeles.

One year the city rented goats to weed the public orchard, and they were very good at it. The goat budget was cut, of course, and the goats didn’t return the following season and the weeds were back. It’s a commitment, but so much fun and worth it.

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18 Responses to Midday Palate Cleanser

  1. They’ve used them here to clear out easements and alleys.


    (though honestly, if they’d just brought enough hoes for the people who came to watch the goats, they’d have cleared the whole lot in no time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pigs, Goats, and Elephants was using a herd of goats to clear their transmission easement nearby a couple of months back. It was cool to see people stop with their kids to watch.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Forgot to ask if the goats were going to be supplied with rakes for their forestry efforts.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. lofgren says:

    When I was hiking the AT I stopped in this tiny South Carolina town. It was literally a post office, a general store, and a church. That was the town. The post office had a sign out front commemorating the post office goat, which (the sign claimed) was a Southern tradition that predated lawn mowers. A goat would live at the post office during the summer. When somebody needed to mow their lawn, they would go to the post office, pick up the goat, and tie him to a stake in the middle of the yard. The goat would eat everything in sight, and when the lawn was sufficiently trimmed the homeowner would return him to the post office for the next person.

    I don’t know if any of this is true and I don’t want to know.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. antiscience says:

    I do wonder why the state (or, heck, many states) doesn’t just set up breeding populations of goats? I mean, maybe pick a breed that is known for not getting big [and sure, that means it’ll be prey for all sorts of predators, but] and just start breeding lots and lots of them to release into forests?

    City boy I, got no idea what’s actually involved. Rumor has it, these animals actually can find food for themselves, and even (I was shocked to learn) eventually self-replicate. So it’d seem like a no-brainer to just populate the F out of fire-prone forests.

    But I’m sure there’s something wrong with that. There’s gotta be.

    P.S. Mostly, I”m reacting to “rent a goat flock”. I mean, why do you need to rent a flock? Why not just breed a flock and leave it there in situ?
    P.P.S. oh, there are winters. So maybe there’s gotta be some winter and summer pastures, and a migration . Maybe that’s the big problem. Esp. since farmers prolly don’t wanna give up -any- “summer pasture” land. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MDavis says:

      Propose a study!
      Caution is always advised for introducing any relatively innocuous animal.
      I can see where this might work out where larger predators are to be re-introduced, giving them something to hunt besides livestock, but Australia and their rabbits and rats have probably spooked anyone thinking about officially, or non-officially, introducing a non-native species.
      Feral pigs in the US South East stand as another example, although goats vs. pigs, I don’t know how similar they are.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. MDavis says:

    When I was in WA state they were beginning to rent goats to deal with blackberry bushes/infestations. No one else wanted to eat the bushes.
    I don’t remember if they also trimmed the Scotch Broom.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ten Bears says:

    Everything old is new again!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ten Bears says:

      Damnit. In certain circles of forestry and fire management it has long been a “suggestion”. I, Cassandra’s grandson, didn’t have anything to do with it but, nobody listens.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. antiscience says:

    Don’t see how to reply to comments, but brucedesertrat and MDavis have educated me. Thank you both very kindly! I retract my suggestion!


    • MDavis says:

      When I get email updates on comments too far down a thread to rate a “reply” button (?) I have the reply option in the email. Otherwise, I just proceed as you just did.


  9. artahzen says:

    I attend a weekly lunch gathering at a church at the top of Rancho Palos Verdes. It is on the edge of a large ravine and they brought in goats a few weeks ago to clean vegetation. It worked like a charm and the locals were very taken with the goats. I was not able to attend that week and am sorry I missed them. It is such a cool idea.


  10. revzafod says:

    Here’s a video by my great friend Reverend Ivan Stang of the Church of the Subgenius on the subject of goats.

    Liked by 1 person

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