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Google Rents Goats to Mow the Lawn

The latest hires by Google: goats to mow the lawn at their Mountain View headquarters. This isn’t as crazy as it first appears:Instead of using noisy mowers that run on gasoline and pollute the air, we've rented some goats from California Grazing to do the job for us (we're not "kidding"). A herde...

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Better than a lawn mower? (courtesy of flickr user astanleyjones)




The latest hires by Google: goats to mow the lawn at their Mountain View headquarters. This isn’t as crazy as it first appears:

Instead of using noisy mowers that run on gasoline and pollute the air, we've rented some goats from California Grazing to do the job for us (we're not "kidding"). A herder brings about 200 goats and they spend roughly a week with us at Google, eating the grass and fertilizing at the same time. The goats are herded with the help of Jen, a border collie. It costs us about the same as mowing, and goats are a lot cuter to watch than lawn mowers.


There’s at least one downside: the lawn may not look as perfect as a machine-mowed lawn, according to Gary Pfalzbot, webmaster for goatworld.com. And buying a couple of goats probably isn’t the right solution for the average homeowner, he says. The goats need more nutrition than grass alone can provide, and then there’s the goat waste to deal with.



However, Pfalzbot has found that his goats are perfect for managing heavy brush, provided that you take some precautionary steps, such as eradicating any plants that could be toxic to the goats before letting them loose. And though the animals can consume some plants that are poisonous to humans (e.g., poison oak and poison ivy), he warns that people could end up itching if they come into contact with the goats or drink goat’s milk after the goats eat the nasty weeds.
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About Sarah Zielinski
Sarah Zielinski

Sarah Zielinski is an award-winning science writer and editor. She is a contributing writer in science for Smithsonian.com and blogs at Wild Things, which appears on Science News.

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