Poison Ivy? Got Goats?
Okay, so picture this…
You haven’t gone out to tend to your backyard in a year or two, or five. You go to walk to the outer edges of the yard where your fence is, and they are completely covered with wall to wall climbing ivy. Even better, let’s make that POISON IVY. Now I’ll tell you what, I’ve gotten poison ivy, and it ain’t no party! So now you have to realize that when you go to try to remove it, not only do you need to be completely covered, but whatever you do, don’t touch that yard tool ya just used with bare hands(or anything ELSE that’s bare for that matter!!!)! After you have used the rake, or the lawn mower, or the shovel after touching the poison ivy with them, just the oil from the poison ivy that’s attached to the tools will have you scratching for the rest of the month!
So, what’s a poor homeowner to do?
Ok, there are animals that love to graze, but let’s face it, poison ivy has to be an acquired taste! What animal has no taste what so ever? Or at least really bad taste in greens? Goats! Goats love grass, love ivy even more, and love poison ivy even more than that! Okay, so what’s that got to do with the price of potatoes on Tuesday you ask? Wellllllllll….
Did you know that you can rent goats for ivy removal? Yes my friends, there are plenty of companies out there that will rent you their goats for just such a special occasion. Think I’m kidding? Google it! Even better, Google your county, I’ll bet you find at least one, unless you live in New York City. You might even find at least one in upstate New York that’s willing to bring them! Definitely ecologically friendly, super definitely easier on your skin. They’ll usually bring in any number of goats, and they will set up temporary electric fencing to kind of keep them where you need them to be eating. Sometimes, they will have a dog there also to keep an eye on them.
So how can they do all that and not get sick? The goats actually have an enzyme in their gut that allows them to eat plants that are usually poisonous to other animals. AND, because of the way their mouth is structured, they crush whatever they eat, so any seeds that another animal might eat that could pass through to be refertilized are no longer viable. The only problem with using them for poison ivy is that they may eat the poison ivy, but they don’t eat the roots. That allows the poison ivy to grow back. Now the goats will be chomping away all day, and they can go through pretty dense areas at a rate of about a quarter acre per day for 30 goats. That depends, of course upon how thick the vegetation is and the size of the goats. So, next time you walk out into your backyard and go into total overwhelm looking at your overgrown urban jungle, just ask the question, Got Goat?