WHat is targeted grazing?
Targeted grazing is the application of a specific kind of livestock at a determined season, duration, and intensity to accomplish defined vegetation or landscape goals. It is also known as “conservation grazing,” or “prescribed grazing" or "RX grazing."
The controlled and monitored nature of targeted grazing separates it from the over-grazing that has, ironically, acquired a reputation for environmental damage in some parts of the U.S.
We use goats for targeted grazing almost exclusively because of their manageable size and versatility, but we will occasionally add sheep to the mix depending on site demands.
What will the goats eat?
Our goats are not specifically trained to eat certain plants and avoid others, but it's fortunate that many goat favorites are common nuisance or invasive species. These include:
- poison ivy
- multiflora rose
- autumn olive
- garlic mustard
- oriental bittersweet
- leafy spurge
- wild parsnip
Goats also eat grass, but if the above plants and other brush and weeds are available grass will make up a relatively small portion of their diets.
What does it cost?
Because each site differs in vegetation density and complexity, it's difficult to provide a hard and fast dollar figure. Our rates are considerably lower in areas where we have local affiliates, and lower still for large projects of 10 acres or more. Contact us with a description of your property and we'll provide some ballpark dollar figures. We'll usually want to conduct a free, no-obligation visit to your property before we put together a formal "goat quote" for you. Click the appropriate button below to be directed to the most cost-effective option.
How long does it take?
That depends on the density of vegetation and the size of the property. Once we know more about your site and your goals we'll be able to give you an estimate. Projects taking more than 10 days per acre are rare, and 4-7 days per acre is more typical. Generally, you can expect a short-duration service designed to get the job done quickly and efficiently while still giving you plenty of time to enjoy the process.
How far will you travel?
We'll go most anywhere, but our targeted grazing service is usually most cost-effective close to where we have a local affiliate. The larger the project the farther we can travel and still keep costs in line. Our geographic reach is constantly growing, so contact us even if you think you might be too far away.
Will the vegetation grow back?
The short answer is "yes." The vegetation will eventually grow back, just as it will with mechanical cutting and herbicide treatments. How quickly it returns and the amount of post-goat maintenance needed depend on how the goats are applied, the season in which they are applied, and the condition of the preferred vegetation in the area. We can help you formulate a long term strategy that matches your goals for your property.
What Are affiliates?
We founded Goats On the Go in 2012 in Ames, Iowa. We quickly realized that we would need help to provide our service to a larger geographic area, and to do it in a responsible way. We also felt strongly that we would rather help many new ventures start up than employ a large staff scattered around the U.S.
In 2016 we began to develop a family of independently-owned and operated businesses that provide local targeted grazing service under the Goats On The Go brand. Affiliates receive training and support from Goats On The Go's founders, and they represent the best value for our customers in most places. Click here for a directory of affiliates. If we're not in your area yet, we may be soon.
If you're interested in becoming an affiliate, click here.
Shouldn't you be paying me since my property is feeding your goats?
Yes, our goats need to eat, but if we were only interested in putting weight on goats we would choose a much more efficient way to do it. We deliver a valuable, professional service that has real and significant costs if done the right way.
When you hire Goats On The Go you get an insured, experienced, conservation-minded service provider that delivers a thoughtful strategy, not just a bunch of goats. If you find someone willing to charge a lot less you can be sure you're dealing with a livestock feeder, not a targeted grazing service.
Can I rent just a few goats for the summer?
While each of our affiliates may use slightly different methods, we typically don't "rent out" small numbers of goats to customers for long stretches. Instead, we graze quickly and intensely with anywhere from 20 to upwards of 200 goats in a rotational, "mob grazing" style. This approach also comes with a high level of service. We do all the work so you can relax and enjoy the show.
Can I rent a goat to mow my lawn?
Think of goats as bushwhackers rather than lawn mowers. They will eat grass, but they really shine on dense weeds and brush. If your lawn is hopelessly overgrown and you'd like to get a fresh start, then goats would certainly help return it to a manageable state. Most customers, though, would not be satisfied with goats as an ongoing replacement for a lawn mower on turf grass.
Are goats allowed on my property?
Local rules vary, so you'll need to check with your local jurisdiction. Not every local government is familiar with targeted grazing, so let them know that you'll be hiring a short-duration, professional service rather than keeping livestock continuously on your property. If you run into a road block, we can help. We have extensive experience working with local governments and homeowners associations, and we know zoning regulations inside and out.
Do goats stink? Are they noisy?
Your nose is unlikely to tell you there are goats nearby. Breeding males are odoriferous, but these will not be on your property. Goats make a little noise, but most people find their bleats to be pleasant and certainly not a nuisance.
How do you keep the goats where you want them?
We use portable electric fencing and a solar-charged power source to contain the goats. This allows us to be flexible. We can concentrate goats on small problem areas, move them from spot to spot, or let them roam whole properties.
Do the goats stay overnight? Do you stay with the goats?
We'll check on the goats regularly and carefully monitor the progress of the grazing project, but we don't typically stay on-site constantly. Depending on location and the anticipated length of stay we may take the goats home overnight, load them into our nearby trailer, or let them sleep under the stars.
What kind of goats do you use?
Goats On The Go, LC also produces goat meat, so our herd is a mixture of several meat goat breeds. We find these breeds to be sturdy and hardy, and well-adapted to the rigors of targeted grazing. In fact, we breed selectively to produce the best combination of traits for both businesses - meat and targeted grazing. You can learn more about our philosophy on meat production and sustainable agriculture here.
Depending on your location, you may be served by one of our local affiliates. Affiliates may use different types or breeds of goats than Goats On The Go, LC.