Grazing Services

Tired of doing yardwork and looking for a scapegoat? How about a landscapegoat?

Using goats to eat unwanted plants is a proven method for vegetation management. Goats love brush with a special preference for leaves and flowers, leaving targeted plants unable to photosynthesize or go to seed. The majority of seeds that do go through the goats digestive tract come out nonviable.

We work within 30 minutes of Pittsburgh and have a minimum job size of a quarter acre or about 10,000 sq ft.

Interested in hiring Steel City Grazers’ goats to clear unwanted vegetation? Email us at [email protected] with a description of the job (location, size, goal, access, time-frame) and we will send you a quote.

Need to determine your yard’s size? Check out the Allegheny County Property Assessment website for the total size of your property, use the PA Game Commission’s Mapping Center to trace and measure your property online, or download the Planimeter app that measures your path as you walk.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why goats?
Eliminates the need for herbicides
Can go where people and machinery cant
Not afraid of thorny or itchy plants
Provides free fertilizer
Reduces soil seed bank
Quieter than machinery
Reduction in fossil fuel use
A chance to reconnect with nature in an urban setting
Builds community spirit
Great PR for businesses (If it bleats, it leads!)
Fun and Cute!

Who can rent goats?
Anyone who would hire a conventional landscaper can hire goats: neighborhood associations, businesses and organizations, municipalities, parks, farms, homeowners associations, developers, public works, utilities, land banks, homeowners and renters, schools, community groups, etc. For examples, check out photos and reviews from our recent clients.

We will not graze an area where herbicides or pesticides have been applied within one year. We may not take jobs that border highways or busy roads. We work within 30 minutes of Pittsburgh and have a quarter acre (10,000 sq ft) minimum for grazing jobs.

Does it really work?
Using goats to eat unwanted plants is a proven method for vegetation management. Goats love brush with a special preference for leaves and flowers, leaving targeted plants unable to photosynthesize or go to seed. The majority of seeds that do go through the goats digestive tract come out nonviable. For example, after using goats to graze, the New Jersey Division of Wildlife found an 85% reduction in Common Reed and a 75% increase in desired native species.

How long does it take?
It takes ten goats approximately three to six weeks to clear one acre, depending on the type and density of vegetation.

Will the goats eat invasive/nuisance plants like Japanese Knotweed, Grapevine, Multiflora Rose, Bittersweet, Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard, Blackberry, Mile-a-Minute, and Poison Ivy?
Yes to all of the above!

Will the goats clear everything?

Goats have preferences for some plants over others, and a few plants are toxic to goats, so they may or may not eat everything. The goats also focus on leaves and smaller stems, so some stems and branches remain, as well. The goats do not pull up plants by their roots, so regrowth is possible. One grazing does not guarantee that the plants will not grow back. To eliminate some hardy species, repeat grazing is required. Grazing can be a great first step for vegetation removal. We strongly recommend you have a follow-up plan in place for how you will manage the land after the goats graze it. For example, mulching, tilling, landscaping, or planting desirable or native plants or trees.

Can I hire the goats to mow my lawn?

Goats specialize in eating overgrown areas with vines, weeds, brush, and bramble. A conventional grass lawn is best mowed by sheep, who will likely be joining the Steel City Grazers team in the future.

How are the goats contained?
The grazing area will be surrounded by temporary electric netting (powered by a solar panel). The goats are trained to stay within the fenced area.

How are the goats protected?

The electric fencing not only keeps the goats in, but it keeps predators out. The herd will also be accompanied by a livestock guardian donkey.

Do the goats stay on the job overnight?

Yes, the goats are on the job 24 hours a day. They rest and sleep when they choose to. The goats will be provided with a temporary shelter to go under in inclement weather.

Can I hire goats if I have a dog?
Yes, if it is kept on-leash and away from the grazing area. Even the calmest pet dog can have a surprising prey drive when presented with livestock. Our guard donkey is there to fend off potential predators, including dogs.

How much does it cost?
We start with a base setup fee and then have a goat-per-day fee. Setup fees are calculated based on area to be cleared, distance, and any other factors that may affect the job (e.g. ease of access, challenges to clearing the fence line). Contact us for a quote.

Do I need to get permission from my municipality?
Some municipalities may require special permits for grazing jobs, and others (like the City of Pittsburgh) may not. It is the clients responsibility to seek any permissions needed for the job.

Ok, I want to hire goats!

Email Steel City Grazers with the acreage or square footage of the parcel you would like to clear, so that we can give you a rough estimate. We will then come see the site in person. Due to the nature of grazing, we cannot pinpoint an exact start date. Before the goats arrive, Steel City Grazers will clear a fence line and set up temporary electric fencing and a temporary shelter. Then we can bring in the goats! The goats are on the job 24 hours a day. They rest and sleep when they choose to. Steel City Grazers staff will check on the goats daily until the job is complete.