Goats arrive to landscape Issaquah Highlands hillsides
July 7, 2009
By Warren Kagarise
UPDATED — 5:30 p.m. July 7, 2009
Issaquah Highlands backyards will resemble barnyards for the next few weeks as goats landscape vacant land.
About 120 rented goats set to work yesterday on about a half-acre along 24th Avenue Northeast. Goats nibble high grass and invasive species, such as Himalayan blackberry and Scotch broom.
The first herd — from Rent-a-Ruminant, of Vashon Island — nibbled across TV screens and YouTube in a lighthearted spot for PEMCO Insurance about goat landscapers.
Issaquah Highlands Community Association Landscape Manager Russ Ayers said he and his colleagues hoped for the goats to cut down on unsightly, unwanted vegetation.
“It’s not just to mow the grass,” Ayers said.
A second herd is set to arrive from Healing Hooves, of Edwall, Wash., within the next several days. All told, about 400 goats will nosh on 12 acres of highlands hillsides before the month is out.
Rent-a-Ruminant owner Tammy Dunakin set up a lawn chair to watch the goats work and, occasionally slide down the hillside on their hindquarters.
“They’ve eaten a lot already and they’re having fun,” she said.
Dunakin will sleep in her pickup to spend the night alongside the herd.
Ali Harris and her 17-month-old daughter Abby walked to a side street today to watch the goats work.
“Any way to get rid of weeds is fine by us,” Harris said.
Ayers said the community association turned to ruminants because areas in need of landscaping are too steep for human crews to reach safely or cheaply.
He said nearby residents welcomed the goats. For instance, homeowners nearest the site talked about throwing a wine-and-goat-cheese party.