Goats return to the Issaquah Highlands
June 15, 2010
By Kirsten Johnson
Residents of the Issaquah Highlands welcomed herds of goats into their backyards last weekend.
On June 11, 120 goats were rented and brought to the highlands to eat a half-acre field of weeds by 28th Avenue and Julep Street. The goats came in for the second year in a row as an alternative weeding method to using human labor.
“The first time we brought the goats in, it was very successful,” said Russ Ayers, Issaquah Highlands Community Association landscape manager. “It is much better than using people. Hiring man-labor costs around $35,000 and the goats cost about a quarter of that.”
Along with costs, using goats as an alternative to standard weeding methods helps reduce the carbon footprint of the highlands community.
“This whole thing was really about going green. This whole community is about going green,” Ayers said.
The goats arrived via trailer from Rent-A-Ruminant, located on Vashon Island, where they reside in winter.
As soon as the trailer’s doors opened, the crowd gathered around cheered as the goats poured out and made their way to the field to begin munching away.
The goats were a comical delight for spectators to watch. Adam Pond, of Issaquah, came with his wife Ruby and daughter Nicole to see the goats for the second time after seeing them the previous year.
“They’re all really neat. They each have their own personalities,” Pond said. “My daughter laughed a lot at them last year and really enjoyed them.”
Members of the community seemed to agree that the goats are a unique, clever solution to a common weeding problem.
“The goats are much better than machinery and people hauling stuff. It’s really no fun for people to do this,” said Andy Beadle, of Issaquah.
“The fun thing is it lets all these city kids visualize, see and smell real goats working,” Ayers said.
Two hundred and fifty more goats are scheduled to arrive 10 days after the first herd. The goats will eat about 12 acres of weeds.
Kirsten Johnson: 392-6434 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.