Rent this travelling herd of hungry Texas goats for all your landscaping needs

Instead of refueling the old riding mower, consider summoning a herd of voracious goats. 

Or at least that’s what Kyle Carr, co-owner of the Texas contingent of Rent a Ruminant, would probably tell you to do. 

The largest goat grazing service in the state, Rent a Ruminant shepherds a ragtag fleet of scruffy looking bucks across Texas. These goats are hoofed professionals—in the business of helping cities and towns (or anyone with some acreage in the weeds) maintain their land. On the whole, it is not only a more cost effective option, averaging about half of the price of your typical landscaper contract, but it also claims to be ecologically sustainable. 

“Fighting nature with nature,” Carr tells MySA.

Draco the grazing goat

Courtesy of Kyle Carr

Before unleashing the herbivores, the Carr’s will survey a client’s land, ensuring no imminent hazard, and quarter it off into four different sections. He then sends in a concentration of 150 scruffy soldiers to rid the area of invasive brush and leaves. A high density mode of attack is preferred, and the most efficient. 

The goats get to grazing. With luck, the herd will clear an acre in roughly two to five days. 

Run by Carr and his wife, Carolyn, Rent a Ruminant operates centrally out of the family ranch in Brownwood, Texas. Just shy of 600 acres, the ranch is home to nearly 250 goats, half of which are members of the traveling herd. On the bench are mostly retirees and kids. 

Originally founded in Seattle, Rent a Ruminant is part of a recent up tick in grazing service popularity and now has several branches across the country, according to Carr. 

“Goats were designed for this kind of work,” he says. “[They] help maintain these areas that you really can’t get machinery into, or where chemicals cannot be applied because you’re working on waterways and things like that.”

Grazing goats. 

Grazing goats. 

Courtesy of Kyle Carr

Currently, the business has a full schedule through the end of the year, with dates in the book for 2022. One project, with the Brackenridge Park Conservancy in San Antonio, is currently in the process of being cemented. The conservancy recently reached its $5,000 fundraising goal to rent the goats during the Big Give, and hopes to host a “running of the goats” and other events in the spring or early summer of next year. 

Goats in action.

Goats in action.

Courtesy of Kyle Carr

Coincidentally, the crew is currently stationed out in Brackenridge, Texas, not far from Abilene. They’ve been there for three weeks, weaving and winding the goats around the creek that cuts through town. One more section to go then onto the town of Coleman. 

“There are some plants a goat won’t eat,” Carr tells me, and usually they intuitively know what to avoid, mainly decorative floral plantings. 

Some of the Carr's flock of goats. 

Some of the Carr’s flock of goats. 

Courtesy of Kyle Carr

Weeds like green briar, poison ivy and oak, ragweed—stuff a human might shy from like the plague, goats relish in, making them the perfect candidates for the job. Their four chamber stomachs, which categorize them as a ruminant, like cattle, enable them to digest the roughage. 

Before goats.

Before goats.

Courtesy of Kyle Carr

“My favorite part is getting more people closer to the goats,” says Carr. “I really enjoy answering questions from the public, sort of that educational factor.”

After goats. 

After goats. 

Courtesy of Kyle Carr

You can keep up with Rent a Ruminant on Instagram, and, if you happen to have some acreage of your own that could use some sprucing up, you can connect with Carr on renting a herd of hungry ruminants. 

 

One of the Carr's grazing goats.

One of the Carr’s grazing goats.

Courtesy of Kyle Carr