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Thursday, June 25, 2020

Rental goats clear out Annandale homeowner's overgrown yard

Cindy Carlson’s wooded backyard in the Sleepy Hollow Woods community in Annandale had gotten overgrown, and she didn’t want to use chemicals on the weeds or have people do the backbreaking work, so she invited Clover, Peanut, Snuggles, and five of their friends to take care of the problem. 

Clover et al are goats, and they’re spending three to five weeks happily eating away Cindy’s underbrush.

The goats are from the Glorious Goats LLC, a company run by Mark and Elisabeth Grys in Purcellville. 

They started the goat business two years ago. They only do goat rentals in the summer, says Mark, as he works as a PE teacher in Loudoun County during the school year. 

Mayfield, the biggest goat, is the alpha male. The other males are Joey, Alfredo, Peanut, and Snuggles, the youngest. The females are Lilac, Daffodil, Clover, and Hermione. 

Cindy’s house is in a relatively secluded area that backs up to a stream and woods, so the goats aren’t likely to bother anyone. They seem to just spend all the time munching away on the foliage. Each goat can eat four pounds of roughage a day, which provides all the vitamins and nutrients they need.

The goats will eat almost anything, including poison ivy. But they don’t like English ivy and shouldn’t eat holly, azaleas, lily of the valley, lilac, poke weed, or certain other plants. Mark regularly checks the yard for anything hazardous to the goats.

He brought a portable, solar-powered electric fence with a mild charge to contain the goats. When they finish an area, he moves the fence to another part of the yard. 

The cost for goat rentals depends on the size of the property and the density. Cindy expects the job will cost a couple thousand dollars. “We think it’s worth it,” she says. “We don’t have to worry about chemicals in the yard.” 

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