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Stay weed-free with the help of goats — Japanese farm offers eco-friendly alternative to mowing

By Katie Pask, SoraNews24

It’s not often that farms in the middle of the Japanese countryside make for interesting news, and less so when the news involves methods to keep areas free from pesky weeds and bushes. However, Magoroku Farm in Takeo City, Saga Prefecture has been doing just that recently, thanks in part to their unique method for mowing — using goats.

Customers can rent goats out to "mow" grass by letting them eat it. The goats take the hassle out of pushing heavy machinery around, and have the added bonus of being environmentally friendly as they don’t need any electricity to power them. They also bring the benefit of being a lot quieter than a regular mower, and don’t require any harmful pesticides. It’s a win-win all around!

Magoroku Farm’s Hironobu Haraguchi started renting out goat mowers in April this year, and the service has become so popular that there is now a waiting list. Many of the customers rent the goats to eat weeds and grass on hard-to-mow areas, such as hills or slopes.

The goat mowers are even being used by big corporations. Kyushu Electric Power has been renting goats for almost five months to get rid of the weeds at the Tenzan Power Plant in Karatsu City, and railway company JR Kyushu has been letting goats loose near their railroad tracks around Takeo Onsen Station.

A representative for JR Kyushu commented: “Goats are great because they are quiet workers. The sound of their bleating isn’t such that anyone would be bothered. Also, the smell of goat droppings isn’t particularly offensive either. This is just a natural way of keeping our countryside looking clean.” The local residents really get a kick out of seeing the goats at work, too.

And it’s not just local residents who have fallen in love with the goats. Japanese netizens around the country became enamoured with the four-legged workers after the farm was featured on a news segment on TV.

“Wow, seems so peaceful!”

“There’s a goat near Yodo River that eats grass there. I wonder if he’s a hired worker?”

“I know they eat anything, but they must have a preference. I’d feed them high quality grass if I could.”

To rent out one of Magoroku Farm’s goats will only cost you 100 yen per day per goat, but they tend to get lonely if they are by themselves so are rented out in pairs or more.

Hiring out these goats is certainly more eco-friendly than buying a lawn mower, too — just make sure you pay whoever does your yardwork in cash, not seaweed.

Source: Livedoor News via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Rent-a-goat service now available in Japan, ready to fulfill all your goat-related needs

-- After a long dog day, treat your pet to a glass of fresh goat’s milk from this Japanese dairy

-- Two members of the Goat Weeding Corps believed to have been abducted in Gifu while on duty

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Meh!” - Not to the idea but isn’t that the goat’s bleating sound they teach in English schools?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Of course, some will butt heads over the idea of having ‘nature’s little grass-mowers and shrubbery trimmers’ roaming around and bellowing from time to time.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Goats are such gentle creatures and perform a useful service for people. More than one service because goat cheese is fantastic.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Of course, some will butt heads over the idea of having ‘nature’s little grass-mowers and shrubbery trimmers’ roaming around and bellowing from time to time.

What sound they make is pleasant, and far less intrusive than lawnmowers, weed whackers (whipper-snippers for our Australian friends) and motorized blowers.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Not sure if I would call goats gentle. Agree with you about goat cheese! In Mexico, goat meat is a favorite

There was an article in the Los Angeles Times about a business that operates in downtown LA, renting out their goats to landowners who need to get control of their overgrown properties. Sounds like a very good idea. Not all solutions require being high-tech.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

what about deer and boar? cant they do the same work?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

got it. thanks zichi. Appreciate the feedback.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

OMG! I just realized what I said! Pardon the pun!

0 ( +2 / -2 )


Goats are very good for cleaning the land of weeds and adding to the soils.

I agree goats are good taking care of weeds and soil.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Goats don't graze. Sheep do. Goats are good for clearing scrub, but as a substitute for mowing? No.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There are lawn mowers in Japan?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Goats can clear overgrowth from hillsides that would be tough work for humans, with or without power equipment. They are popular in the western US for brush clearance around properties to protect them from big brush fires.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hangover Tip: Goats milk (chilled). (Therefore) I love Goats milk (&cheese, yogurts).

Re: "I’d feed them high quality grass if I could.”

The great thing about Goats is they are not interested in such grass. They eat lots of herbs. Some things people see as weeds are very useful herbs. Female Goats eat them and we get the best form of milk on the planet (and practically zero methane).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I just want to give the goat in the lead photo a hug. Just look at that face ! We have a 7 yo and at county fair petting zoos the goats are a favorite creature of ours. They can be quite friendly. That they can eat weeds and make great cheese are just a bonus to us. We see herds of them working hillsides from time to time and enjoy the sight. Much better than firing up a bunch of power equipment that, while faster, creates clouds of dust and exhaust fumes, plus all the noise. Goats are the way to go.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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