Future of the Environment

Companies are hiring out goats for garden maintenance. This is why

Two goats are seen during the sunset in the north coast of the Spanish island of Menorca June 21, 2008. REUTERS/Dani Cardona (SPAIN) - GM1E46M0KJX01

They're less noisy than lawnmowers, for one. Image: REUTERS/Dani Cardona

Kristin Hunt
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Future of the Environment?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Future of the Environment is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Future of the Environment

It’s hard to keep your backyard tidy and healthy without impacting the earth. Just consider the tools. Lawn mowers burn on fossil fuels, adding new carbon emissions to the atmosphere every time you push them across the grass. Then there are pesticides, which can wind up harming much more than the mites and weeds wreaking havoc on your land.

That’s why many are seeking out a more natural form of lawn care and management: goats. According to Forbes, goat rentals are becoming an increasingly popular service for homeowners and farmers looking to get their vegetation under control, with multiple companies now offering the service.

Goat rental, or goat grazing, businesses function about how you’d expect. Customers call in with a description of their land — the size, the terrain, and any other relevant specs. Then the goat rental service provides an estimate. Once the cost is settled, the two parties agree on a date of service. On that day, the goats arrive. They graze until the evening, then leave, possibly returning the next morning, depending on the size of the job. When their work is done, customers are left with a freshly manicured lawn, achieved without burning a single fossil fuel.

Image: Rent a Goat

These businesses — Goats on the Go, Rent a Goat, Rent-a-Ruminant, and We Rent Goats, to name just a few — can deploy 100 or more goats at a time. They serve all types of clients from both the private and public sector. That includes ranchers, public land managers, golf club managers, farmers, homeowner associations, and municipalities.

Goat grazing services are available on Angi, and Amazon even got in on the act in 2015, offering goat rentals as part of the beta trial for its Home & Business Services in 2015. (When you type “goat rental” into that section now, it directs you to general lawn maintenance.)

Have you read?

Goats offer obvious environmental benefits, since they essentially replace both mowers and pesticides. But the people who run goat grazing businesses point to many other perks. They’re excellent grazers, for one. Rough estimates claim that 38 goats can mow 50,000 square feet of grass in a single day, while more scientific research points to their unique ability to root out weeds.

According to the Noble Research Institute, goats have a natural preference for broad-leafed “forbs” like ragweed. When given a choice, they munch on forbs and woody plants 85 percent of the time and grasses only 13% of the time. This means they’ll go for the weeds and brush dominating the land first, tackling the problem areas immediately.


Goats don’t just eat the weeds, either. They gobble up the seeds, too, and eliminate their potential to germinate again. As Forbes explains, the goat’s digestive system sterilizes seeds as they move through the goat’s body. So when, say, a ragweed seed comes out, it’s usually unable to produce new plants.

Goats are even great for preventing wildfires, since they love eating the brush that often contributes to them. No wonder more people and cities are hiring goats for their lawn care needs — even if they are "opportunistic eaters."

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Future of the EnvironmentSustainable DevelopmentAgriculture, Food and Beverage
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

We’ve trapped nature action in a silo. An ecological mindset in leadership can help

Shruthi Vijayakumar and Matt Sykes

April 19, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum