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At the Mountain View, CA headquarters of Google, goats have been employed as a low-carbon alternative to gasoline lawnmowers. About 200 goats are used for a week at a time to trim weeds, eat grass, and clean up brush. They also fertilise as they consume. A border collie named Jen keeps the goats in a manageable herd. They were rented from California Grazing, a company which has 800 goats for rent (also known as weed abaters). If you need any goats in the Bay Area, operators are now standing by.

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10 Comments
 
  1. Chris Fyvie May 4, 2009 at 1:18 am

    I heard this idea a few months ago. Leave it to Google to be one of the first to do it! Great work!

  2. SLB May 5, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    Of course this is not exactly their “lawn”. This is a great idea for large open spaces that need to be kept open, but lawns with landscaping, flowers, etc. would not survive a goat mowing very well.

  3. Mark Alexander May 5, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Nice – but like SLB says – it sure won’t look pretty. It’s a rough cut, certainly no nice mower patterns, so – novel – but not presentable.

  4. Jason G. Williscroft May 5, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Of course, the goats need to be trucked to and from the location. That generates CO2. Their digestive processes generate lots of methane, which has around 8 times the greenhouse effect of CO2. And the “fertilizer” they generate causes the grass to grow faster, thus requiring more “mowing” than it otherwise would.

    Leaving aside for a moment the rather significant question of whether anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions even impact global climate at all, it’s hard to characterize Google’s initiative as anything other than a completely counter-productive publicity stunt.

    In other words, about par for the course for today’s Green movement.

  5. Umesh Satija May 6, 2009 at 2:59 am

    No body worries about being presentable or not if it is “Google” and if it is for a good cause.Ofcourse Great work.

  6. priyesh May 6, 2009 at 9:20 am

    hello and namaste
    well if you need goats for such activities in india i ensure that i will provide it. in addition to it i must that large scale grazing enhance the desertification in some parts of western rajasthan.
    so they should be allowed in grazing areas only.
    Priyesh

  7. subroto mukherjee May 6, 2009 at 9:30 am

    Not really environmental friendly – short sighted solution. Think of the cascading effect – methane production, water and feed to maintain the goats and the danger of the fad catching on – after all what is good for Google must be good for the rest of the world.

    We thus bring in more goats and increase the pollution levels and pressure on the local eco system. Finally, in these days of recession – actually deprive people of even these menial jobs !!!

  8. Zachary Butterfield May 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Fantastic idea!

    Hope they’re not doing goat cheese “upsells” though. I’ll be reading labels closely…………..

  9. Melissa May 8, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Hahaha! I love it!!! I always tell my husband I would love to have goats – now I could tell him feeding them could support a business! To you nay-sayers – Bah-humbug! It will use less water to let the goats drink than it would to water properties like most landscapers do for a large company. Obviously the goats would be appropriate for very specific types of areas in need of “mowing,” and the farms the produce excess waste and pollution are farms that contain animals in crowded and inhumane conditions and in which the animals are fed unnatural concoctions as an excuse for their diet. Go Google! Love the creativity!

  10. RC May 14, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Seattle has been using goats for a couple of years now http://www.seattlepi.com/local/286630_goats27.html ..
    University of Washington and Seattle City Light hired herds to clear slopes of blackberry brambles in 2007..last weekend we had a goat party in our Cul-de-sac in Issaquah neighbourhood ..no we didnt eat them we watched them eat blackberry bushes while eating vegetarian hotdogs 🙂

    My mom’s insight (who is in India and has first hand experience of goats chewing up her prized rose bushes) is that its a sound idea since the sides of rose bush eaten by a goat takes a very long time to grow back if they do at all…

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