Goats celebrate Earth Day every day.
Big livestock like cows tend to compact soil because they concentrate so much weight on their hooves. Goats’ lighter body mass makes them gentler on the soil. Compacted soil can become so hard and dense that nothing grows there. Goats trod gently, leaving their pastures in good shape.
Goats eat noxious weeds. It’s why they’re used for clearing firebreaks. They can utilize a lot of weeds for food. We are rehabbing our farm and dealing with a lot of noxious weeds. The goats are a big help. They eat new growth, which weakens the plant. The plant has to use stored energy to regrow, and eventually, many weeds just stop coming back because they don’t have the energy reserves left. Some plants, the goats won’t eat the plant, but they’ll eat the flower. Then the flower can’t become seeds that spread the weed.
Our top black-berry eater, daughter of Too Much Bucks Chief’s Ko Kona
Some weeds are toxic to goats, but only in large quantities (often because the weeds contain tannins). Goats sometimes eat a sub-lethal dose of those weeds to self-medicate; the tannins can be toxic to internal parasites before they reach a toxic level for goats!
Yep, goats don’t take a lot of medicines. When you medicate a cow to promote production and growth, any medicine the cow’s body doesn’t absorb can end up in the compost, ground, or runoff. Yuck. There aren’t many medicines made for goats, and happy goats don’t need a whole lot. Like people, stress can make goats sick, but happiness can help their immune system! That’s one of the reasons we let our Mammas raise their own babies. We want them to have healthy immune systems so they stay naturally healthy.
Moms love spending time with their kids.
This hillside was solid weeds before the goats fixed it up,
with help from their trusty sidekick alpacas.
A good thing and bad thing about goats is that they poop everywhere. (Sometimes, on my foot.) But that’s fertile compost coming out, and goats spread it around. What they take out of the land in food, they give some back in fertilizer. The small pellets decompose into soil fertility. Since it’s spread around, it tends to break down into the soil and fertilize the entire grazing area. You know how your dog can leave spots on the lawn where he uses the bathroom? That’s because there’s too much fertility in one spot. Fertility is good if it’s not too concentrated.
Goat fertilizer is good stuff. It doesn’t take a factory to make it, either. It helps plants grow, but, unlike manufactured fertilizers, it also improves the quality of the soil. It adds humus (plant debris that helps the soil stay loose, helping deliver oxygen to plant roots). It also supports beneficial microbial growth and earthworm activity in the soil. Earthworms loosen the soil, too, so keeping them happy is a bonus.
And then there’s goat milk soap – also good stuff for Mamma Earth. Goat milk helps the soap be gentler and cleaner rinsing, so there’s less irritation to the skin. If you don’t strip away the skin’s natural oils, you don’t need as much lotion (often made with chemicals), either. Choose an all-natural formula, and there’s nothing but biodegradable, natural ingredients going down the drain – and into the sewage plant – and out of the sewage plant – and into the waters downstream from the sewage plant.
One of the properties of goat milk soap is saponified proteins from the milk. They help “lock” oils into the lather to help it rinse away easier. That makes it good for laundry soap and household cleaning, too, because it reduces “redeposition” without using chemical anti-redeposition agents. Can goats save the world? Maybe not, but they can definitely improve it!
Our sweet Maggie, hot off the presses (another Kona daughter)
So, if you have goats, give ’em an extra hug or pat today, because they’re very Earth-friendly. (Yes, some goats actually like being hugged!) If you don’t have goats to hug, maybe send ours some good energy while you use their soap – they’re hugging Mamma Earth for you.