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|Grazing Duxbury’s fields|
|By Gillian Smith|
|Wednesday, September 25, 2013 11:44 AM|
Residents who pass by Howland’s Landing have had one question in mind since Labor Day: What’s with all the goats?
Blairhaven Park now has five goats grazing around the area as part of a “goatscaping” plan to take care of unwanted vegetation. The goats arrived on Labor Day and will be at Blairhaven a total of two months. They can clear an acre in four-five weeks, so the fenced-in area is moved every two weeks to allow them to cover more ground.
Elaine Philbrick and her partner Jim Cormier run the Goatscaping Company, which is a company based out of Duxbury and Plymouth that boards its goats in the winter at Colchester Neighborhood Farm in Plympton. Homeowners may rent goats for brush and weed control, more often specifically for removing poisonous plants such as poison ivy, poison sumac and poison oak, which goats enjoy eating.
Duxbury’s department of public works hired the goats to clear out the poison and brush at Blairhaven Park. Goats graze, leaving only thick stalks and low ground cover. The goats have been used by golf courses, by the state for fire control on abandoned property when it’s too dangerous for people, and at a number of residences around the South Shore.
The goats – Diamond, Mickey, Shasta, Filomena and Juno – will help avoid putting chemicals into the land and groundwater by having goats graze the area. Unlike sheep, goats eat the leaves off of scrubby bushes, vines and weeds.