Regenerative Land Management by goats, San Diego, CA
For several years, I've seen goats and sheep in my area controlling dry grass and brush to prevent the spread of wildfires. I finally got a chance to attend a community event and learn more about it. Good Shepherds have a herd of goats and sheep that have been moving around North County San Diego in the Del Sur/Santaluz area. They contract with the HOA, set up fencing, then the sheep and goats do their thing. There are many advantages to this practice: the animals don't need gas or electricity; they nibble down the grass, but don't kill it, which prevents an area from turning to dust; the goats, clear the lower branches of bushes; their little hooves stomp down the grass that remains; the manure returns nutrients to the soil. The change in the landscape is dramatic! There is much less burnable material.
At the meet-and-greet, we got to pet the goats. Some were very curious and wanted to be scratched. The sheep are quite unsociable. We also met the guard dogs, which are Great Pyrenees. There is also a border collie named Panda that is a herding dog. There was a brief demonstration of his talent for gathering and moving the herd. The goats were very, very cute.
After having goats in the area, I was surprised at how quiet they are. Once in a while, one becomes separated from the group and then there is minute or two of frantic bleating until order is restored. The goats and sheep were also very tidy. Having been around plenty of farm animals, these were unusually free of flies. The guard dogs stay inside the fence and friendly and peaceable. It has been fun having the team in the area. I think they do a good job of clearing brush and have been interesting and pleasant neighbors.
Panda cooling in the water trough
Looks like a scene from a thousand years ago