Gardening With Goats

Some people garden as a form of relaxation. It’s a lovely thought.



This perennial bed is 10 years old. The peonies and other flowers are well-established. If I put an hour of weeding and care into it now, at the beginning of the summer, it will require little maintenance for the rest of the season.



Because the plants are sturdy, I invite the hens to help. While I use my favorite hoe, the Girls dig up bugs that have overwintered in the earth. There is the low murmur of delighted clucking. I hear birdsong. Yes, this is peaceful.

The goats’ meadow has been grazed too low. It needs a rest and reseeding. For the next few weeks the goats are regulated to their paddock, which is bare of growing things for them to eat, but the lawn can handle some grazing, and so I let them out while I garden. There’s lots of lovely green grass for them. They should be no trouble at all….

goats on lawn


Picture perfect.




Goats have amazing superpowers. One moment they are in one place and the next they are all the way across the lawn, eating delicate herbs.



With much dramatic shooing,

chasing goat


I convince Pip to head over to the water celery by the pond, and am able to finish weeding the last section of the perennial garden.

walking away


I might as well put the goats to work. The invasive mulitflora rose has made it’s way into the wildflower meadow. Goats love brambles more than they love grass (or even the herbs by the house.) I call Pip over.



Pip is an excellent gardener.



Curious who took the photos? Steve was working in his home office, noticed the bucolic scene, and decided to take a break and join us. This was not staged; it was a typical small drama in the backyard. I do a lecture for garden clubs about integrating chickens into a beautiful home landscape. I also mention goats.


  1. At least you don’t have to worry about ticks quite as much with those hens about!

    • The tick diseases are so serious. A neighbor is very ill from two. I think that the hens help to keep the lawn a little safer, but step out of their sphere, and beware!

  2. Made me laugh :) The pictures were fantastic. Kudos to Steve for capturing them!!! The goats are cute, the hens are beautiful, and the garden is starting to look nice and green. Glad Pip could help out in the end anyway :)

  3. I am amazed at the HUGE change in temperature you have had over recent weeks! In the UK we never get such lows and are unlikely to reach such highs for a few weeks yet. The climb (and drop) from season to season is much less pronounced here.
    Gardening with hens is good, peaceful fun but I’m leaving goats to you – I’m not fast enough!!

    • This morning I’m in a long-sleeved shirt. Yesterday it was sweltering. There’s an expression here: “if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes.”

  4. Thanks for the laugh I need it this morning. ;-)

    Sunday I finished putting mulch down in the flower beds around the house and patio. I generally let my hens out about 30 minutes before their normal roosting time to eat a little grass and munch a few bugs. I have to stand guard against hawks and to keep the girls out of places I don’t want them. Last night I let them out and I turned my attention away from them for maybe thirty seconds and then I noticed the mulch just a flying like it was caught in mini wind storm. They made it to the flower beds in record time. Mulch draws chickens like a moth to flame.
    Dang it!!!!

    P.S. I believe ranging chickens do a great job of keeping ticks at bay. Guineas are even better but you have to be able to put up with the noise. My dad always kept free range guineas just as tick control. He raised beagles in kennels outdoors and ticks were few and far between on the place.

  5. We had dairy goats as a child…they were fun as kids…..then their super powers appeared….just like yours…it never failed that they would get out of their pen or off their tether and eat mom’s flower buds….we also had a lot of dramatic shooing..goats are great fun!

  6. “They should be no trouble at all….” I almost spit tea all over my computer upon reading that. Thanks for the laugh on a dreary day.

    My puppy has super powers, too. AND he’s willing to eat anything – even rocks. *shakes head* Puppies are FUN – right? *sigh* There is much dramatic shooing when he goes after the basil and tomato plants I just bought. How can he possibly think tomato plants taste good!? Yuk! It also looks like he is going to be a digger so I’m trying to figure out where to locate a dig patch for him. It was much easier when I had a large veggie garden down back. I just gave the dog a corner. Ah, well, we’ll figure out something for him.

    And good luck with the multiflora rose. Those things are the very devil. A little story – my father told me he remembered when, as a child, those things became a ‘big deal’ and whole fence lines were planted with them. He said it only took 2 summers for them to realize that it was a huge mistake and, obviously, they were never able to eradicate them. They also had a plow horse who liked to grab the bit and short cut through a large patch of them on the way back to the barn. Ouch! :)

  7. Had a good chuckle, very funny. Wish I had your weather we have got 10c and heavy rain yet again ( what happened to Spring ). Its under 6 wks to the longest day then its all down hill. Your property looks amazing, did I read somewhere that you designed it yourselves ? :)