Goats in Coldwater eat away unwanted yard brush

Posted at 7:30 PM, Oct 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-24 19:30:12-04

COLDWATER, Mich. – The best option for clearing out that unwanted brush in your yard may not be in your garage, it may be sitting in a barn in Coldwater.

Back in June, husband-and-wife team Garrett and Gina Fickle started Munchers on Hooves, utilizing the couple’s 40-plus goats to aid in clearing out the poison ivy, brambles, thick grass – essentially anything you can’t or simply don’t want to clear out yourself.

“[We] had to have something for them to do - earn their keep,” said Garrett. “They’ve got a very strong stomach. They love poison ivy, oriental bittersweet vines, nettles…things that you and I don’t want to get tangled up in, they’ll devour it.”

And quote effectively at that. The Fickle’s goats will work for hours on end, only stopping to take breaks of about 20-30 minutes every few hours. Working in teams of ten, the goats each have their own jobs and are available for jobs lasting days, or weeks.

The idea is unique, but not necessarily new. Garrett says goats have been used at airports around the country, including Chicago’s O’Hare International, and along highways in the West, eating tall grass that would otherwise cause fire hazards.

Using goats has its environmental benefits. Free of sprays and pesticides, the goats are an all natural way to clear brush, and because of their strong digestive processes, the jobs they complete are all but permanent.

“A cow, horse, anything else - once they go to the bathroom that seed will regrow,” said Garrett. “A goat breaks that seed down and it does not regrow again.”

Ensuring germination of the unwanted plant doesn’t happen. The goats cost $6 each over a 24-hour period. Munchers has pulled jobs around the area, even helping Western Michigan University clear some space this summer.

So far, nothing but happy customers – and well-fed goats.

“It’s just quite amazing what they can do in a short period of time,” said Garrett.

For more information on Munchers on Hooves, call (517)-403-2138 or email them at