This spring, you can hire the cutest landscapers on the North Fork.
Catapano Dairy Farm (33705 North Road, Peconic), which just reopened for the season, has a service that’s both adorable and good for the environment. “Goatscaping,” as co-owner Erin Argo Burke calls it, involves having male goats graze your property, getting rid of weeds, invasive species and cleaning up for the warmer months in the process.
“Boys don’t really have much of a place on a dairy farm,” said Argo Burke. “The girls rule the roost.”
The goats that will be deployed for goatscaping are wether goats, which are neutered, and there are currently about a dozen at Catapano Dairy Farm.
The goats are about a year old. At least four babies this year will be raised for goatscaping. Argo Burke takes special care in making sure the boys are friendly and used to people.
Goatscaping, while certainly niche, is something of a rising trend. Catapano’s goatscaping business is inspired by Green Goats, a company in Rhinebeck, N.Y., that works with municipalities on areas that would otherwise be too costly and even dangerous to clear. Green Goats owner Larry Cihanek helped Argo Burke develop the program.
“The future of this part of our company is also to work with municipalities, such as the Town of Southold or Southampton to help them clear some really difficult areas that are hard to get to,” she said. “Ultimately, it could be of financial benefit and for the environment.”
Right now, of course, the goats are ready to clear your property. Catapano will do a consultation with potential clients, set up an electric fence with solar-powered battery to make sure the goats don’t run away, and deploy the goats. The property owner just has to give the goats fresh water and check to see that they haven’t escaped.
There are many benefits to renting out the goats.
“Goats don’t care about poison ivy — they eat it,” Argo Burke said. “They don’t care about thorns, briars or brambles. They think they’re delicious.”
The goats will also eat invasive species, such as Japanese knotweed, and the goats can come back a few weeks or months after they graze to do another pass.
“Just remember, though, that goats don’t discriminate.” Argo Burke said. “So if you have a prized rosebush, please point that out so we can fence it off.”
You can contact Catapano Dairy Farm at 631-765-8042 or [email protected] if you’d like to rent the goats.