Renting Goats to Landscape a Lawn

– This is Kat the Flat.
– Kat the Flat? His brother is Kit,
so it’s Kit and Kat. And they’re not
full grown yet. They’re gonna
get way bigger. So they’re going through
like a goat puberty? Goat puberty.
Exactly. There “baa’s” will
be like, (voice crack) Kind of just…
kind of scraggly? – Yeah.
– I been there. ♪ Welcome to Curious Business. I’m your host,
Alan Shane Lewis. Each episode, I take you
behind the scenes of some of the most unique and
successful businesses out there. People say goats
will eat anything, and it’s been my lifelong dream
to put that theory to the test. So today, I get to hang out
with Tammy Dunakin, the owner of
Rent-A-Ruminant, as she unleashes
thousands… Well, maybe not thousands,
like, like a… a hundred goats on
unsuspecting overgrown field of greenery, to show me
how she built a business out of putting that rumoured
appetite to the test. ♪ – How’s it going? Tammy?
– Yeah. – Alan.
– Hi, Alan. Nice to meet you. – Nice to meet you, alright.
– Yeah. So, Rent-A-Ruminant,
what is that? (laughs) Rent-A-Ruminant
is a business that, we hire out goat herds to do
vegetation management in an eco-friendly way. So, you’re saying
they’re eco-friendly, compared to like using
a lawnmower, or…? – Mhm.
– Yeah. Well, yeah, you’d have
to use a tractor on something like this,
with a brush hog. But, you know,
they’re not putting out a bunch of carbon emissions
into the atmosphere, save for a little bit of
belching that they do. (laughs) And, you’re
leaving all the biomass, unless it’s hauled out,
it’s left to lay, which becomes a
huge fire hazard. Also, would it be more
advantageous for places that aren’t necessarily like a flat
surface, like hilly and…? Very much so. So, goats can go where
people and machines cannot go easily or safely. Where did this
idea come from? Like, was it
something you fell into, something you
always wanted to do? One day, I swear to god,
this is exactly how it happened, I went home and I went
to talk to my goats and I looked at ’em and I thought,
you guys look bored. You need a job.
(laughs) I’m gonna start a business, I’m gonna call it
Rent-A-Ruminant, and I’m gonna hire your
little butts out so you’re not bored and so
I have a new career. Yeah. And I laughed
and they laughed. (laughs) And then I’d tell people
about it and they would laugh, but then they’d go, “Wow,
that’s a really good idea.” I see you have a business
partner over there in the back of your car. – Yep.
– What’s their name? Hey, Rob. Rob! – This is Rob.
– Hi, Rob. Rob is a border collie,
and he is my right-hand man. Come on, goats!
Okay, lay down. Lay down.
Lay down! Stay. This is what I didn’t
want them to do. (chuckles) Rob sits around all day
watching TV in a Barcalounger until he’s needed,
until the bell goes off. He’s my guy.
Come on, goats! Generally, I like to try and
get ’em all sequestered in a corner and I can
get ’em in easier. There you go, come on.
Come on, Finnie. Right here.
Come on, Jeeves. Okay, that’ll work. That ‘a boy!
Good boy, Rob. Come on, goats!
Come here, Rob. ♪ So that was a higher
degree of difficulty, but he actually did a really
good job getting them in. Come on, goats.
Let’s go. Good boy, Rob. ♪ Alright, so the first thing
I’ve gotta do is kind of get it so they have a little
bit of a shoot into where they’re gonna eat. Yeah, that’s to keep
the velociraptors… Yeah.
(laughs) I know. One of the things about
goats is you’ve gotta try and be smarter
than they are, which is hard to do. So, I’m the host of
Curious Business. It’s a show from– Oh, oh. Some of you are
backing away. They’re gonna
come out pretty fast. They spread out like
marbles on concrete, so they’re gonna go in a
million different directions, so you may want to go stand
out there a little ways… Yeah, just so you
don’t get bowled over. (bang) The velociraptors
are anxious to get out. – So right here? (claps)
– Yeah. – I’m ready to receive.
– That ought ‘a do ‘er. Okay, ready, set, go. Bring on the heat.
(claps) Oh… And they’re avoiding me. Hello.
Look at that. Which one of you is Billy? Get your leaves here! Fresh leaves, straight from
the goat’s mouth. It’s a delivery food system,
like, you know, that rhymes with shtuber. Look at him go at it. How many do we
have here today? – 121.
– 120. And how long do you think it
would take for them to clear out this entire…? It’s 8 acres.
It’s 32 days. 4 days per acre. I think you’re just
using me as shade. So, do you have like a favourite
goat or favourite goats? First and foremost is Hazel. Hazel’s been giving me a lot of
love today and I appreciate it. Hazel’s amazing.
She’s the sweetest girl. She’s the goat ambassador. She’s a goodwill
ambass-a-goat. – (laughs)
– Yes, she is. I got your leaves!
Want one? Leaves? Anyone?
Over here, leaves. Hi, guys. That’s how you make friends. ♪ So, the goats,
they’ll eat 80% of this. What’s really cool is that
these are the seed heads. Those would be dropping
and propagating wherever they went. The first thing the goats
are gonna do is eat this off of here
’cause it’s sweet. And then they eat it,
sterilize the seeds, and… No more of that. Yeah, you’re not
propagating elsewhere; that is really the
super power of goats. Hm. ♪ So can you speak to like
how Rent-A-Ruminant has like affected your life? I was in the trauma end
of healthcare: burn victims and people with
real bad infections and things. And it was
really hard on me. And, I really
needed a new career. So, you know, it gave me a
much more gentle way to earn a living than the trauma
medicine that I was doing. And then, one of the things
that’s been really great for me with working with
goats is that they, they’re just
very therapeutic, being around
animals in general. Goats even more so for me
because they’re just so… they just know when
I’m having a hard time. To sit and watch
goats do what they do, which is eat, and climb,
and sleep, and chew their cud,
time and time again, you know, people will say,
“This just made my week.” Yeah, even today when I was
just watching them feed and I was just kind of lost, and
I wasn’t paying attention to what we were actually
supposed to be doing today… I was like, oh,
look at those goats! Yeah, so I can definitely
understand that on a personal level. Yeah. They’re very
meditative and… yeah. People really like that. ♪ In your eyes, are there
things you want to grow? Things you want to work on?
Or, is there– like, you’re really happy
and content with what you guys
are doing right now? You know, it’s taken
awhile to get it going, but every year,
it just gets better, and better, and better. That, to me, shows that
it’s a success because the more people are asking
for it, it means they know it’s out there and that
this is a really viable and preferable method. And, I’m getting more
and more franchises in different parts
of the country. So, you know, pretty soon,
the– it’ll start to feed itself and I’ll need to– I won’t need
to be out in the field quite as much working,
which is good ’cause it’s, it’s a little
hard on my body. You know, I don’t have
to go work out at a gym. – I just toss goats.
– (laughs) That’s a good workout.
Gets the forearms… – The brain, the muscle…
– That’s right. Yeah, climbing hills. Being like a goat.
Acting like a goat. Thanks for watching
Curious Business. I’m Alan Shane Lewis. Each episode we take you
behind the scenes of some of the most unique and
successful businesses out there. Now, if you want to learn
how to taxidermy a rat or swim like a mermaid, or see what it’s like to
participate– (laughs) Or see what it’s like to
participate in a high-end murder mystery, make sure
to hit “subscribe” for more. And, if you love goats and
don’t care who knows it, make sure to hit that
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Take care. Yawl hungry?
You’re still hungry?


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