VIDEO: B.C. farm rents out goats to mow lawns

‘These guys get in places that machines can’t’: farm proprietor Sonya Steiner

What is furry, with four legs, and can munch away pesky blackberry bushes?

It’s a question that Aldergrove Pet ‘n’ Ponies proprietor Sonya Steiner is striving to answer by renting out her farm’s happy herds this summer to landowners in need.

Aldergrove resident Eric Mai Lhot first found a Craigslist ad for the troupe online.

He inquired further, hoping to be able to clear some acreage for the three-acre hobby farm he rents on the 25700-block of 16th Avenue.

As of August, Steiner provides land clearing services with the use of her animals. The start-up program comes at no cost for landowners until the business idea takes off in popularity, “creating a demand,” she said.

“They’re working already,” Steiner said, moments after releasing the group from her horse trailer into an overgrown area she had enclosed with metal paneling.

“It’s not even work for them,” Steiner chuckled.

For one straight week starting Aug. 30, the animals munched on tall grass, pesky weeds, prickly blackberry bushes and other types of vegetation – in the order of what they consider the most delicious.

“They even jump up to get the stuff above in the trees,” Steiner said, “and step up on each other to reach,” she laughed.

Steiner, owner of a mobile petting zoo and 40 farm animals on a 10-acre Aldergrove property, transports however many animals are needed for the job.

For Mai Lhot’s mowing needs, she enlisted the help of two goats, Kajiji and Chuck Norris, an alpaca named Kuzco, and two hungry sheep named Jesse and Penelope.

The herd works year-round at birthday parties and social events including the Aldergrove Fair. Because of this, the four-legged mowers are incredibly friendly.

“My one donkey will come and almost sit in your lap,” Steiner said while scratching Chuck Norris’ back.

READ MORE: Utterly unique marriage proposals enlist the help of Aldergrove’s happy herds

Caz and Chase, Jack Russel brothers, also take part in grazing when Steiner visits to check up on the crew.

“It’s natural for dogs to eat grass. It helps their digestion,” Steiner said about her pups’ grass-eating habits.

After a week’s time on Mai Lhot’s property – mostly eating, drinking, and sleeping – the crew had completely cleared the fenced-in portion of the farm.

Steiner said the mish-mash herd even eats the prickliest parts of plants, digging up their roots and feasting on them in a way that stunts future growth of invasive species.

Being ruminants, members of the group “will eat for a while, then stop to chew their cud,” as a latter form of digestion.

Along with being an eco-friendly mowing option compared to heavy-duty machinery, the animals also benefit the land by fertilizing its soil with their waste.

“And these guys get in places that machines can’t,” Steiner said.

“I think the Langley Township could benefit from this because they’re spending a lot of money clearing blackberries themselves,” Mai Lhot said.

“Blackberries have become a problem in our community,” he added, noting that on his property, it is nearly impossible to remove the thousands of thorny vines without a small excavator, and a concerted effort to dig up the plant’s roots.

“They still grow back because the clearing process usually spreads their seed,” Mai Lhot elaborated.

On Sunday, Steiner moved the five-animal herd to an adjacent overgrown area on Mai Lhot’s rented property.

The hard-working group was giddy about the plethora of plants they get to dine on this week.

For now, with her other farm animals, she continues to offer pony rides, lessons and other petting zoo packages for mobile events.

Steiner emphasized that her other animals are sitting in wait of future land-clearing projects.

Those in need of a good mow can contact Steiner at 250-682-3082.

 

Just Posted

Vancouver Island police officers sporting personalized face masks

Masks for Central Saanich officers will feature the crest and individual officer pin numbers

Victoria police seek suspects in series of bear spray attacks

Police responded to several calls Saturday evening

COLUMN: COVID-19 statistics are the stories of people

This pandemic is ultimately about people, not just about numbers

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Pedestrian dies in motor vehicle incident along the highway near Nanaimo Airport

Police investigating scene where 37-year-old woman from Nanaimo died

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Transformative ‘Centre of Hope’ coming to Port Hardy

With the new building, the Salvation Army will be able to run the shelter year long.

Alberni Valley Tyee Club announces ladder board winners for 2020

The overall winner was Morgan Steed with a 31.8-pounder from Whittlestone Point

Voting now ready for Oak Bay’s Arts Alive 2020 sculptures

Audio and written descriptions posted for all 10 sculptures

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Most Read