Goats On Patrol
Massive goat herd helps clear potential wildfire fuel from hills near Boise, Idaho.
In battling wildfires and keeping them from homes, firefighters often say that prevention is key.
Now more and more people are turning to an age-old resource for fire prevention, including one neighborhood on the outskirts of Boise, Idaho.
Tim Linquist is the owner-operator of a business simply called 'We Rent Goats.'
"Oh, there's people all the time, standing out here watching us," Linquist said. "Most people haven't seen 700 goats in the city limits of Boise."
Linquist's business plan is straightforward.
For a couple weeks, the Quail Ridge Neighborhood Association, with funds from the Southwest Idaho Resource Conservation and Development Council, is renting his goats for fire prevention.
"We think it's great," said Cathy Hardy, who lives on Quail Heights. "The Fire Department wanted, as a fire prevention measure, the goats to eat down the fuel. We didn't know there were going to be 700, which is a tickle and a giggle."
While the goats are a tickle and a giggle, they're also good at their job.
"We just use 1,100 employees that eat all the time," Linquist said. "They enjoy it too."
Linquist said the goats are a Boer-Spanish cross, a hardy breed that attacks the brush and weeds first, before the grasses, which helps fight erosion as well as fire.
"They've been bred to do this," Linquist said. "They don't get fed hay, and they don't get pampered. They go out and work."
In fact, this herd of roughly 700 will work, and eat down around seven acres a day.
"They just do a really good job at what they do," Linquist said.
So, while these goats aren't as experienced or well-trained as Boise's other firefighters, they are at the very least effective and hungry fire preventers.
Linquist said the only problem with hid goats is that when one gets upset, they all do.
However he says that doesn't happen if you can keep them fed regularly.
Linquist does that by grazing them ten months out of the year, only returning to their home base in Wilder for kidding to make more fire-preventing goats.