Northshore Magazine

Northshore October 2015

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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LIVE 64 | OCTOBER 2015 Goats to Go 508-451-1987 Shore, transporting the animals in their signature bright yellow trailer. "The trailer attracts a lot of atten- tion," says Alan. "At the beginning, we didn't have to advertise much— people would see the trailer and give us a call out of curiosity." For a typical job, Alan and his crew will transport about 10 goats to a property to graze for several days. The crew sets up an elec- tric fence to keep the goats from escaping and to prohibit them from grazing on gardens. The trailer, which serves as a shelter for the goats, is fully equipped with a water tank, electrical source, and plenty of hay if the grazing material runs short—but it rarely seems to. "Goats tend to choose poison ivy to graze on if it's available," says Alan. "It's a heavy, substantial leaf. We'll usually bring a sheep or two along with the goats, to ensure that the animals will cover a wider spectrum of un- wanted brush." While the Goats to Go method is undoubtedly a green and effective solution for vegetation control, it's also an opportunity for families who don't frequently get to spend time with farm animals to do so. "We'll have people who schedule the goats for a time when they have company, or they're having a party," says Maureen. "They've hired the goats to clear their un- wanted brush, but they also have fun watching them graze." The Aulsons' herd of 50 includes a wide variety of goat personalities for onlookers to enjoy, and Maureen and Alan know them each by name. "They have a very funny social order," says Maureen. "It's usually pretty clear that they have a leader, one older goat whom they will follow much more than the others." The Aulsons' dog, Banjo, also takes part in rounding up the goats—alongside the crew and plenty of grain-filled buck- ets. A recent addition to the herd is Dolly, a llama who protects the goats by scaring away coyotes. "She's a bit distrustful," laughs Maureen, "but that works to the goats' advantage." The Goats to Go movement has picked up steam in the last few years, with more and more home- owners and even town officials un- willing to use herbicides. This year, the City of Haverhill contracted the Aulsons' goats to clear a portion of land near the Wood School that had been overrun by invasive spe- cies. "We believe this could be the future of property maintenance," says Maureen. "People want a greener alternative that doesn't require them handling poison ivy on their own." Alan and Maureen Aulson have a herd of 50 goats available for rent. CO N TAC T

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