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Photography by Heidi McKenna

When it came to starting her goatscaping business, Greaves says she felt it important to learn the ins and outs of the industry the right way—and from the best. This led her to The Goat Girls, an Amherst-based brush clearing company that offered Greaves two, 14-hour days of hands-on training. Greaves learned how to work with electric fencing, care for her herd, and run the business. During these sessions she also learned a lot about local poisonous plants. “Everybody thinks goats can eat everything, and I was the same way,” she says. Not so. Some plants that are green year-round, like rhododendrons and azaleas, can be toxic to goats.

Pocasset resident Heidi McKenna was one of GOat Green’s first customers in 2015. Her need: clearing poison ivy that was infiltrating her backyard. McKenna and her husband, Kevin, rented four of the goats for six days, and she says the animals were so efficient she would love to have them return again next season. “It was the safest, quickest way to take care of it without using any toxins,” McKenna says. “I highly recommend it. They serve a purpose, it works well, and Stacey was great to work with.” She adds that the GOat Green owner called her daily to check on the goats and see if she needed any assistance. “She’s a super nice person,” McKenna says, “I think she’s got a great thing going.” Note: To eradicate poison ivy entirely, Greaves says it does take repeat visits over a few years.

McKenna also praised the goats themselves. “They’re entertaining and super friendly,” she says. “After the third day, when I pulled into the driveway they all came over to greet me. They were almost like a family member greeting me at the door.”