Environmentally friendly AND cute? We’ll take that over a heavy, noisy lawn mower any day!

It’s not often that farms in the middle of the Japanese countryside make for interesting news, and less so when the news involves methods to keep areas free from pesky weeds and bushes. However, Magoroku Farm in Takeo City, Saga Prefecture has been doing just that recently, thanks in part to their unique method for mowing — using goats.

Customers can rent goats out to ‘mow’ grass by letting them eat it. The goats take the hassle out of pushing heavy machinery around, and have the added bonus of being environmentally friendly as they don’t need any electricity to power them. They also bring the benefit of being a lot quieter than a regular mower, and don’t require any harmful pesticides. It’s a win-win all around!

Magoroku Farm’s Hironobu Haraguchi started renting out goat mowers in April this year, and the service has become so popular that there is now a waiting list. Many of the customers rent the goats to eat weeds and grass on hard-to-mow areas, such as hills or slopes.

The goat mowers are even being used by big corporations. Kyushu Electric Power has been renting goats for almost five months to get rid of the weeds at the Tenzan Power Plant in Karatsu City, and railway company JR Kyushu has been letting goats loose near their railroad tracks around Takeo Onsen Station.

A representative for JR Kyushu commented: “Goats are great because they are quiet workers. The sound of their bleating isn’t such that anyone would be bothered. Also, the smell of goat droppings isn’t particularly offensive either. This is just a natural way of keeping our countryside looking clean.” The local residents really get a kick out of seeing the goats at work, too.

And it’s not just local residents who have fallen in love with the goats. Japanese netizens around the country became enamoured with the four-legged workers after the farm was featured on a news segment on TV.

“Wow, seems so peaceful!”
“There’s a goat near Yodo River that eats grass there. I wonder if he’s a hired worker?”
“I know they eat anything, but they must have a preference. I’d feed them high quality grass if I could.”

To rent out one of Magoroku Farm’s goats will only cost you 100 yen (US$0.88) per day per goat, but they tend to get lonely if they are by themselves so are rented out in pairs or more.

Hiring out these goats is certainly more eco-friendly than buying a lawn mower, too — just make sure you pay whoever does your yardwork in cash, not seaweed.

Source: Livedoor News via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
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