Lawn Mowing Takes a Cheap and Tasty Turn -- for Goats

Gas-guzzling weed-whackers and toxic chemicals are so yesterday when it comes to eco-conscious lawn and garden care, especially when homeowners can now use goats to do the dirty, dangerous work.

A cottage industry of entrepreneurs is flourishing by renting out goats to home warriors battling weeds, prickly underbrush, and other unwanted vegetation -- including nasty things like poison oak that you wouldn't want to get near yourself.

Don't worry PETA, this won't hurt the goats: They enjoy a diet of nutrient-dense, broadleaf plants and brush. That's the idea behind companies like www.rent-a-goat.com, the Goat Lady and Rent a Ruminant LLC, which bring the animals right to your front door or to your overgrown front acreage, as the case may be, where they forage on stuff you want to get rid of with no chemicals and only a tiny carbon hoofprint. (Sadly, you can't just buy some goats and keep them in the backyard.)

But how cost-effective and environmentally-friendly is goat weed control?