New Mexico rancher provides unique service to landowners, businesses, and towns: ‘This was a massive job, but the goats were up to the challenge’

New Mexico TikToker Cowboy Max (@cowboymax) provides a unique service to landowners, businesses, and towns throughout the region: goatscaping.

“Goatscaping” is an alternative way to mow a lawn or clear out weeds using live goats, which eat the unwanted plants. According to Cowboy Max’s website, he got into goatscaping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our state shut down and we could not host our pumpkin patch,” he said. “In order to keep and feed our goats, my daughter and son-in-law suggested we start renting our herd out for weed control. So, we did. At the same time, my kids got me on TikTok. Long story short, our little herd of 30 goats has now grown to over 300 and I have an unbelievable social media community of almost 600,000 amazing friends.”

The service Cowboy Max offers is a win for everybody involved: The landowner pays a small fee to get the maintenance done quickly and without any effort, while the goats get a delicious meal for free. The goats are versatile, too, handling steep slopes with ease and chowing down on plants like stinging nettles and poison ivy that would give a human a rash. This approach is even good for the environment, since unlike a lawn mower or a weed whacker, goats don’t produce toxic, heat-trapping exhaust, and unlike herbicides, they don’t pollute water.

Cowboy Max’s TikTok is full of videos showcasing the incredible difference his herd can make. One recent video shows the goats clearing out two acres of kochia for the city of Albuquerque.

“It was the thickest stand of kochia the goats have ever encountered,” Cowboy Max says in the video, showing off some plants that reach over 6 feet high and are just as wide.

“This was a massive job, but the goats were up to the challenge,” he says. With five days of grazing, the goats clear the space down to dirt and bare stems. “Take a look at what my goats did,” he says, the pride audible in his voice. And as always, he signs off with, “Have a goat day!”

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