Reader reports: Return of the ruminants


It’s the first goat sighting in West Seattle since Kids for Kids @ Gatewood Elementary in October (our report with video here) — we received two tips about goats at work now in north West Seattle, including this from Eric Bell of, who also sent the photos above and below:

While on one of my regular walkabouts (Sunday) afternoon, I happened upon an increasingly familiar Seattle occurrence… a herd of goats ridding a hillside of unwanted foliage. These free-range ruminants. aptly named, were clearing brush from a couple of overgrown properties on Ferry Avenue, a sidewalk-deprived backroad that connects the Admiral District to Harbor Avenue. After conversing with the “shepherd” – who actually wore a floppy hat and carried some sort of shepherd-like device, I discovered his gang of goats will be around for about a week. This was literally a traffic-stopping event, while taking photos (and shooting some video), at least five cars pulled over to witness this pastoral event.

Our other tip came from “Garybert & Garybert’s Lady,” who e-mailed:

In travels (Sunday) am spotted ruminants ruminating on the hillside northside of Ferry by Victoria SW. Goat herder advised they would be there another week and then move across the street to another hillside. Just look for the bright orange (and electrified fence).

In case you’re not familiar with that area, here’s a map.


11 Replies to "Reader reports: Return of the ruminants"

  • miws December 31, 2007 (8:29 am)

    I can just imagine if one of the goats in the group was a “first timer” on the job…..

    Billy: Say, you’re new here, aren’t ya kid?

    Bobby: Yeah. I’ve heard it’s a great job, but what’s it like, really?

    Billy: It’s great! You get out in the fresh air, get some exercise and build up leg muuscles climbing the hills, and a belly full of some of the tastiest food around. Plus, once your belly is full, you can just lie down and rest anywhere. Nobody cares!

    Only thing to watch out for is that orange fence. It’s electrified, and will give ya a pretty nasty zap if you brush up against it.

    Bobby: Man, this sounds like a cush job! I just don’t understand the electric fence, though, a goat would have to be a fool to want to leave a job like this!

    Billy: I don’t think it’s so much to keep us in, kid, as it is to keep the humans out, and prevent them coming into the jobsite and slowing down our work wanting, to pet us. Plus, there’s the liability issue should they fall and hurt themsleves.

    In my observations, humans seem to have a certain level of cognitive intelligence, but are still not too bright in many ways, and lack a fair amount of common sense.


  • Wes December 31, 2007 (8:30 am)

    Soooo, who picks up the poop?

  • garybert's lady December 31, 2007 (8:44 am)

    Ever heard of Zoo-Doo (droppings from elephants, camels, etc)? People pay the Woodland Park Zoo folks big bucks for the stuff, which is fantastic fertilizer. Well, when the goats do their thing, they contribute high-quality fertilizer of their own. Call it Ru-Doo…..

  • TheVelvetBulldog December 31, 2007 (8:45 am)

    At least manure is a natural fertilizer, I was wondering about the potential of toxic litter being buried in the underbrush. Does anyone do a sweep for things like oil cans or anything? Do the goats just naturally avoid these things?

  • Lachlan December 31, 2007 (9:04 am)

    Goats are known to eat just about anything, so I hope the property is being vetted before they’re turned loose.

  • Aidan Hadley December 31, 2007 (9:17 am)

    I wonder if the goats can eat those pesky thorny blackberry plants.

  • Rick December 31, 2007 (9:40 am)

    Goats won’t eat natural vegetation thats harmful to them ie ferns,etc.,and they usually avoid our toxic garbage. The will chomp blackberry leaves and then strip off the bark, manupilating the stalk. It’s fascinating to watch. Not once did I ever hear one of mine yell”OUCH DA**IT!”.

  • flowerpetal December 31, 2007 (10:48 am)

    Seems to me that this is one of those hillsides and neighborhoods where slides were always threatening the houses and the roads. Do the owners really want to strip this hillside? I wonder what it will be replaced with.

  • Jackie December 31, 2007 (2:18 pm)

    Do the owners really want to strip this hillside? I wonder what it will be replaced with.

    Answer: Californians

  • Luckie January 1, 2008 (6:04 pm)

    What’s with that first goat’s foldy ear?

  • Cornish January 2, 2008 (12:04 am)

    I hear the owners are working diligently to try and build a beautiful northwest style home on each of the two lots. With respect to the land and development, it says a lot that they are trying to use the most natural way to clear the property versus going in and ripping it up with heavy machinery. That’s a great sign of things to come.

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