One man is growing his business by renting goats out to schools, and other projects, in Cork.
Billy's Rent a Goat has said the animals offer "an ecological opportunity to utilise a biological control method to keep invasive plants at bay."
Instead of using chemical and mechanical methods to remove plant overgrowth, it uses friendly goats.
Billy's Rent a Goat owner William Walsh told The Hard Shoulder there are several uses for his goats.
"Basically, it's me and the goats. I'm a shepard, I'm a goat herder, I'm an educator," he said.
"The main focus around my business is... county councils, education and community projects".
'Urban green spaces'
Mr Walsh said each visit with his goats is different.
"It kind of varies from situation to situation, site to site, what needs to be dealt with and how to deal with it," he said.
"The most recent project that I'm doing in Cork city is dealing with Old Man's Beard.
"We're trying to mitigate the growth of Old Man's Beard, [and] help encourage native species to grow.
"As well as that it's building awareness around the environment, how we treat the environment and the importance of urban green spaces".
Mr Walsh said an assessment is needed before any project.
"I see if there's anything poisonous to the animals, if there's any kind of health and safety risks, how accessible is the site," he said.
"Then we start doing a management plan targeting the area, setting up the fence.
"And I come in there and shepard them for the day on that site in Cork, and then we have scheduled talks flowing from that".
Mr Walsh explained how his goats are used in schools.
"I have a school in Carrigaline, it's a Gaelscoil, we go in there every year and we maintain a meadow in the autumn," he said.
"The growth of the wildflowers are happening during the summer, it goes into germination, and then we target the area at the end of September.
"Then we scheduled classes to come out, get involved in talks... and then starts the whole learning process.
"They start pointing out why are the goats doing this, what plants are growing... so the education starts stemming out from that".
Mr Walsh said his herd is growing in size.
"I started off with a couple of rescue goats, and then I got male goats," he said.
"I have 23 goats now - I started off with nine back in 2020.
"It takes me a year and a half to get a goat to a certain level where we can work together, but it's going from strength to strength
"I'm working with The Heritage Council, I'm working with Waterford County Council, I'm working for Cork City Council.
"I have my regular clients that I have every year.
"I'm employing a person part-time now and hope to be employing more down the road as well," he added.
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