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re: lawn mowing business: how to start?
1 jun 2000
the local goat butcher/dealer says he will sell "thin nannys" for
$50-60 in the spring and buy them back in the fall for about the same
price, "as long as they look better than they did in the spring,"
depending on the livestock market, etc. he gives away "lab goats"
unfit for human consumption (who would otherwise become fertilizer) to
trusted customers. these (the goats) have been used for drug testing
by pharmaceutical companies who pay him for their disposal when the
persistence of the new drug residue is unclear or expensive to test.

he already has some customers who use goats for seasonal lawn mowers,
selling them back in the fall. he picks out local goats known to be
healthy, with no pink eye or other obvious diseases. he says give them
a shot or two, trim their hoofs at the start, and worm them twice over
the summer. feeding a goat over the winter might cost about $100 for
a coffee can full of goat chow ($8/50 lb bag) per day and some hay.
unfenced, they are vulnerable to roving dogs ("shoot 'em!")

twenty goats per acre (twice the number needed for continuous mowing?)
is 2178 ft^2/goat, eg a 25' chain if they are staked out in a hex pattern
with a $2 spiral stake and a $5 chain and a portable shed with water
between every 3 goats, but an invisible fence needs fewer sheds, with
less tangled chain, less weed-whacking or shrub-protection logistics,
better aesthetics, and more goat freedom.

the local invisible fence dealer says he's tried them on goats (and
pot-bellied pigs), and they work fine. his systems are expensive, but
walmart sells a $100 kit with 500' of wire made by radio systems in
knoxville (800) 732-2677. extra collars cost $36. another 500' of wire
and flags costs $30. the small 6v batteries last 3-6 months. the basic
transmitter uses 110 vac and does up to 25 acres (4000' of wire?) the
deluxe version does 100 acres. they also have more powerful collars for
stubborn animals and power reduction resistors for sensitive creatures. 

bury the wire with an edger, using wire nut connections, and protect
shrubbery by twisting the wire to cancel the signal in a run from the
perimeter to the shrub area, then run a single wire loop around it.

someday, we might see portable solar-powered microwave transmitters
vs wires, directional ones at perimeter corners and omnidirectional
ones near shrubs.

nick 




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