The Electric Goats of Sausalito


Environmentally Friendly Blogging
This week’s blog post is only marginally related to Cushman & Wakefield and the commercial real estate industry. However, I believe there are many businesses and service lines with close ties to our industry who may put this article’s information to practical use.

I recently learned of an ingenious and environmentally friendly service that Bay Area real estate developers, golf courses, property landlords, schools, homeowners, municipalities, construction companies or unmotivated, suburban husbands may find quite interesting – and fascinating.

As a longtime blogger, I have also discovered that the most successful blogs tend to combine targeted business niche stories with local human interest stories. Hopefully the humans who find this story interesting will also be fond of goats.

A Herd in the Distance
I was peering out of the window of my Marin County apartment recently and noticed a group of smallish, furry animals about 160 yards in the fog drenched distance. They were grazing on a windy hillside overlooking the northernmost part of Sausalito, CA, located approximately five minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge and 30 minutes from San Francisco’s Central Business District. As the crow flies, it’s only 12 miles from The City.

There are no farms or animal pastures anywhere in this vicinity, so I wasn’t at all  sure of what beasts I was seeing on the horizon. I grabbed a pair of binoculars and made an interesting discovery.

Approximately 40 goats, both yearlings and adults were calmly feasting on the scruffy hillside vegetation. They were surrounded by a temporary wire mesh fence, which had electric fence warnings signs posted on it.

After a little online research, I stumbled on the website of

City Grazing is a San Francisco-based goat landscaping business. They offer an environmentally friendly solution to weed control by renting out goats to clear public and private land.

O.OO% Lawnmower Noise
According to the website, goat-grazing is an ecologically sound practice that eliminates the need for toxic herbicides, chemicals, and gas-powered lawn mowers.

The goats easily clear brush in areas that people or machines cannot reach, like steep slopes or ditches. Depending on the size and scope of the project, the goats live within the enclosed space 24/7 and leave everything in broom clean and freshly fertilized condition. One of their favorite treats is poison oak. Yummie.



Goat-grazing is an Ecologically Sound Practice

Meet Spock, Double Stuff, Bumblebee, Oreo and Joan Jet
Among the herd are an eclectic variety of goat breeds, including Boer, Alpine, Nigerian Dwarf and Pygmy. On Facebook, I also found out that the goats all have names. There’s Bumblebee, Oreo, Spock, Harley, Orphan, Itsy, Bitsy, Kumquat, KitKat, AC, DC, Double Stuff, Paulie, Princess, White Wizard, Cinnamon Bear, Evel Knievel, Joan Jet and many others.



Your New Lawmower: Spock the Vulcan White Goat

Organic & Natural Fire Prevention also reports that grazing goats restore soil fertility by providing organic fertilizer. Whether you have acres or simply an overgrown backyard, the goats are eager to eat weeds and aid in fire prevention, naturally.



Oreo Devours a Nappy Backyard Garden


genevieve church

Tipsy the Goat With City Grazing General Manager Genevieve Church

Connecting Goats with the Greater World
According to General Manager Genevieve Church, who runs all operations for City Grazing, ” The goats also do freelance work as entertainers. Some of them are natural stars who love cameras and attention. They’re available for parties, educational visits, acting roles, documentaries and special events of all kinds.” goats grazingThe herd is very friendly, lively, and great with children. As they work around the city, City Grazing also teaches about animal husbandry and ecological stewardship of industrial land.

While they are not out on the job, the herd lives on a pasture in San Francisco’s Bayview district, between the SF Bay Railroad and a cement recycling plant.

City Grazing is happy to answer any inquiries and enjoys finding creative opportunities to connect goats with the greater world. Their phone number is 415. 642.7172, or send an email to


Electric Fence Means No Coyotes
I exchanged a couple of emails with Ms. Church and asked about the electric fence. I was also worried about the coyotes who I know roam these parts day and night. These goats are so friendly and innocent and would make easy prey.


coyote cushman

Coyotes & Foxes are Common in the Headlands of Marin

I found out that the electric fence serves two purposes: Keep the goats enclosed and safe and prevent coyotes or other potential predators from entering. Apparently coyotes are not interested in large groups of animals and if they do get tempted, the small, 12 volt electric charge of the fence will discourage the sensitive coyote’s nose.

True Story: During the production of this blog post, I was admiring the early morning mist and looked over the goat herd below. I saw a chocolate brown fox from the corner of my eye approach the electric fence on the far corner of the grazing section. The fox carefully sniffed the fence and immediately jumped back about 5 feet, as if shot out of a cannon. The 12 volts, which is only a minimal electric charge, is clearly sufficient to deter any predatory activity.


Bucolic Conclusion:
Frankly, goat grazing is one of the best and most creative problem solving ideas I’ve heard of in a long time. I also get the feeling that the local residents enjoy having the goats in view. It has a calming, bucolic effect on humans.

Watching the animals grazing reminds me of a Greek countryside panorama or that scene in the Godfather where the fugitive Michael Corleone walks to the Sicilian village of Corleone to discover his roots and his future wife, Appolonia.

Goat Cam: See the herd graze. If video does not launch, download the movie file below.


Goat Cam











Leave A Comment