Brush-Eating Goats Return to the Palisades


Ahead of the start of wildfire season, nearly 60 goats flocked to Pacific Palisades on Friday, April 5, to feast on overgrown brush in El Medio Bluffs.

This time, the bearded vegans of Fire Grazers Inc. come from the town of Mariposa in Central California on a farm owned by the Choi family.

The boer goats are expected to receive another 200 in reinforcements at Tahitian Terrace and will be there for a couple of weeks, according to Michael Choi, owner of Fire Grazers Inc.

“[We work at] universities, conservancies, we’ve even had work where we fenced around the native plants and eat down the invasive weeds,” Choi explained.

He bases his practice on “holistic farming” methods that are aimed at reviving the natural ecosystem and rejuvenating the plant life, as the organic compost they leave behind repairs the soil.

The method of having tight herds work on one small area at a time came from a desertification method developed in Africa.

The goats recently came under scrutiny after several passersby reported their pets getting electrocuted from the fence installed around their perimeter. But Choi pointed out that it is a harmless low-voltage zap that keeps the animals in place.

“It’s a completely humane way of doing it,” he said. “The sense I get is that the goats feel safe when they’re in the fence because [outside of it] there’s coyotes and mountain lions and bears.

“In fact when you have a goat break out of the fence, it’s not like they want to be out of the fence, they’re trying to get back in,” Choi said.

The annual visit of these goats makes not only a great photo op for Palisadians, but a sign that wildfire season is nearing, as human wildland firefighters return to their posts in May.