News Blog for Seattle's University District Neighborhood


Here we Goat Again: Ruminants Feast on Ravenna

April 16th, 2014 · No Comments

If you have exited north I-5 at 65th recently, chances are you may have noticed the goats!

Goats chomping away at the blackberry bramble next to I-5

Rent-a-Ruminant, owned by Tammy Dunakin, brings goats into the city to help clear away vegetation by eating it! These goats will eat balckberries, ivy, and other invasive species.

Ruminants are mammals that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, principally through bacterial actions…The word “ruminant” comes from the Latin ruminare, which means “to chew over again”.

Dunakin and her herd come from Vashon Island and with the help of Pearl the herding dog, they can clear an otherwise hard to clear area pretty efficiently.

It’s a pretty sweet life. Dunakin camps nearby in her trailer with Pearl and jokes that she is an “urban nomad.” At the end of the day, these goats are doing some great work and loving it. On the Rent-a-Ruminant website it’s stated that the goats are not slaughtered when they are unable to work they are re-homed and retired to chomp to their hearts content with a loving family.

For quite a few years, the Seattle Department of Transportation has been renting the goats from Dunakin to clear the toughest areas deemed too dangerous or inaccessible for humans to work in. It’s a win win all around!

It is quite the treat to stop by and watch these 'kids' working. They are quite friendly too, and will come over to the fence to say hi.

Dunakin's herd has got some real personality. This guy was showing off his stuff. "Hey kid, get back to work!"