Landscaping and Animal Rescue Reimagined
By Madeleine Kates
Let’s Goat Buffalo, a unique grazing-based landscape company and farm, brings the power and appetites of rescued goats to the Western New York area.
The farm’s founder, Jennifer Zeitler, reimagined her life while experiencing burnout in her high-stress career. She took up beekeeping to reduce stress and spend time in nature. Delving further into this hobby, Zeitler bought a piece of property covered with brush that was impossible to clear. Fellow beekeepers encouraged her to allow goats to graze there as a natural way to clear the debris, and the business was created out of a lack of goats for her to rent.
After explaining her predicament to a local goat farm, and volunteering with their herd, Zeitler began to assemble her own small herd of goats that would become the foundation of her new team. Zeitler’s goats are rescued from production farms where they may be euthanized due to a lack of producing milk, have specialty medical challenges, are old, or have genetic and breeding difficulties. Some even come from animal shelters where they were surrendered by their owners.
Four years and 32 goats later, you may see Let’s Goat Buffalo in a number of landmark locations, including in neighborhoods, on college campuses, and even in the Erie County Parks, where they feast on and clear out invasive species such as honeysuckle, Japanese knotweed, buckthorn, and even poison ivy, oak, and sumac, all of which they readily consume. This is important in areas where landscaping is challenged by terrain, or it is unsafe to use strong herbicides, especially near local waterways.
Taking the goats out on the town for a lengthy assignment means using the Let’s Goat Buffalo mobile-goat-unit (a converted school bus), where staff live in an apartment up front, and the goats live in the mini barn in back. For smaller jobs, the land is assessed, and goats are transported daily.
The farm sanctuary provides a beneficial place for the community to learn through hands-on experiences, tours, and even the use of care farming. Care farming welcomes those with disabilities, those in need of emotional healing, or anyone interested in caring for animals to find a sense of belonging in this natural space. “Our animals only care if you are kind to them, and this farm is a place for the entire community to heal and support physical and mental well-being through meaningful activities,” says Zeitler, who incorporates her occupational therapy education into all she does on the farm.
Supporting the farm is easy, and sponsoring a goat makes a great gift with a mission. To learn more, and find creative holiday gifts that provide for the continued care and rescue of animals at Let’s Goat Buffalo, visit www.letsgoatbuffalo.com, or call 716-803-7484 to book an assessment, farm tour, or inquire about care farming.
Madeleine Kates is studying her MPH through the University of Manchester, UK. She recently graduated from Niagara University with degrees in Environmental Science, Life Science, and Psychology.