Both my former boss and the real estate agent who sold us our house have goats for this same purpose, letting their goat herds munch away at their acres of land. They'll eat all sorts of junk from your yard (although I hear that tin cans don't actually agree with them). Word is that goats especially love privet. Chinese privet is a fairly common invasive species in our area. It's actually considered an "exotic pest plant" in the Southeast U.S. And more and more, individuals and companies alike are using goats (or sheep) to eradicate this stubborn weed. Even L.A. is using goats for public lawn maintenance (and drawing quite a crowd, too!).
Courtesy of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
We've often thought about borrowing a few goats to clean out the wilderness behind our house. The other option is to rent a Bobcat for a weekend and go to town on it. If we went the (greener) goat option, we'd have to figure out a way to fence the goats into just that part of the yard so they don't munch stuff we actually want to grow (like our currently measly grass Mr. Great Indoors is nurturing). But our neighbors have offered to half the cost of a Bobcat with us, so it might end up costing as little as $40. Hmmm. We had talked briefly about herbicide like Round Up, but I think that option would be waaaay too expensive in the amounts we need it. We have about 0.2 acres to clear, and that could certainly add up. Here's a shot from our backyard wilderness a few weeks ago. Mr. GI buzzed out a lot of our privet a few months ago, but this sucker is already back. Grrr.
Have any of you used sheep or goats to clean out part of your yard? Or have you resorted to harsher techniques?
P.S. Did you know that privet (or privyet) means "hi" in Russian? Fun!