Aldergrove resident Eric Mai Lhot has employed the herd to clear his three-acre hobby farm, which is currently unusable due to years of blackerry bush and vegetation overgrowth. (Sarah Grochowski)

Aldergrove resident Eric Mai Lhot has employed the herd to clear his three-acre hobby farm, which is currently unusable due to years of blackerry bush and vegetation overgrowth. (Sarah Grochowski)

WATCH: Hungry herds of mowers for rent in Aldergrove

‘These guys get in places that machines can’t’: farm proprietor Sonya Steiner

What is furry, with four legs, and can munch away pesky blackberry bushes?

It’s a question that Aldergrove Pet ‘n’ Ponies proprietor Sonya Steiner is striving to answer by renting out her farm’s happy herds this summer to landowners in need.

Aldergrove resident Eric Mai Lhot first found a Craigslist ad for the troupe online.

He inquired further, hoping to be able to clear some acreage for the three-acre hobby farm he rents on the 25700-block of 16th Avenue.

As of August, Steiner provides land clearing services with the use of her animals. The start-up program comes at no cost for landowners until the business idea takes off in popularity, “creating a demand,” she said.

“They’re working already,” Steiner said, moments after releasing the group from her horse trailer into an overgrown area she had enclosed with metal paneling.

“It’s not even work for them,” Steiner chuckled.

For one straight week starting Aug. 30, the animals munched on tall grass, pesky weeds, prickly blackberry bushes and other types of vegetation – in the order of what they consider the most delicious.

“They even jump up to get the stuff above in the trees,” Steiner said, “and step up on each other to reach,” she laughed.

Steiner, owner of a mobile petting zoo and 40 farm animals on a 10-acre Aldergrove property, transports however many animals are needed for the job.

For Mai Lhot’s mowing needs, she enlisted the help of two goats, Kajiji and Chuck Norris, an alpaca named Kuzco, and two hungry sheep named Jesse and Penelope.

The herd works year-round at birthday parties and social events including the Aldergrove Fair. Because of this, the four-legged mowers are incredibly friendly.

“My one donkey will come and almost sit in your lap,” Steiner said while scratching Chuck Norris’ back.

READ MORE: Utterly unique marriage proposals enlist the help of Aldergrove’s happy herds

Caz and Chase, Jack Russel brothers, also take part in grazing when Steiner visits to check up on the crew.

“It’s natural for dogs to eat grass. It helps their digestion,” Steiner said about her pups’ grass-eating habits.

After a week’s time on Mai Lhot’s property – mostly eating, drinking, and sleeping – the crew had completely cleared the fenced-in portion of the farm.

Steiner said the mish-mash herd even eats the prickliest parts of plants, digging up their roots and feasting on them in a way that stunts future growth of invasive species.

Being ruminants, members of the group “will eat for a while, then stop to chew their cud,” as a latter form of digestion.

Along with being an eco-friendly mowing option compared to heavy-duty machinery, the animals also benefit the land by fertilizing its soil with their waste.

“And these guys get in places that machines can’t,” Steiner said.

“I think the Langley Township could benefit from this because they’re spending a lot of money clearing blackberries themselves,” Mai Lhot said.

“Blackberries have become a problem in our community,” he added, noting that on his property, it is nearly impossible to remove the thousands of thorny vines without a small excavator, and a concerted effort to dig up the plant’s roots.

“They still grow back because the clearing process usually spreads their seed,” Mai Lhot elaborated.

On Sunday, Steiner moved the five-animal herd to an adjacent overgrown area on Mai Lhot’s rented property.

The hard-working group was giddy about the plethora of plants they get to dine on this week.

For now, with her other farm animals, she continues to offer pony rides, lessons and other petting zoo packages for mobile events.

Steiner emphasized that her other animals are sitting in wait of future land-clearing projects.

Those in need of a good mow can contact Steiner at 250-682-3082.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

WATCH: Hungry herds of mowers for rent in Aldergrove

WATCH: Hungry herds of mowers for rent in Aldergrove

WATCH: Hungry herds of mowers for rent in Aldergrove

WATCH: Hungry herds of mowers for rent in Aldergrove

Just Posted

Wes Barker, second from left, with fellow Big Trick Energy show performers on “Ellen,” in video posted to youtube.com.
VIDEO: On ‘Ellen,’ former Langley man works magic with new ‘Big Trick Energy’ gang

A decade ago, Wes Barker quit his job with the City of Surrey to do magic professionally

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020.   THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More Langley-area business closed due to COVID-19

Any business with three or more cases among employees can be closed

Vancouver Giants victorious over the Royals in Kamloops Thursday, April 15. The G-Men won, 4-0. (Allen Douglas/Special to Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Giants young goalie shutouts Victoria, 4-0

The Langley-based WHL team earn another victory over the Royals Thursday in Kamloops

Critter Care’s first ever 50/50 winner is Kim Madill, who took home $28,852.50. (Critter Care/Special to The Star)
Winner takes home $28,852.50 through Critter Care’s first virtual 50/50

Kim Madill instantly donated part of the funds to the Langley-based wildlife society

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is moving forward on efforts to help citizens of Hong Kong remain in Canada rather than have to return. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Painful Truth: Canada’s immigration hopes may not be enough in post-COVID world

In a world of declining birth rates and rising wealth, where do new Canadians come from?

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Nick Warmerdam and his dog Diesel are inviting locals to check out the Lakeland Farm U-pick Flower Farm this spring. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers opens for spring

Tulip farm attraction opened on April 14, open to the public daily seven days a week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

The female driver of this Jeep Grand Cherokee (right) was driving erratically with a young child inside on Highway 1 eastbound. After hitting a barrier and a parked car, she finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

Former Pitt Meadows city councillor David Murray was convicted of sex assault, and is now being sued by the victim. (files)
Former Pitt Meadows city councillor sued for sex assault

David Murray was convicted in 2017 of sexually assaulting a teen 25 years earlier

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Most Read