Home Economics 200 Goats And The Solution To San Jose, California's, Housing Problem

200 Goats And The Solution To San Jose, California’s, Housing Problem



We are told that a herd of 200 goats has been terrorising San Jose in California. Hmm, OK, that 200 goats managed to get into peoples’ gardens for a few minutes and they’re vaguely discomfited by having to clean up the poop perhaps. The story actually telling us how to sort out the housing problem in that place.

About 200 goats broke through a fence in San Jose and briefly stormed the streets of a residential neighborhood on Tuesday evening, in clear violation of social distancing guidelines as well as the state shelter-in-place order.

The goats had been coming by to eat through the vegetation on a hill in the neighborhood for the past 12 years, Zach Roelands, 23, a neighborhood resident who captured the madness on video, said.

They had been hopping on his neighbor’s fence, which created a hole. “Next thing you know they’re in the front yard eating everything in sight,” Roelands said.

In the video, some goats paused to pull up plants and flowers from nearby yards before following the rest of the herd, much to the chagrin of residents. Neighbors were panicked at first, trying to keep the goats away from their landscaping, but then mostly amused, Roelands said. “The goats have come for the past 12 years but this was the most entertaining they’ve been,” he said.

The goats were rounded up and under control within minutes but “everyone had to spend the next hour or so picking up their poop”, Roelands said.

Terrors, eh, horrors even.

As someone who lives rural – in a climate and environment very much like that of the Bay Area in fact – I can tell you that a herd of goats is not a scary prospect. Your roses should be righteously afeared of them but not much else.

However, that solution to the housing problem. San Jose has sky high housing prices given that it’s right at the heart of Silicon Valley. Mountain View, Palo Alto, all that high tech HQ stuff is next little town over and then one. People pay millions for the sort of rabbit hutch even the English would consider a bit pokey.

Then there’s thisthis:

Land: How much land is available and what is its productivity? Poor ground may support 2-4 goats per acre while better pasture may be able to support 6-8 goats per acre.

That land and climate there is just like that outside my window. This is the time of year you have to start adding feed – rainfall and plant growth are in the winter, not summer. The usual native grasses and scrub have done that for this year and are now drying up into very light on nutrition fodder. The peripatetic shepherds here are very peripatetic in the hunt for that necessary feed. So, 2 goats per acre then.

So, we’ve actually got someone using some of the most expensive land in the world to raise goats? We’ve got 100 acres, say 40 hectares among friends, being used for caprine nannies and kids rather than programmers’ nannies and kids? At UK mandated housing densities that’s land for 1200 houses.

Which is where we get that solution to Silicon Valley’s housing problem. Eat the goats and build houses instead.



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expunct (ɪkˈspʌŋkt)
VERB (transitive)
1. to delete or erase; blot out; obliterate
2. to wipe out or destroy

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