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Copyright 2010, Kathy Voth, Livestock for Landscapes, All rights reserved
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Weed eating benefits
What's Edible?
How to get started
What people are saying
Meet the inventor


Cow Pointer

Educated Cows Eat Weeds!

The Training Steps

1. Know your plant.
Begin by finding out about the nutritional value and the toxins in your target plant. Many weeds are very nutritious, but like all plants they contain toxins. Prevent illness by knowing your toxins.

2. Choose the right animals to train.
Young animals are more likely to try new things, females stay in the herd longer and teach their offspring. Train only as many as you can handle. They will teach everyone else for you.

3. Reduce the fear of new foods
Setting up a daily routine of feeding animals something nutritious but unfamiliar gives them positive experiences with new foods and makes them comfortable trying new foods. Feed them something new twice a day for four days. When you introduce your target weed on the fifth day, they'll eat it because it's just one more new thing in their routine of new things.

4. Practice in pasture.
Each new plant requires that your animal learns a new grazing technique. Give them a day or two to practice in small "classroom" size pastures. Then when you send them out in the world, they'll have the skills they need.

Turn a Foe Into Forage

In 2004, Kathy Voth invented a method for training cows to eat weeds. The idea grew from the responses from ranchers when she suggested they use goats or sheep to manage weeds. That just wasn’t an economically viable or sustainable solution for them.

Kathy believes that animals are a good solution for weed management, so she decided that if cattle ranchers weren’t interested in goats or sheep, she’d figure out how to turn their cattle into weed managers. Using discoveries made by researchers at Utah State University, and decades of animal behavior studies, she put together a very logical set of steps for teaching cows to eat weeds.

Minimal Time Investment
Using Kathy’s process a cattle producer can teach cows to eat weeds in as little as 10 hours over 10 days and then sit back and relax while the cows get to work.

Cows Are Good Learners and Teachers
A small group of trainees will teach their calves and herd mates to eat weeds, to create a weed eating army in the course of one grazing season. Cows will continue to eat the weeds year after year and add new ones without additional training.

MT cow eats Canada thistle

A Lewistown, MT heifer enjoys some Canada thistle in pasture.

Watch a video of the training process.

Click here for answers to Frequently Asked Questions about cows eating weeds.

An invention of this scope is a “game-changer” in the war on weeds. Once our cows eat weeds we can save thousands in expenses and labor and turn our focus to managing our animals so we can make more money while creating healthy landscapes.