Morrison Ranch Goatherd

After the Woolsey fire burned through Morrison Ranch in November 2018, I was reminded of photos I took earlier in the year in April of a goatherd and his flock that came to the Agoura Hills neighborhood to perform weed abatement. Armed with a truck bed full of electric fences, trusty Australian shepherd Mike, and a herd of goats, Peruvian-born Alejandro Quispe comes every year to clear weeds at least 100 feet away from homes. The 41-year-old has worked with a herd of up to 500 goats in California for the past seven years. Before that, Quispe was a shepherd on horseback herding sheep in Montana for four years and in Peru he worked in the coffee trade. In years past, the weeds were rougher and dry, taking the goats longer to eat and giving Quispe more down time. This year it took a few weeks to complete the weed abatement at Morrison Ranch. The work proved crucial in saving homes when the fire hit. Photos by Richard Gillard/Acorn Newspapers

  • Goatherd Alejandro Quispe lassos a goat to divide his herd on Wednesday, April 4 on the hills at Morrison Ranch. The goats are used for weed abatement.

  • Goatherd Alejandro Quispe lassos a goat to divide his herd on Wednesday, April 4 on the hills at Morrison Ranch. The goats are used for weed abatement.

  • Goatherd Alejandro Quispe carries electric fences up one of the hills at Morrison Ranch. Much of Quispe time is used to move and set up fencing into the next area so the goat can keep working eating the grass to clear the area for weed abatement.

  • Goatherd Alejandro Quispe sets up electric fences on the hills at Morrison Ranch. Much of Quispe time is used to move and set up fencing into the next area so the goat can keep working eating the grass to clear the area.

  • Caitlin Katz shows her daughter, Olivia Katz, 1, the goats on the hill at Morrison Ranch. May neighbors look forward each year for the return of the goats.

  • When one area has been cleared by the goats eating the grasses goatherd Alejandro Quispe uses his Australian Shepherd Mike to moves his herd to the next fenced off area at Morrison Ranch.

  • Goatherd Alejandro Quispe sets up electric fences on the hills at Morrison Ranch. Much of Quispe time is used to move and set up fencing into the next area so the goat can keep working eating the grass to clear the area.

  • Goats work on a new area at Morrison Ranch with a just cleared area in the foreground.

  • Morrison Ranch resident Beverly Schwarz says hello to Mike after offering to buy goatherd Alejandro Quispe a coffee. Schwarz looks forward to having the goats at Morrison Ranch each year for weed abatement.

  • When one area has been cleared by the goats eating the grasses goatherd Alejandro Quispe uses his Australian Shepherd Mike to moves his herd to the next fenced off area at Morrison Ranch.

  • Goats are used for weed abatement to clear at least 100 feet from the homes in Morrison Ranch.

  • With this comparison, you can see how the weed abatement performed by the goats helped save homes from the Woosley fire in November.