May 20, 2015 - 11:36 AM
KAMLOOPS – For the fourth year running, the goats are back in the city.
Kamloops has brought back the weed-eating goats for controlling weeds as part of the city’s invasive plant control program.
The goats have proven to be effective at the locations they’ve been to in the past with a reduction of weeds already noticeable, although permanent results might not be seen for several years. Goats are best used in areas where mechanical or chemical means are difficult. An example of this are the areas of the Dallas Barnhartvale Nature Park wetlands and the Pineview Valley wetlands.
The goats are so effective because, not only can they eat four pounds of weeds a day, but once seeds move through the animal’s digestive track they are no longer viable. They also eat weeds that other animals will not, therefore not endangering important food sources.
The goats from Rocky Ridge Vegetation Control will be at Kenna Cartwright Park from Tuesday, May 19, through the beginning of June, and then will move to the Dallas Barnhartvale Nature Park for a week. People walking their dogs in the area must keep their dogs on leash.
Did you know?
- Goats are very smart and can be trained in the same way dogs can be; Conrad Lindblom's herd understands basic commands which he uses to turn them away from areas they are not allowed in or could be dangerous.
- They are animals of habit and will follow daily grazing plans, eating only certain things at different times of the day or season and will head back to their home base at the end of the day.
- Unlike cows that graze, goats are browsers – which means they move around a lot while eating instead of picking an area completely clean.
- A goat has four chambers in its stomach and food is stored until they are ready to eat it as cud.
- Goats eat about four pounds of food per day and a herd of 400 can clear out about 10 acres of weeds per day — depending on the vegetation.
- They enjoy eating fresh knapweed but also like to eat the seeds once the plant has dried out –—this keeps the seed from spreading.
- Goats will eat many weeds and can digest 100 per cent of the plant, including the seeds. They are one of the only animals with this ability.
- Goat poo makes great fertilizer; Lindblom notes the manure is a 70/30/90 (nitrogen/phosphorus/potassium) fertilizer with is equivalent to sheep manure.
- Goats can be very playful – Lindblom says if you give a goat a teeter-totter (or an unstable log) several will play on it for quite a while.
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