May 19, 2015
The Goats are Back!
Kamloops, B.C.– Kamloops’ famous weed-eating goats are back for a fourth season. After successful application of the program over the last three years, the City of Kamloops has brought back Rocky Ridge Vegetation Control to use goats for controlling weeds as part of the City’s invasive plant management program.
The use of goats is not a not a one-time treatment; generally several years are required for significantly reducing infestations. We have found a reduction of weeds in the areas where the goats have been used over the last few years. Goats can also be used on sites where mechanical and chemical methods are not feasible due to topography, size, or sensitive nature. A prime example of this is the use of goats around the Dallas/Barnhartvale nature park wetlands, and the Pineview Valley wetlands, where they were introduced last year to help control thistle and other noxious weeds in the riparian areas.
Conrad and Donna Lindblom will use their herd of 450 goats, consisting of Boer-saanen, Spanish, Nubian and Kiko goats, to target Dalmation Toadflax, leafy spurge and various invasive species in Kenna Cartwright Park. They use their highly trained herders, dogs and horses to manage their goat herds.
The goats are ideal to use as noxious weed seeds are not viable once the seed has passed through their digestive system. In addition, what they are consuming is not an issue for wildlife since the goats are targeting species that other animals will not eat and they move on once the weeds are consumed.
Want to come out and see the goats? Rocky Ridge Vegetation Control will be at Kenna Cartwright Park from May 19th until the beginning of June, and then will be headed out to Dallas/Barnhartvale Nature Park for a week. Please note that all park users with dogs must keep them on a leash in target areas during this time.
- A goat can eat about 4 lbs/day
- Weeds consumed so far by the herd:
- Canada Thistle
- Common Tansy
- Dalmation Toadflax
- Leafy Spurge
- Orange Hawkweed
- Oxeye Daisy
- Scentless Chamomile
- Sow Thistle
- Vegetation grazing is not an issue since the goats are targeting species that other wildlife will not eat and move on once weeds are consumed.
- Seed viability once digested:
- very little seed is viable once it has passed through a goat’s digestive system
- percentage of viability varies depending on the weed species
- can be managed by not moving goats to an un-infested area until all material has passed through their digestive tract (a few days at most)
- best practice is to use the herd prior to weed seed set when viability is not an issue
• Not just males have horns!
• No, goats don’t eat tin cans but do like the paper wrappings!
Kirsten Wourms, Nature Park Crew Leader
City of Kamloops