150 Goats to ‘Mow’ 7 Acres of Brackenridge Park
Goats are excellent at brush-clearing, as shown in the article below about Brackenridge Park in San Antonio.
Many so-called “exotic”, “non-native”, and “invasive” species are also useful in maintaining and improving habitat. These include wild horses and burros, cattle, sheep, pigs, elk (these are classified non-native in Texas), mountain goats, aoudad, and others.
NOTE: this article was originally published to KSAT.com on May 18, 2022. It was written by Julie Moreno.
Brackenridge Park Conservancy is renting the goats for the rest of the month
Brackenridge Park is going to the goats.
The Brackenridge Park Conservancy and the San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department have hired 150 goats to assist with clearing out overgrown vegetation throughout 7 acres of the park. The goats were contracted through a company called Rent-A-Ruminant.
“Goats, which graze on many varieties of grasses and plants, are an effective, eco-friendly, and sustainable solution to vegetation management,” park officials said in a press release.
The goats will allow for the clearing of unwanted plant species and removal of brush without the need for commercial mowing or herbicides. They’ll also be able to reach places were heavy machinery could not.
“This idea was brought to us by the Houston Arboretum, which is in its third year with bringing goats to control vegetation around their ponds and savanna,” said Joe Turner, Executive Director of the Brackenridge Park Conservancy. “Eco-friendly solutions to managing Brackenridge Park may be just the beginning. If this project is successful, it could be considered for other City parks.”
The goats will be contained to their designated work areas by portable electric fencing and will be managed by a goat wrangler.
The public will be able to see the goats at work through the end of May but will not be permitted to touch or feed them.
The goats that Rent-A-Ruminant utilizes come from animal rescue or private adoptions. They include eight breeds including Nubian, Boer, Kiko, Savanna, and Nigerian Dwarf — and each of the company’s 150 goats have a name.
The City of San Antonio’s Animal Care Services Department reviewed and approved the permit. The Brackenridge Park Conservancy said the project is being paid for by donations from the 2021 Big Give SA fundraiser.