Thursday, July 20, 2017

The goats are back!

For the next week, a herd of approximately 200 goats will be dining on weeds in Confluence (West Nose Creek) Park as phase two of The City’s targeted grazing program begins.

Phase one was undertaken in 2016, and we’re excited about the results. So far we’ve learned that goats can be used in an active park without disrupting park visitors’ enjoyment of the park, whether on foot, on bicycle, or with a leashed dog. Preliminary signs also indicate that the goats have done an excellent job targeting a significant volume and variety of invasive weeds such as Canada thistle, hound’s tongue, and hawkweed.

Phase two of this pilot program sees the goats return to Confluence Park so we can analyze the long-term success of using targeted grazing as a weed management tool. We will be focusing on how effective the goats are at controlling certain weeds, and how well they can do that without impacting the native vegetation we want to keep in the area. The goats will be visiting the park a week at a time, for three different weeks throughout the summer.

If you see the goats grazing while you’re in the park, please keep your distance and obey the shepherd at all times. Remember to keep your dog on-leash as Confluence Park is an on-leash park (there is a fenced off-leash area near the parking lot). These goats are working and when people interact with them it disrupts their work and can cause them distress.

If you are interested in learning about this pilot project please visit us online at calgary.ca/goats.

3 comments:

  1. Why is there a shepherd there? Don't you mean goatherd? (I understand a shepherd tends sheep, not goats.)

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    Replies
    1. Good catch! While you’re technically correct, we decided to use the term Shepherd as it’s more well-known by the general public.

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  2. There are few sheep in these parts. Perhaps "cowboy" would better meet your targeted primary-school reading level.

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