Goats eating weeds and ready for selfies

A city park is getting stomped on and chewed up…thanks to goats!

A city park is getting stomped on and chewed up…thanks to goats! They are one of the city’s tools for managing a healthy native ecosystem and community members can see them in action at the annual “Meet and Bleat” on Sunday, July 24 from 9-11 a.m. at Harlow Platts Community Park.

The “Meet and Bleat” event allows community members to see the goats up close, take photos, and pet them.

“There will be about 30 goats, all female, and several baby goats,” said Heather Speicher from Homestead Ranch, the provider of the goats to the city for the second year. “They’ll be eating the weeds and would love to have community members come say hi and scratch them behind the ears, if they want.”

Event visitors should leave their dogs at home and not bring any food for the goats since they’re busy eating weeds. Visitors should park next to the playground on the south side of the park and follow the signage to the goats.

“The goats are a natural way to stomp out weeds, so we’re excited that they’re back to help out,” said Ecology Supervisor Joy Master. “The goats are an important part of how the city supports native plant species by keeping invasive species under control, also called Integrated Pest Management. We use many different tools to manage invasive species, including education, prevention, and methods to remove existing plants from the ecosystem.”

The goats take care of Canada thistle, crown vetch, common teasel, and chicory weeds, and have managed weeds for over 20 years at the Boulder Reservoir, Tantra Park, Christensen Park, Gerald Stazio Softball Fields area, Maxwell Park, and Harlow Platts Community Park.

“The goats can’t get to the weed roots, but by chomping, digesting, and stomping on the plants, the goats minimize seed production,” said Master. “Weed management is important for the city to be in compliance with the state’s noxious weeds law and to foster healthy native plant communities in our natural areas.”

The herd of goats at the park can take care of approximately ¼ an acre every eight days before moving on to a new section of the park. The goats will be on-site at Harlow Platts Community Park until mid-August.