The comeback kids: Weed-chomping goats return to Edmonton

On Tuesday, the city welcomed back a herd of 200 goats to Edmonton's Rundle Park as part of the city's GoatWorks pilot project, now entering its second year.
The City of Edmonton is using goats in the battle against noxious weeds. 0:47

When it comes to keeping the weeds down and the grass mowed, these kids are all right.

On Tuesday, the city welcomed back a herd of 200 goats to Edmonton's Rundle Park as part of the city's GoatWorks pilot project, now entering its second year.

"It's just been really exciting to watch them," Joy Lakhan, the city's GoatWorks project manager said from the edge of the goat's 10-hectare range in the river valley. "It's wonderful." 

Throughout the summer, the goats will be corralled in the park where they will munch their way through fields of weeds that would otherwise be sprayed with pesticides.

They'll be coming out to pasture intermittently between now and September.

The billies have been putting a bite on the city's weed problem since 2017, shortly after the city banned pesticides.

Each goat chows down on about 4½ kilograms of weeds daily, even digesting the seeds.

"I've been invited back by the city of Edmonton to clean up some weeds here," said Jeannette Hall, shepherd and owner of Baah'd Plant Management. 

Goats are the perfect weed whackers because they're natural all-terrain browsers. Hall specifically trains her herd to devour the most unwelcome weeds like thistle and burdock. 

"What's good about our goats is that they've been training to do this for a long time and they have a wide variety of weeds under their belt now," Hall said.

"So when we come to sites like this we can reliably say we are going to clean up these weeds."