Calgary

Weed-eating goats wrap up Calgary pilot project

Calgarians got the chance to get up close and personal on Saturday with the city's latest weed-killing technology: goats.

All 106 members of the herd are heading out after munching their way through Confluence Park

These goats were among those who patrolled to chew up invasive weeds in Calgary's Confluence Park, as part of a three-week pilot project. (Geordin Zee/CBC)

Calgarians got the chance to get up close and personal on Saturday with the city's latest weed-killing technology: goats. 

"We're using 106 goats in Confluence Park to try to target invasive weed species and help the natural succession of native plants in the park," said Jeanette Hall, shepherd and owner of Baah'd Plant Management and Reclamation.

Jeanette Hall, owner of Baah'd Plant Management and Reclamation, talks to interested Calgarians on Saturday as the project comes to an end. (Geordin Zee/CBC)

The goats are part of a three-week pilot project that allows the city to tackle unwanted plants in difficult to reach areas, while also reducing pesticide use. Reducing the invasive plants will help native growth flourish.

The city wanted to know if goats were a viable alternative. 

'It's been amazing'

Hall told CBC News at the beginning of the project, unlike other plant-eating animals, goats acidic stomachs mean weeds are not simply redistributed through their feces. 

Calgarians got the chance to feed the goats more weeds from the park on Saturday. (Geordin Zee/CBC)

"It's been amazing," she said on Saturday. "We've had a wonderful reception for the City of Calgary and Calgarians themselves. Parks staff have been incredibly supportive.

"The goats have done a phenomenal job, we've done everything from Canadian thistle to goat's beard and tumbleweed mustard. There's about 22 different weeds here in the park that they've been able to tackle and help us get a little bit more manageable."

Calgarians got the chance to get up close and personal with the weed-eating goats on Saturday. (Geordin Zee/CBC)

Hall said her company will typically return to a grazing area a few times throughout the year to ensure the weeds are kept in check. 

"So we start to see the effect compound over years three and four," she said. 

Grace, 2, makes friends with one of the goats hired to mow the weeds at Confluence Park in Calgary. (Submitted)

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