HOUSTON – Goats – with the aid of a goat wrangler -- will mow the slopes of the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center this October, the organization announced Tuesday.
More than 120 goats will rid the area of overgrown vegetation around the two Woodway ponds.
A first for the arboretum, this pilot project with goats from Rent-A-Ruminant Texas will focus on 1.5 acres of land around the North and South Woodway ponds. The goats will be onsite to do what comes naturally – grazing – working on one pond area at a time. The public is welcome to view the goats at work on any day from Oct. 4 – 10.
The goats will be contained in designated areas via electric fencing and managed by a “goat wrangler,” according to a news release.
Some goats in the herd comes from animal rescue or private adoptions and includes several breeds of goats, including Nubian, Boer, Kiko, Savanna and Nigerian Dwarf. The arboretum notes the breeds are all effective at reducing brush overgrowth, green briars, poison ivy, ragweed and other unwanted or undesirable plant species. Owners Kyle Carr and Carolyn Carr note that all 220 of their goats have names.
Guests are asked not to touch or engage with the animals or to feed them, for the safety of the animals and people.
Goats are natural climbers and adept at scaling hills and mountains with ease, making them an ideal choice for clearing the slopes around the Arboretum’s ponds, according to a news release about the goats' arrival. They can go places where it is unsafe or unsuitable for humans and heavy machinery.
“We are thrilled to partner with Rent-A-Ruminant to test this concept in the Arboretum as a natural method to control vegetation, including invasive plant species on the slopes,” says Debbie Markey, the arboretum’s executive director. “Eco-friendly solutions to managing our nature center are always the optimal choice in preserving and conserving our flora and fauna. If this project is a success, we will invite the goats back next spring to do some work in our meadow and savanna ecosystems.”