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Environment

Rent-A-Goats eating dense undergrowth at Brackenridge Park

Jake the goat.jpg
Brian Kirkpatrick
/
Texas Public Radio
"Jake" is among the goats beautifying Brackenridge Park by eating undergrowth surrounding trees

About 160 goats are chewing through invasive undergrowth surrounding trees on 7 acres of Brackenridge Park for the next couple of weeks.

The chairman of the park's conservancy Nicolas Hollis said the goats' work is more environmentally friendly than mowers and the results look just as good.

"If you look over here, you got vegetation that is 4 and 5 feet tall that you can't see through and now it looks like a mower went through here," he said.

Hollis hopes the public gets a glimpse of the goats as they eat their way through that portion of the park, but he said they may be done before two weeks is up.

"The speed with which they're moving, it may be less. But we hope they're here for an extended period of time, so everybody in the community has an opportunity to come on down and check it out, especially the kids," he said.

The conservancy was inspired by the use of goats by park and recreation officials from Houston. Donations totaling $17,000 from the Alamo Heights-Terrell Hills Garden Club and the Big Give paid for the herd to be brought in.

The goats were trucked here by Brownwood-Texas based "Rent-A-Ruminant," owned by husband and wife, Kyle and Carolyn Carr.

Goats at Brackenridge Park.jpg
Brian Kirkpatrick
/
Texas Public Radio
"Pongo," to the right, is another goat chewing through low brush at Brackenridge Park

She said they haul the goats all over Texas so they can munch and crunch for the sake of beauty. She said they clear vegetation from the ground to the lowest hanging tree branches of an entire acre in as little as two days.

Carr said they don't leave behind piles of branches, leaves, and grass, but they do leave behind other beneficial sorts of piles.

"If you try to come in here with a machine or something to get rid of all this, you would have a large mound of vegetative mass. With the goats, they actually defoliate plants and they also provide some fertilization," she said with a laugh.

She added the goats even eat some scarier types of vegetation.

"They love poison ivy. Poison ivy, poison oak, things like that. Things that are not good for humans to be around. They love to eat that," Carr said.

She said anyone that ventures out to see the goats at the park should not feed them or pet them. The poison ivy can stick to their fur and be transferred to humans. Also mind the low-voltage electric fence they're kept behind.

Texas Public Radio spotted name tags in the ears of all the goats, one read "Pogo." Another "Jake." None are named after GOATs (Greatest Of All Time) like serial Super Bowl winner Tom Brady. Carr does, however, like that idea.

"Gretzky, Brady, Jordan...those are good names. I'm going to steal that," she said.

The goats can be spotted in the woods in the park near Brackenridge Way Drive and Tuleta Drive.

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