You’re not dreaming, there are Goats roaming the grassy fields in Oakley. The City of Oakley has once again embarked on this creative, and environmentally friendly alternative to weed abatement. The Goats are expected to clear approximately 45 acres of public open spaces and drainage detention basins that will keep the Goats busy in the weeks to come.
Goats have been used for centuries in different cultures as four-legged brush clearing machines. Goats will eat almost any vegetation and have the capacity to digest even plants with stickers and thorns. Goats will even eat poison ivy and many other pest plants and are a safe alternative to many of our fueled machinery and chemical treatments used for vegetation control.
Since goats prefer weeds over grasses they will always seek weeds and consume them first. Goat herds snap off and consume all the flower heads, then pick off the leaves, leaving a bare stock. Because the flower is eliminated immediately, it cannot go to seed and without leaves, it cannot photosynthesize and build a root system.
Vegetation control is needed to minimize fire concerns, control noxious weeds and pests, promote good drainage to ensure our creeks can take on the full capacity of storm run-off, and of course, keep the Goats well fed. The Goats can access hard-to-reach spaces and areas that are too steep to bring in machinery to get the job done. They also naturally break up the soil allowing for better water absorption and less water run-off which is important for securing a stable hillside.
The pictures on the following pages are from the city property at end of Teton Road.