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University of Richmond Uses Herd of Goats to Clear Invasive Plant Species on Campus

University of Richmond Uses Herd of Goats to Clear Invasive Plant Species on Campus

“The goats have a voracious appetite and they just eat about everything”

Lots of schools, farms, and other organizations use goats in this way. Goats are amazing because they can eat almost any plant and in a large group they’re like a giant living lawnmower.

WRIC News reports:

Why was there a herd of goats at the University of Richmond?

If you were near the University of Richmond on Wednesday, you probably noticed goats enjoying lunch on the campus. It wasn’t because a farmer lost their herd — they were there as part of an environmentally friendly landscape management initiative.

Rob Andrejewski, director of sustainability, said goats have been clearing out vegetation on the campus since 2018. While the method was novel at first, Andrejewski said the four-legged lawnmowers do a great job of removing invasive species like porcelain berry, English ivy and Japanese stilt grass.

“The goats have a voracious appetite and they just eat about everything,” he said.

This year, UR rented between 40 to 60 goats from RVA Goats and Honey. Andrejewski said the company provides goats and fencing while the university just keeps an eye on them while they work. The herd can stay for up to two weeks depending on how big the job is.

The goats grazed in the Gambles Mill Eco-Corridor, which serves as a source of stormwater management, stream restoration, native planting and an outdoor recreation trail. Andrejewski said they need to remove invasive species to make room for native plants to grow.

“Bringing goats in is a really wonderful ecological method to do so,” Andrejewski said.

The goats are part of a three-prong method for removing invasive plants from this part of campus. First, the goats remove a lot of the ground cover, because the animals don’t like to eat too low to the ground. Then, they follow up with mechanical removal to dig out the pants by the roots. Finally, workers follow up with herbicide to kill invasive species that will grow back even if you pull them.


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I’ve always wanted to buy a goat and name it “Lawnmower”

We keep two burros who do the same. (Burros roam wild out here.) But they won’t touch Mexican primrose, which is becoming an invasive problem. The beauty of goats is not just that they’ll eat the stuff, but their digestive system actually destroys seeds that would just pass through the systems of most other animals and regerminate. However, they’re escape artists (superior leapers) and they enjoy standing on your vehicles.

Some farmers put a few goats in the fields with their cows or sheep. The goats eat the brush which the other animals won’t touch.

Turn some goats loose on the Democrat Party.