Goats added to landscaping crew at Colerain Park
The park has enlisted the goats to remove an invasive plant species... by eating it.
CINCINNATI (Enquirer) - Colerain Township has a new lawn maintenance team and we are not kidding.
Two pens of goats are now in charge of landscaping in a corner of Colerain Park.
These four-legged lawnmowers are tasked with eating Japanese Honeysuckle, an invasive species that can be tedious for humans to remove.
How do the goats do it? They consider it lunch.
Jackie O’Connell, Director of Public Services for Colerain Township, says she got the idea for the goats in the park from other similar projects in the city.
The practice of using goats as an alternative to chemical herbicides has been gaining in popularity. In years past, Goebel Park in Covington has had success bringing in goats to clear honeysuckle and other invasive species and goats were brought to eradicate Winter Creeper, English Ivy and other invasive species in Spring Grove Cemetery.
The endeavor is not without some risk. Six goats were attacked by a dog in 2016 in Spring Grove Cemetery. One of them died. Park officials say that there are coyotes in Colerain Township, though they have not received reports of any in the park.
This experiment is to see if the goats will be able to permanently remove honeysuckle from the park. Goats, over the course of a couple of growing seasons, can eat the honeysuckle to the point where it will completely die out of the area and not grow back.
This process may take years, but if it goes well in the next few weeks, O’Connell hopes to bring the goats back.
While the goats are cute and anyone can admire them from outside the pen, officials ask that you not try to pet them. Their fence is electrified to keep them from getting out and to keep park-goers from getting in. The voltage is low enough to use without injury to animals as small as rabbits or chickens.
The goats are given a supplemental diet, in addition to the honeysuckle, so officials ask that you also do not feed them.
Both pens are in the thick brush behind the amphitheater and near the track field in Colerain Park.
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