‘Munch a Bunch’ Goats Doing a Great Job In Sun Forest Greenbelt
Public Works Director
Lake Wildwood is testing the use of goats to lower the vegetation load so we can see the dead trees, logs, branches, etc.
This is a very effective and environmentally safe alternative to building roads and bringing in large equipment to deal with the brambles, berry bushes and thickets.
The first test of this method (see photos) will be the upper greenbelt on Sun Forest. The goats are here and the local residents are enthusiastically helping with the evaluation of the process.
One of the main concerns is the use of one or more guard dogs to protect the goats from local predators. This may include barking at those animals and humans approaching the goats at any time during the day or night.
The other side of this issue is the barking of residents’ dogs at the goats or guards.
There are several critical rules that must be observed for this to be successful:
Rule 1: Don’t feed the goats Anything! It is a common misconception that goats will eat anything. This is not true. Goats are very selective about the plants they eat and will avoid the most toxic. Half of the goats in another herd were killed when a neighbor decided to feed the goats their lawn clippings. There was oleander (a highly toxic plant) mixed with the clippings and it poisoned the goats.
Rule 2: Don’t touch the fence. The portable netting used to keep the goats contained uses an energizer to send a mild electrical pulse through the fence, giving a momentary “shock” when touched. The energizers are designed to be safe and cannot start a fire.
Rule 3: Don’t tease or feed the livestock guarding dog. To keep the goats safe from predators the herder uses a Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dog, who stays with the flock at all times. He is bonded to the flock and will protect them with his life. He likes people but can be stressed when strangers get too close.
If you have children, please tell them they can observe the animals as much as they want but don’t attempt to interact with dog or the goats.
Rule 4: Report any violations to the first three rules to Lake Wildwood Security. Security has my phone numbers and will relay all reports to the appropriate individuals managing the targeted grazing operation.
If you follow these rules, we should all have a very enjoyable and educational experience.
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