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Goats in the city - Sustainable vegetation removal

Published on 02 May 2022
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If you wander to the rear of the Aquahub carpark, you may hear the clip-clop of hooves in the retarding basin. A herd of Boer goats are currently feasting on blackberries, the bulbs of onion weed and a tangled assortment of other problem plants in a managed weed control program.

Goats naturally eat weeds and are an environmentally-friendly and sustainable way to remove undesirable vegetation without the use of herbicides. They are also able to reach areas that machinery and people cannot.

The goats are managed by Colin Arnold from GrazeAway, who noticed the goat’s love for weeds and other pest plants while tending to a large property. 

“When I saw how goats ate and killed blackberries on a large-scale at a property I was managing, I knew they could be an effective tool as an alternative to herbicide,” Colin said.

Colin has over 70 goats scattered across Melbourne in varying herd sizes, from as small as four goats to as large as 30 goats.

“There are many benefits of having goats control weeds over chemicals. Goats are quite selective; their favourite things to eat are woody weeds and will often target weeds over some native species. They are quiet, very efficient and extremely effective. The community benefits as well; everyone loves goats,” laughed Colin.

Councillor Tasa Damante of the Wicklow Ward is proud of the unconventional ways Council is working to sustainably manage weed control.

“As part of ensuring a green and sustainable future for our community, we are always looking for sustainable ways to manage our natural reserves.

“It’s great to see the goats enjoying themselves in the retarding basin; I look forward to seeing them next time I visit Aquahub!” Cr Damante said.

The goats will be enjoying the weed buffet at the Croydon Retarding Basin until June.

Goats in a paddock
Goats at Rocky's Paddock,


Regenerating open spaces - Rocky’s Paddock

Over the last 10 years, Rocky’s Paddock has undergone significant restoration using goats as weed control.

When the goats first arrived, the paddock’s boundary was infested with weeds, the tangled biomass unable to be removed manually or by machine.

The goats ate their way through the substantial blackberry and environmental weeds, allowing access to the once impenetrable area.

Natives were then strategically planted to aid in regeneration. The natives encouraged further growth of indigenous plants and for wildlife to return.

Now, Rocky’s paddock is a completely regenerated space, with the goats visiting periodically to ‘pulse graze’ and maintain the environment without the need for herbicides. 

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