For the past two weeks, goats have been cleaning up brush, poison ivy and poison oak at Big Rocks Park.
Last year the Glen Rose city council approved a proposal to hire Rent-A-Ruminant, a company that uses goats to rid properties of unwanted vegetation, to clean up the park.
“We rent goats primarily to cities and counties,” said Terry Carr, a team member of Rent-A-Ruminant. “We’ve become part of their arsenal equipment and personnel to keep the cities clean. We go where you can’t use chemicals so we do a lot of work on flood drainage, creek bottoms and rivers. Here in Glen Rose, the primary intent for the city was for us to clear out poison ivy and poison oak so that people can come in and take care of the wood debris that’s been left over from the floods.”
The goats cleared out six paths that were abandoned, but now open up to the creek.
Carr said his team has a herd of 100 at Big Rocks Park and they like to eat vines, briars, poison ivy, poison oak and basically “everything green.”
“The benefit to the city is we go where they cannot go with the mechanical or their employees,” he said. “One city said we saved them hundreds of dollars an hour in what it would cost their employees to go in there in a dangerous situation. This does not burn gas, it doesn’t take man power and they leave an environmentally clean trail.”
Carr said the goats are friendly and sociable.
“When I yell, ‘goaty, goaty,’ they come running to me,” he added.
Although the goats are friendly and not scared of people, Carr had to install an electric fence around the goats to keep them contained.
“We don’t allow people in there because if the goats have poison ivy or poison oak on it and a kid touches it, it’s going to get on the child,” he said.
Rent-A-Ruminant is heading into its fourth year of business and Carr says they are growing.
“We’ve not had any complaints. Everybody loves what we do and wants their cities to do more of it. It’s a growing enterprise. We’ll probably double our size next year,” he said.
For more information about Rent-A-Ruminant, visit http://www.rentaruminant.com/texas.html.