Grazing goats on the job in Meadowbrook

Goats selectively target invasive weeds and chow down

The 33 goat herd is in Meadowbrook this week.

There are goats doing their part for invasive weed control in the Meadowbrook area, and possibly even in Kimberley itself next year.

The 33-goat herd is under the direction of Cailey Chase with Rocky Ridge Vegetation Control out of Kamloops. Rocky Ridge owners Conrad and Donna Lindblom have provided the herd to Chase to provide targeted grazing in the Kimberley area.

Targeted grazing is key, Chase says.

“Not just any goat will do,” she said. “Goats will eat everything, but the Rocky Ridge goats have been trained. It’s taken 20 years to build the herd to target invasives. It’s a whole system developed by Conrad and Donna.”

Chase says the Rocky Ridge herd is gaining recognition. A program will be beginning at BCIT to teach this type of targeted grazing. The Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops has contracted the Lindblom’s to teach their unique target grazing method in the new Sustainable Range Management Program Fall 2017.

Currently, Chase has the herd out in Meadowbrook.

“Right now we are at Sandra Loewen’s property doing some brushing.”

Brushing is not as targeted as grazing invasive weeds but the goats are naturals at it as they eat anything with a broad leaf.

The goats have also been at several Meadowbrook properties eating knapweed.

“The interest has been amazing,” she said. “The Meadowbrook Community Association allowed us to put an ad in their newsletter. These people are quite aware of invasive weeds and we got a great response. Lots of people are asking me to come and look at their property.”

No matter which way you choose to treat invasive weeds — spraying with herbicides or with goat grazing — it needs to be repeated for about three years to get a good grip on the problem.

Chase is pleased by response from private landowners and also from larger entities in Kimberley.

While Council has not hired Chase yet to use the goats in Kimberley, she has been asked to come up with a proposal including costs. The Kimberley Alpine Resort has also expressed interest.

“It’s very forward thinking of the ski hill and city to even consider goats,” she said.

Asked what parts of town might be a good fit with the goats, she said there were many.

“Forest Crowne would be one and the gravel pit below Forest Crowne. Invasive weeds grow on disturbed ground and with Kimberley being an old mining town there is a lot of disturbed ground. There’s a good patch of knapweed in Lois Creek, near the water tower at the top of Townsite, around Mark Creek, and all kinds of lots around town. On the ski hill, the T-Bar and bottom of the main have a lot of knapweed.

In any event, the herd will be staying in the area over the winter and are available to work.

“During the summer, they are always working. Right now we do have to move them in a horse trailer, but my dream would be to have enough work that we could move them job to job on land. You could start in the lower areas like Wycliffe and gradually move them higher.

If you are interested in learning more about the goat grazing or would like to have the herd on your property, call Cailey at 250-602-9123.