Video: Yes, Those are Goats Eating Plants at the Marshlands

The Conservancy is testing the goat approach as an alternative to frequent mowing and herbicide use.

Yum: These guys seem very happy to be helping trim plants at the Marshlands Conservancy. Photo Lois Wald
Published June 7, 2024 2:32 PM
2 min read

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They may seem a little gruff, but the goats at the Marshlands Conservancy this month are actually doing a service.

About 30 goats are grazing, munching, and snacking their way through a one-acre meadow that is keeping them in with an electric fence. The conservancy arranged to have them there until June 5 to eradicate invasive plants in an area that has lost part of its forest ecosystem to deer browsing.

The goats are devouring plants in an area where mammals, birds, butterflies, and insects love to eat, shelter and reproduce. The Conservancy is testing the goat approach as an alternative to frequent mowing and herbicide use.

The goats were provided by Fat and Sassy Goats, professional goat grazers who actively manage a herd of goats rented out to reduce undesirable vegetation. The cost was $10,000 for the week-long goat visit, paid for by the Friends of Marshlands. This was goats’ first visit, but an invitation is planned for next year too. Other customers of the goats are a park in New Rochelle and The Harvey School.

Marshlands is a native wildlife conservancy of 147 acres, including three miles of hiking trails and 1-1/2 miles of shoreline in Rye nestled above Milton Harbor. It is a watershed area and an inlet of Long Island Sound with five distinct habitats (forest, meadow, salt marsh, seashore and pond) that are designated as critical habitats and bioreserves for the preservation of species. It is owned and operated by the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation. It is between 240 and 220 Boston Post Road, Rye, open dawn to dusk year-round.

The Friends of Marshlands is an all-volunteer, 300-member, nonprofit dedicated to the protection, preservation, and enhancement of the area, and to fostering a deeper understanding of nature and our role in it.

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