OKC Buys Goats After Successful Pilot Program

Wednesday, November 4th 2015, 6:57 pm
By: News 9

A herd of goats hired by Oklahoma City to eat away high grass at the Hefner canal are done with their duties for the year.

The program was so successful, the city bought their own goats instead of borrowing them again next year.

The city just bought 24 new goats at a livestock auction for $3,800.

It’s an all-female herd except for one male, and the goats can breed to build a sustainable herd to continue maintaining the canal.

The goat purchase came after a successful year-long program using Langston University goats.

“The project was so successful, the goats did a great job of clearing the canal, that we decided to conduct our own goat program,” said Debbie Ragan with the City of Oklahoma City.

The goats graze along the Hefner Canal, helping to clear the areas that are difficult to mow. 

“Goats are sure-footed, that's what they do and they can do it very well without injuring themselves,” Ragan told News 9.

The goats are also a green way to clear the green, a non-polluting solution compared to commercial mowers.

“It's like dessert to them,” Ragan explained.

A fenced in area at Lake Stanley Draper is the goat's winter home.

The Utilities Department will take care of them until it is time to get back to work on the canal in the spring, picking up where the Langston goats left off.

“Goats don't require a lot of hands on management, provide them brush and weeds to eat and they are generally pretty healthy,” said Steve Hart, a Langston University research scientist.

Two goats, two sheep and two donkeys adopted from OKC’s Animal Welfare are also part of the crew.

“We did something different and everyone bought into it and enjoyed it and it's something we are going to do going forward,” Ragan said.

Goats also eat poison ivy and red cedar trees that are a big nuisance in Oklahoma.

Starting next year, the goats are going to eat red cedars in the Oklahoma City area.

Langston University is also using its goats to work with the cities of Guthrie and Stillwater.