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The goats are baaack on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail

The Trail Conservancy and Rent-a-Ruminant partnered to bring a herd of 150 goats to help clear noxious plants, like poison ivy.

At least eight goats eat the leaves off a plant at the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail.

The goats will be on the trail 24/7 and have handlers cleaning up after them.

Photo by ATXtoday

The goats are back on the trail. We repeatthe goats are back on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail.

In partnership with vegetation management company Rent-a-Ruminant, The Trail Conservancy released a herd of 150 goats this week to alleviate poison ivy and invasive plant overgrowth.

Why goats?

A sign reading "Poison ivy alert. Avoid contact."

When in doubt, remember the saying “leaves of three, let it be.”

Photo by ATXtoday

In short, goats love to eat. Not only are they hungry, they are also surefooted enough to get to hard-to-reach areas and provide an eco-friendly way to clear dense, unwanted brush. Don’t worry — workers monitor and clean up after them.

According to The Trail Conservancy’s Park Operations Director, Grady Reed, the organization manages 110 unmowed acres. The goats not only make it safer by clearing poison ivy, they also help contractors target and control regrowth of invasive plants.

This is not the first time the goats have hit the trail — the Rent-a-Ruminant goats made their ATX debut last July to kick off the pilot program and worked 15 acres.

How can I see the goats?

a white goat with brown spots in the sunshine eating leaves off a tree

The Rent-a-Ruminant goats have also made appearances in Houston and San Antonio.

Gif by ATXtoday

The herd will work along the area between I-35 and the Longhorn Dam through Thursday, May 9. After that, Reed said the goats will be back this summer, around August.

It’s important to note that the goats are covered in poison ivy, which doesn’t impact their skin, but it could give you a rash. Coupled with the fact that you’re a stranger to the goats, The Trail Conservancy asks that you don’t touch the goats and watch them from a safe distance.

How can I help The Trail conservancy?

If you like seeing the goats and want to see them come back, you can contribute to funding their visits through the “Adopt a Goat” program for $20-$250 per month. Otherwise, The Trail Conservancy offers 80+ volunteer opportunities.

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