Goats are being used to clear overgrowth in order to provide a view of the river to the picnic areas behind State Mutual Stadium.
A crew of 10 Kiko goats was cut loose near one of the picnic areas spaced out on the trail behind the ballpark Tuesday. Rome Public Works Director Chris Jenkins hopes they will have a large area cleared to provide views of the river, perhaps even access to the riverbank for fishermen.
Ashley Lindsay of Glitzy Goats said the goats will clear any of the aggressive vines, briars and privet.
“They don’t eat grass and things like that. They’ll clear it out real well. All of this camouflage and treescape you see will be gone.”
Lindsay said they will eat the sweeter greenery first.
“Privet is sweet and honeysuckle is sweet so they kind of like eat the ice cream first so to speak,” Lindsay said. “Darker ivy, like English Ivy is a little more bitter for them.”
“It’ll probably be five to seven days for them to clear the area. It’s not an exact science,” Lindsay said. “They do know their job and they do work.”
The herd of 10 goats — led by mama Aretha — are protected between the trail and river by an electrified fence.
The fence is there just in case a predator, like a coyote, decides to show up along the trail.
“The fence is also there to keep the goats on task. They’ll eat all of this, whether they like it or not because they’re hungry,” said Lindsay.
Public Works Director Chris Jenkins explained that he’s hoping to create an even more attractive picnic area along one of the push-outs on the trail behind the stadium.
“This is a natural way of clearing back some of the vegetation,” Jenkins said. If the experiment works, he said the goats may be used to clear out several areas along the river all the way back to the Town Green downtown.
He said the kudzu covered landscape along the Kingfisher Trail is another area that might be a perfect spot for the goat crew to help clean out.
“We’ll constantly keep moving and testing locations. If we run into any problems we’ll make some adjustments,” he said.
Glitzy Goats is getting $8 per day per goats for the work.
“They get to eat and they sure seem to enjoy it,” Jenkins said.