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Goats can replace herbicides and machinery in weed management

Goats on the job at the Superior Water Treatment Plant in Boulder County
Sam Fuqua
/
KGNU
Goats on the job at the Superior Water Treatment Plant in Boulder County

Many Colorado communities are using goats for weed control. In Boulder County, one herd of approximately 300 goats is currently grazing at the water treatment plan in Superior.

Jordan and Toni Sarazen, the owners of Goat Bros, are there with their flock. They provide goats for grazing as a land management tool for fire mitigation and weed control.

The goats also help rejuvenate pastures. Jordan considers the goats as multitaskers.

“Goats are really just one of the best tools for land management because they're doing 15 different things at once,” he said.

Jordan and his wife, Toni, have about 300 Spanish goats and Boer goats that they use for one project. The goats are eating the vegetation on the ground and in return recycling that with 100 percent organic matter. Then trampling that back into the soil, feeding those microbes, feeding the native vegetation promoting a healthy ecosystem.

They’re reducing the fire fuel load and turning all this dry matter into their manure, which is significantly less flammable and creates fire breaks to protect a community. And what’s not on the ground, goats can take care of, too.

“We'll see vegetation that is not just on the ground, but also goes up. And so the goats are unique in that space because they can get on their hind legs and clear vegetation anywhere from the ground up to six feet high,” Jordan said.

Part of the herd owned by Jordan and Toni Sarazen, the owners of Goat Bros.
Sam Fuqua
/
KGNU
Part of the herd owned by Jordan and Toni Sarazen, the owners of Goat Bros.

Goats are not picky. They'll eat just about anything, and left alone, they will eat everything down to the dirt. So, that’s where Jordan and Toni come into play.

They travel all around Colorado with their goats, staging in their fifth-wheel trailer. This way they can monitor what the goats are grazing, and how often they're grazing, and move them in these sectioned-off electric fences for targeted grazing.

The fence also helps keep predators out. They set up this fence anywhere, from one to four times a day, depending on the project’s goal.

The Sarazens host a lot of community events for people to come out and learn about the goats and the work that they're doing. The couple says they love their goats for the work that they do because the goats are not in production.

“We don't sell them for meat. We don't do milk or cheese. Their full-time job is land management,” Toni said. “And that's also our job. So, they're born with us and they die with us.”

Copyright 2024 KGNU.

This story was shared via Rocky Mountain Community Radio, a network of public media stations in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico including KDNK.

Sam Fuqua