Posts Tagged ‘goats’

The comings and goings of the Parkway goats

Posted on Wednesday 19th December 2018 at 11:29 pm by Laura Mortimore

Photo of goats grazing near the Hunts Ground Road park & ride site behind Parkway Station.

The placement of a herd of goats next to the park & ride site on Hunts Ground Road behind Bristol Parkway Station has brought joy to many members of the local community since January 2018. Members of the public have enjoyed seeing them grow, taking them food and seeing them return after they went to Goblin Combe (by Bristol Airport) during spring.

Street Goat logo.

The goats have made a huge impact on the grassland by clearing the brambles and encouraging wildlife to flourish. The goats were initially introduced as part of a project to increase the population of the small blue butterfly, an insect which has been declining over recent years and is classified as a ‘priority species’ in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. This species of butterfly feeds solely on a wildflower called kidney vetch which grows at the site near the car park. With the goats clearing the brambles and shrubs, this makes way for more kidney vetch to grow which will then hopefully increase the numbers of small blue butterflies.

Sally Pattison, who has been working on this project, said:

“From a wildlife point of view I want the goats to eat as much as possible and help restore the site to special wildflower-rich grassland. The kidney vetch is the all-important plant and I planted 150 plug plants of this with some volunteers last month within special fenced areas. The kidney vetch is the only overwintering site of the rare small blue butterfly and by working with national charities Buglife and Butterfly Conservation we are hoping to get the habitat condition just right.”

Over the last few months the number of goats at the site near Parkway has changed as new goats have arrived and others have left to go and graze elsewhere or were taken away to be used for their meat. The female goat, Betty, and the kids went out to Goblin Combe when four billies came back to the site in September. In November, one billy went to Grimsbury Farm and the other three were used for their meat. That has left the two youngest billies at the site to continue grazing.

All goats will definitely have been removed by the end of January »

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Return of the Parkway goats!

Posted on Tuesday 31st July 2018 at 1:55 pm by Laura Mortimore

The seven goats grazing near Parkway station.

A herd of goats that were brought to graze behind the Park and Ride car park on Hunts Ground Road over winter and spring 2017/18 have returned to the same site.

South Gloucestershire Council has once again teamed up with local community group Street Goat to provide an area for the goats to graze. The six goats were moved to Goblin Combe by the airport in April but as they worked their way through the vegetation, it was time to find them a new place to thrive. Carol Laslett, one of the workers from Street Goat, said:

“Goblin Combe is a great site but the goats are excellent escape artists and have wandered further and further as the search for tree leaves at eating height continued! Three of them had some sort of vegetation poisoning in May time and they were lucky to get treatment and survive. So, after visiting Parkway site, it seemed prime time to get them back to where there is food in abundance for them.”

In the coming weeks, the six goats will be joined by a further four to eight goats, depending on the impact the six have made on the brambles that are currently covering the site. The new goats will hopefully include some male kids from Grimsbury Farm and the return of Betty, who had to be removed from Parkway last winter to be cared for through her pregnancy. She will hopefully be returning soon with her own kid.

The goats should be staying at the grazing site until September when they will be taken away and used for their meat. Carol explains the process:

“These goats are mainly the bi-product of the dairy industry where male kids are killed at birth, being of no use in a dairy! We are able to use a few for conservation grazing so they get a good 9 to 15 months life and then they become a meat resource for us. Their meat is better nutritionally than beef!”

More: Feeding advice for members of the public »

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