Goats and sheep are roaming Elk Grove grasslands. Here’s why and how to check them out

Livestock are back, roaming open spaces throughout Elk Grove until the end of June.

Each year, a herd of 7,000 sheep graze and goats tend to the grass with their kids, or baby goats, in creeks and channels throughout the city, clear vegetation grow during the wet season to cut down on wildfire dangers.

Elk Grove Deputy City Manager Kara Reddig said the city chooses to use domesticated animals as opposed to traditional weed abatement methods like heavy equipment, herbicides and weed abatement approaches.

“There is a herder that’s with them that has a specific area that they eat in and then moves on from that area based on if the vegetation has gone down,” Reddig said. “So they systematically move along a creek or a channel based on how much of the weeds are left to eat.”

The city partners with Integrazers, a grazing management contractor that provide the livestock to feast on the unwanted growth. According to an Integrazers YouTube video, the herd enjoys snacking on dandelions, thistle and yellow woodsorrel.

“The city of Elk Grove tries to accomplish (weed abatement) in a green way,” Reddig said. “With the use of goats and sheep, we’re reducing the need for manual removal or mechanical means of removing weeds in our creeks and channels.”

According to the city’s website, the livestock will eat away nearly 2 to 4 acres of vegetative space per day.

There are plenty of benefits of the city’s grazing management with goats and sheep, Reddig said.

“It’s ecologically balanced and cost-effective,” she said. “It helps with improved vegetation on water banks. It helps reduce soil erosion, improves air and water quality. And it has less impact on fish and wildlife habitats than a mechanical means of removing weeds.”

Can I go see the animals?


According to the city, people can take a gander at the sheep and goats that are hard at work.

“Kids are always out kind of along the path where they are,” Reddig said. “I think it’s just another added benefit of something for families to go look at. Kids and families love to track where they are and go out and say hi. I have a creek behind me and my kids are always out when they’re there behind my house. They love it.”

Can I pet them?

No, visitors should not approach, touch or try to feed the animals, and residents should not approach fences too closely, city officials cautioned, because Integrazers use electric fencing and herding dogs to protect the livestock.

“While the herding dogs are friendly,” the city’s website said. “When the fencing is up, they are there to guard the herd. Please do not try and touch the fence or pet the herd or dogs.”

How to track them?

Those who want to see where the animals are currently grazing can check out the interactive map created by the city’s geographic information systems, or GIS, team.

Source: City of Elk Grove