Goats get a mouthful and more at Nahant Marsh

Nature comes alive at Nahant Marsh in Davenport. That’s where they measure the season’s sounds in chirps.

But this year, there’s something else to sample.

“Where’s the food?” said Brittany Acklerland. “Where’s the food?”

Turns out, a herd of goats is taking a bite out of weeds and helping to restore the sand prairie.

“There was tall poison ivy, garlic mustard, grape vine, everything,” remembered Research Coordinator Victoria Green.

These are hungry hoofers on a mission. They’re clearing the marsh of bad stuff. It’s a regular four-legged feast.

“They just kind of look at you, and they want to eat,” said Acklerland. “That’s it.”

William, with the floppy ears, is the galloping gourmet of goats. He guides these visiting eating machines from Wisconsin.

“They all like him a lot,” Ackerland continued. “He’s kind of the leader.”

Two dozen diners munch and crunch non-stop. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet, 24-7.

“They’re mowing down in there,” Acklerand said.

It’s really amazing stuff. The goats can eat in a day what it would take a crew weeks to clear.

That allows staffers to step in when the dining is done. The goats ate through ten acres in just over two weeks.

“I love it because it makes my job tons easier,” Acklerland said.

This three-year project offers new lessons about nature. Along with the menu choices, it’s a strategy designed to help the sand prairie to prosper.

“It could cause some of the plants to come up better,” Ackerland said.

“They’re doing a great job of clearing this stuff out,” Green concluded.

At Nahant Marsh, they don’t mind working for weeds.