By Nancy Hahn
If you live in Wheat Ridge, watch the news or read NextDoor, you have heard about Five Fridges Farms missing male goats: Wendell, Daryl and his other brother Darryl, Yoda and Creampuff.
Sometime between Dec. 30 and New Years Eve morning, the gate to their pen at the Kipling Trailhead Open Space was opened, and they haven’t been seen since. Volunteers and the Wheat Ridge Police have searched all along Clear Creek and the Greenbelt.
What is it that has made the entire community so concerned? Goats have distinct personalities and enjoy people. When they thought I wasn’t looking, my own children repeatedly shared their breakfast cereal with Mr. Stubbs, our first goat. He followed them to the bus stop. I’m sure teachers heard, “My goat ate my homework.”
Wheat Ridge has enjoyed many opportunities to get to know the goats from Five Fridges Farm. Five Fridges has shared their goats with the community for years. In 2017, Dr. Amanda Weaver of Five Fridges Farm was concerned about chemical weed killers being used beside 38th Avenue by the farm. As CU Denver Senior Instructor of Urban Geography, Weaver was concerned about finding safe, sustainable solutions. So, instead of the city using chemicals, the LaMancha male goats performed weed control along 38th. Then, the goats spent several weeks in a one-acre fenced area in Lewis Meadows Park.
Since that time the goats have worked throughout Wheat Ridge, around the Wheat Ridge Rec Center, and other areas around town. When they worked, visitors stopped by got to know them. This arrangement benefited everyone, Weaver explained: The goats enjoy eating the noxious weeds, and the weed seeds that pass through a goat will not sprout. The goats will, also, munch the grass down to about five inches.
Last August the community was invited to meet at Lewis Meadows Park to walk the goats home. The male goats had spent time again weeding and grass trimming. A big group of Wheat Ridge residents arrived. The gate was opened and a big mixed group of goats and people of all ages started walking home. They were a few younger goats that tended to wander. They had to wear leashes. Children, who needed a job, held their leashes. The goats enjoy people and were quite happy to follow along.
In September, the male goats walked to the Kipling Trailhead Open Space off 38th and Kipling Street. When the goats are penned they have goat houses, fresh water, lots of hay and lots of visitors.
Children talk to them and pass handfuls of grass and weeds through the fence. The goats know their names and are quite friendly.
A reward of $2,500 is being offered for information leading to the goats recovery. If you have any information you can call CrimeStoppers at 720-913-7867, text DMCS and your message to 274637, or go to MetroDenverCrimeStoppers.com/tip.