Goat herd hired by Naperville Park District to devour weeds

September 25, 2013 3:28:21 PM PDT
Are the weeds out of control in your yard or your neighbor's yard? Well, you might not need a more powerful lawnmower. You just might need a herd of goats.

Tall grass, shrubs, giant weeds: Are they getting your goat? If so, maybe you better invest in a herd of goats. That's what's happening in the Naperville Park District's Knock Knolls Park. Five acres of overgrown parkland are now under attack by some four legged, bearded invaders from Wisconsin.

"We hired 45 goats to come in and help us eradicate invasive species from Knock Knolls Park. We have a lot of multi floral rose, poison ivy, buckthorn and goats love to eat those plants," said Peggy Pelkonen, project manager, Naperville Park District.

Naperville rented the animals from Green Goats Farm in southern Wisconsin. And it's all about clearing this land for a future disc or Frisbee gold course. They will be here for four weeks eating everything in sight. But don't worry, they can't get out and you can't get in.

"We have an electric fence surrounding the five acres to protect the goats and to protect the people," said Pelkonen.

Why goats? Well, they're very efficient. Each one clears about 350 square feet a day and they work up to 12 hours a day. And then there's the fertilizer.

"The goats eat our invasive species and the output is organic fertilizer for the soil. Great fertilizer," said Pelkonen.

Goats, by the way, are not allergic to poison ivy and they love it so much they almost climb trees to get at it. Bushes, branches, grasses-- anything that gets in their way, they devour it. They're environmentally friendly and much cheaper than a crew of men with machinery.

"The goats cost under $5,000 to clear five acres for four weeks. And, humans, if we were to hire men to do it would cost over $10,000," said Pelkonen.

So they work for peanuts or in this case poison ivy and buckthorn.


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