Goats are fun creatures, providers of milk, cheese, and meat, and also simply petting experiences. Apparently, they can even be rented out as lawn-mowing weed controllers, eating unruly plants where pesticides would otherwise be used. And certain parks in New York City are getting goats on contract to meet that need, as Olga Oksman reports for The Guardian:
Overexcited children and reporters mill around the fence enclosing part of the Prospect Park woodlands. “Daddy, daddy, look!” one eager little boy yells. Everyone is craning their necks, raising their cameras to get a shot. The latest celebrities to grace Brooklyn are a group of eight weed-eating goats, and they are taking up residency through the end of the summer.
Later this week, Prospect Park has arranged a wine and cheese reception so the public can formally meet the goats, which range from Nubian to Angora and Pygmy breeds. Tickets have already sold out.
While the press photographers jockey for space with toddlers, the goats seem unfazed by the attention, posing for photos or placidly dozing off in sunny spots on the hill.
The impeccable behavior of the goats is no accident. The goats have to represent us in public, says Ann Cihanek – who owns the goats with her husband, Larry.
The Cihaneks run Green Goats from their farm in Rhinebeck, New York, which rents goats for weed control in steep or difficult to weed areas. Goats naturally like weeds such as poison ivy, and a single goat can eat up to 25 pounds of roughage a day, Cihanek says. The goats provide a chemical-free weed removal service with no negative environmental impact. The Cihaneks have a number of clients, and the best behaved goats get to weed the historic Vanderbilt mansion in Hyde Park, New York, Cihanek says.
The goats will live in Prospect Park until around September, with the Cihanek’s coming down to visit them at least twice a week. Visitors will get the chance to see the goats busy at work, though they will always be behind a fence to keep them munching on the areas that need weed clearance only.
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