Apparently, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport has a problem with overgrown grass.
So instead of paying landscapers to mow the lawn with noisy equipment that’s bad for the environment, it has come up with a new solution: the airport has hired about 25 goats to graze on the grass and keep it trimmed.
The environmentally-conscious program was the brainchild of Central Commissary Holdings, LLC, a Chicago-based restaurant group, who won a two-year bid for $19,500, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Starting next month, the herd of goats will roam about 120 acres of the airport’s land, munching on grass and weeds. The herd should be able to clear about 250 square feet of grassy area a day.
But don’t worry: the goats won’t accidentally roam onto the runway. NBC reports that the goats will be “kept away from the airport airfield by security fencing and their munching will be restricted to sites that include hilly areas near creeks and streams and roadway right-of-ways.”
At night the goats will stay nearby in a transport trailer. That means that passengers at O’Hare likely won’t get to see the goats, except maybe when their planes are taking off or landing.
O’Hare touts the environmental benefits of using goats, saying that the program will reduce the use of lawnmowers and heavy equipment, provide an alternative to toxic herbicides, and naturally recycle nutrients as fertiliser.
“This initiative aligns with the CDA’s desire to implement aviation industry-leading sustainability initiatives that complement and promote the City of Chicago’s commitment to sustainability at Chicago’s airports,” said CDA Commissioner Rosemarie S. Andolino.
The airport is following the city of Paris’s cue. Last month, Paris decided to replace lawnmowers with sheep in some of its public parks.
Chicago is also not the first airport to employ farm animals as a landscaper. In 2008, Seattle-Tacoma International brought in goats to munch on weeds, and last year Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport employed about 100 sheep to graze on invasive plants, according to NBC.
Say goodbye to your gardener—these adorable farm animals may soon be the hot new landscapers.
Here’s a CNN video showing the goats at work:
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