City Hires Goats to Mow the Lawns

A herd of endangered Turkmenian Markhor goats at the Bronx Zoo. (AP Photo/Wildlife )

Dozens of goats from a farm upstate were brought into Manhattan to feast on weeds, poison ivy, and others plants, the New York Post reported.

Twenty-four goats were brought into in Riverside Park on the Upper West Side to an excited crowd. The “Running of the Goats” attracted roughly 150 people, with children at the front, taking pictures as farm workers ran the goats into the park. Some goats stopped to raise themselves on their hind legs and nibble at the tree leaves.

Five of the goats will be spending the summer in the park, enjoying an all-you-can eat buffet of grass and plants. They will be mostly be focused on the weeds in the hilly north side of the park, which is difficult to access with gardening machinery.

Using farm animals for landscaping maintenance has historical precedent; Central Park’s Sheep Meadow gets its name from the practice.

A similar program takes place on Governor’s Island, though there, the grazing farm animals are five sheep. Like sheep, goats can maintain grass, are better for the environment, know to differentiate from unsightly weeds and pretty flowers, and are fun for visitors to watch.

“Since goats are naturally effective weed whackers, putting them to work in ‘Goatham’ is like treating them to an all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s healthy for the goats and it’s good for the environment,” said Dan Garodnick, president of the Riverside Park Conservancy.

The five goats who live in the park will be in a popularity contest, with the public voting on their favorite.

The program, which was previously put in place in 2019 but paused in 2020 due to the pandemic, has been successful. In 2019, four of the goats left early for overeating.


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