Grazing herd will lend a hoof to O’Hare landscaping efforts

SHARE Grazing herd will lend a hoof to O’Hare landscaping efforts

Goats graze along a creek on O’Hare property.

The newest workers at O’Hare Airport don’t mind working long days outside clearing brush – and they probably wouldn’t mind a scratch behind the ears either.

Thirty-seven goats, sheep, llamas and burros are set to arrive at O’Hare in the coming weeks to eat away vegetation from more than 120 acres of hard-to-maintain property, the Department of Aviation said in a statement.

The animals will graze in supervised locations away from the airfield or separated by security fencing, the department said. The hilly areas along creeks and stretches near roadways are overcrowded with dense scrub vegetation, and are hard to maintain with traditional landscaping equipment.

Llamas, sheep and burros are also part of the O’Hare herd.

The grazing herd program first started at the Northwest Side airport in 2013, when animals cleared five acres of dense vegetation, noxious weeds and poison ivy – a treat that the animals apparently found delicious, the department said.

The herd is being expanded this year to include 11 more animals than before, the statement said. All of the animals come from Settlers Pond, an animal rescue facility in south suburban Beecher.

New this year is a partnership with the 4HYouth Program at the University of Illinois Extension in St. Charles, which will have students help care for rescue animals at Settlers Pond, the statement said.

USDA Wildlife biologists who work at O’Hare year-round will measure the results and benefits of the grazing herd, the statement said. The herd will remain at O’Hare until cold weather hampers their access to the vegetation.

The Latest
The Tokyo Series could feature 2024 All-Stars Shohei Ohtani and Shota Imanaga.
The Cubs went into the break on a high note, but can they carry that momentum to the trade deadline?
The season opener will be March 27 at home against the Angels.
The Sox’ No. 23-ranked prospect is batting .324 between Double-A and Triple-A.