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 Storm exposed the inconsistency of the Sky’s defense, beating them 111-100 at Wintrust Arena in Bird’s final regular-season game in Chicago.
The awards recognize “journalism that best covers the Black experience or addresses issues affecting the worldwide Black community.”
The Cubs claimed Reyes off waivers from the Guardians and optioned Frank Schwindel to Triple-A Iowa to clear space on the active roster.
The start of the new school year is an opportunity to recommit ourselves to those efforts. A recent report by the Illinois State Board of Education found roughly 5,300 unfilled positions at Illinois schools, including more than 1,000 openings at CPS.