Wanted: 1 goat herder, 30 goats at O’Hare Int’l Airport - FOX 32 News Chicago

Wanted: 1 goat herder, 30 goats at O’Hare Int’l Airport: EXCLUSIVE

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

There aren't many places you'd associate with goats in Chicago besides the Lincoln Park zoo, The Billy Goat Tavern, and of course, that infamous curse at Wrigley Field.

Soon, you might be able to add O'Hare International Airport to that list.

Fox Chicago has learned the Chicago Department of Aviation recently put out a bid looking for someone to supply goats to graze on the grass and brush at O'Hare. It also calls for a goat herder.

It might seem crazy, but O'Hare wouldn't be the first place to try it. Atlanta's airport began using goats just this week and San Francisco has been doing it for years. And Seattle tried it, but quickly scrapped the plan.

"This area over here is very heavily vegetated as you can see from the aerial photograph," says Amy Malick, the point person for sustainability at the department of aviation.

She says the city is looking at a pilot program of getting 30 goats to eat the grass and weeds in one, hard-to-mow area just east of Mannheim.

"They may have steep slopes, very hard to get to with heavy machinery, and those machines also emit pollution," Malick explains. "They're burning fossil fuel. So as a sustainability initiative we're looking to bring in animals that do not have emissions associated with them, at least to the same extent that heavy machinery would."

Malick says the goats would be outside the security fence surrounding the airport so there's no chance they'd wander onto the runways.

Fox Chicago asked passengers at O'Hare what they thought about airport goats.

"I'm from Ohio and we had some exotic animals that ran crazy a couple years back," one passenger says.

"I think that's a pretty cool idea," says another passenger. "My favorite place in the Wisconsin dells is that restaurant that has the goats on the roof. So that would be pretty neat to have goats going around."

The city says they've already received enthusiastic responses from a couple goat farmers interested in the bid, which is capped at $100,000. If all goes well, the goat grazing could be expanded to other areas of the airport. Just keep them away from Wrigley field.

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