Chicago restaurant owner places bid on O’Hare goats contract - FOX 32 News Chicago

Chicago restaurant owner places bid on O’Hare goats contract

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

What started as a seemingly crazy idea about goats at O'Hare, has turned into a bidding battle between goat-lovers nationwide.

Larry Cihanek of upstate New York is one of 11 people who responded to a Chicago Department of Aviation request for bids to supply 30 goats and a goat herder to eat the vegetation in a remote and rocky patch of land at the airport's perimeter. The bids range between $19,000 and $180,000.

"I don't want to sound silly or overconfident, but I can't imagine why I wouldn't get the bid," Cihanek said.

Cihanek, like some of the other bidders, is a professional goat farmer, whose animals are used to control weeds at a Staten Island park just miles from Manhattan. He says that means his goats are airport-ready.

"So they're used to people, dogs, cars backfiring, sounds on the bridge and airplanes…they seem to be very adaptable."

Douglas Giebel grew up herding sheep in Argentina. Now, he runs a huge Burr Ridge indoor landscaping company that's busy preparing for the holiday season.

He says he bid on the O'Hare grazing contract because he needs to do something with flock of sheep he keeps s pets at a suburban farm.

"I bought two sheep, then three," Giebel explained. "Then they started reproducing and I had about 60 of them…and now I don't know what to do with them."

The lowest bid at $19,500 from right here in Lincoln Park might also be the most intriguing. It comes from Butcher & the Burger--a high-concept hamburger restaurant that also offers fresh meat and butchering classes. They already keep a small stable of livestock at a farm outside Chicago.

If they win the O'Hare bid, will goat burgers be on the menu?

"As far as the goats go, 99% of the goats are gonna be there to keep, to graze, to enlarge the herd and to use for milk," says Butcher & the Burger owner Al Sternweiler. "Occasionally we might have a goat that we might use for consumption. But that's not the goal right now."

The city's goal is to pick the winning bidder within the next couple weeks, so that we may see goats grazing at O'Hare before winter sets in.

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