August 16, 2013
O'Hare airport's latest acquisition isn't a new runway or a futuristic terminal - it's a noisy barnyard band of about two dozen goats, sheep, llamas and burros.
They're mission: to mow the grass. Lots of it.
The sheep and their furry friends made their debut Tuesday in a brush-clearing operation. Under the mid-afternoon sun, they happily munched grass, seemingly oblivious to the roar of jets taking off and the jostling of a gaggle of news photographers and television reporters that outnumbered the animals.
One of the goals of the program is to rid the airfield of habitat for birds and other wildlife that can present a serious hazard to departing and landing aircraft. They'll also be used to clear hilly areas that are hard to navigate with traditional mowing equipment.
So where does an airport find a herd of goats?
The wanted ad got a lively response from interested herders and set off a bidding war. Central Commissary Holdings LLC, which cares for a small grazing herd outside the city, won the contract that totals just less than $20,000 for two years.
Reprinted in part from the Daily Journal