Goats are not the most diligent landscapers. At least, not in the city of Salem, Oregon, where officials are giving its caprine lawn mowers the boot, The Washington Post reports.
The city rented 75 goats last fall to munch their way through 9.1 acres of parkland filled with invasive plants, but the pilot didn’t work out quite as planned. While park visitors enjoyed seeing the farm animals roaming the park, the total cost of the six-week project came out to more than $20,000, according to Salem’s Statesman Journal—compared to the $3370 a human crew would have cost.
To make matters worse, the goats weren’t entirely helpful as landscapers. They ate up all the blackberry leaves, but didn’t chomp down on the thorny bramble, requiring a human clean-up crew to finish the job. They devoured the invasive species they were tasked with keeping at bay, but they also ate plenty of native wildlife, including tree bark. They were also overzealous about marking their new territory. While their poop helped fertilize the area, it also left a distinct barnyard scent in the air. While Salem is banishing its goat workers from city parks, the weed-eaters might still be used in the future for other landscaping projects.
Salem isn’t the only city testing out grazing landscapers. Goats, llamas, and sheep keep vegetation down at O’Hare International Airport. New Orleans has previously hired goats for its parks, and Boston recently expanded its program. You can even hire a team of goats from Amazon.
[h/t The Washington Post]