Goats, Sheep Begin Grazing at O'Hare Airport

City of Chicago awarded a contract to trim airport grass using farm animals

O'Hare International Airport finally got its goats.

The city of Chicago on Monday set free a herd of animals to begin "landscaping" 120 acres on O’Hare property. The herd consists of goats, sheep, llamas and burros which will chew through hilly areas of scrub brush that's hard to maintain with regular equipment.

Don't worry about animals on the runway, though. All sites are away from the area or separated by fencing, the city said.

Chicago officials last year put out a bid for at least 25 goats or sheep and a shepherd to trim the grass at O'Hare as part of a pilot program designed to naturally control vegetation and decrease landscaping costs.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office announced in May the Chicago Department of Aviation planned to award a contract to Chicago-based Central Commissary Holdings, LLC, to allow animals to graze on airport grounds.

The contract expires at the end of 2014, the city said, and pays a maximum of $100,000.

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