Kid nap! Prospect Park goats away on month-long vacation!

Nature’s lawn mower: One of the Prospect Park gots keeps the foliage at bay.
Photo by Paul Martinka

They goat away, but they’ll bleat back!

Prospect Park’s four-legged lawn mowers have literally eaten themselves out of a job, demolishing all the weeds they were supposed to spend four months gobbling down in only two.

Now they’re back home on their farm, but fans won’t have to say goodbye for good — the woolly weed-whackers will return to the park sometime in August, where they’ll remain until the growing season ends around the beginning of October, according to their agent.

“They’ll be back within four to six weeks, and the objective is too keep the goats eating until the end of the growing season,” said Larry Cihanek, who co-owns the goat leasing Green Goats business with his wife Annlilita.

The goats have been banished while the unwanted foliage regrows — which may sound counterintuitive, but Cihanek says the process will use up the remainder of the plants’ nutrient stores, so that when the goats return and eat the weeds for a second time, the plants will become weak and die out over the winter.

The city contracted eight of Cihanek’s billies to start nibbling away at the various unwanted shrubs sprouting in the park’s steep Vale of Cashmere section in May, but determining the appropriate number of goats for any given job is more art than science, and it would appear a few kids too many were herded in to curtail the weeds, he said.

“We outran the vegetation and they ate it all,” said Cihanek.

The parks’ gardeners won’t be the only ones delighted to see the goats return next month — in addition to acting as an all-natural herbicide, the animal laborers have become a big draw for visitors, who turned out in droves to welcome the bleating bush-eaters in May, according to a spokeswoman for the outfit that maintains the green space.

“We’ve seen a wonderful response to the goats,” said Prospect Park Alliance spokeswoman Grace McCreight.

The goats won’t be working between now and August, but it wouldn’t be right to characterize their downtime as a vacation — as Cihanek tells it, they have never really worked a day in their lives.

“They’re on a permanent vacation, because they either eat the bushes, or we feed them,” he said. “They have a great life. We’re the ones that don’t get a vacation.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Here’s looking at you, kid: Prospect Park’s four-legged lawnmowers have eaten themselves out of a job.
Photo by Paul Martinka

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