New kids on the block! Prospect Park hires goats to eat weeds

New kids on the block! Prospect Park hires goats to eat weeds
Julie Larsen Maher

It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s goat to do it!

A crew of eight goats will eat its way through Prospect Park’s weeds and poison ivy over the next five months — an ideal summer gig for kids of all ages, according to the animals’ owner.

“They get to live the goat dream,” said Annlilita Cihanek, co-owner of Green Goats in upstate New York, which rents out its munching mammals as lawn mowers. “They get to eat for a living and they’re doing what they all wish they’d get to do.”

Rhinebeck’s team — which includes a mother-daughter duo and a pair of sisters — will graze near the Prospect Heights end of the park, in an area called the Vale of Cashmere, and will be separated from the public by an eight-foot construction fence.

The vexatious vegetation sprung up on the site after Hurricane Sandy knocked down around 50 trees in the area, according to Grace McCreight of the Prospect Park Alliance — the organization that maintains the park.

The Alliance is paying $15,000 to rent the hungry herd via a taxpayer-funded state grant aimed at cleaning up the 2012 superstorm’s mess.

The billies and nannies will have until October to scarf down the invasive species before Cihanek takes them back to the farm for the winter.

And McCreight is confident they are up to the challenge — goats eat about 25 percent of their body weight each day and can chew nonstop whenever they’re awake, she said.

To welcome the new residents to the neighborhood, the park will host a “bleat and greet” on May 22 — where local families can get to know the goats and their herder, and learn to make goat-milk ice-cream.

And Cihanek said her kids get along fine with the human kind — these goats love people, she said, and no butts about it.

“They’re very friendly, maybe a little too friendly,” she said. “A lot of times they’ll eat, and when they lay down and chew, they tend to lay right in front of where all the people are.”

Fun on the Farm at Lefferts Historic House (452 Flatbush Ave. near Empire Boulevard in Prospect Park, www.eventbrite.com/e/fun-on-the-farm-tickets-24521057142), May 22 from 1 to 4 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill