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Goats at work in the city

 
 
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 11:29 am
http://www.ladowntownnews.com/articles/2008/09/15/news/09-15-08-news01.txt


Amazing Grazing

No Kidding, Downtown Had Goats

About 100 goats were let loose on the brush on Angels Knoll last Monday. They finished their work on Friday, about a week sooner than originally expected. Photo by Gary Leonard.
by Richard Guzman

DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - There was no case of "the Mondays" with the herd of new Downtown employees on Sept. 8 as they ran to their first day of work in the shadow of Bunker Hill.

They don't make much money, only about $2 a day each. The hours are long, as many as 18 a day. On the other hand, the fringe benefits are good: There is no commute, and they get to eat all day, as much as they want.

About 100 South African Boer goats joined the Downtown workforce last week after being hired by the Community Redevelopment Agency to clear away overgrown brush and grass on Angels Knoll the natural way - by eating it.

"This is going to cost us less than what we typically would pay for clearance of brush and it's environmentally friendly," said Cecilia Estolano, CEO of the CRA.

"It's a lot of fun to see a flock of 100 goats," she added, then quickly corrected herself. "No, not a flock. They're a herd of 100 goats. You can tell I'm an urban kid. But it's a lot of fun to see a herd of 100 goats in Downtown Los Angeles on Bunker Hill on a Monday morning."

The goats come from Ranchito Tivo Boer Goat (ranchito means farm in Spanish) in Chino, where George Gonzales and his wife Liz, a veterinarian, tend to a flock, no, wait, a herd, of about 350 South African goats. Being voracious eaters of just about anything, including poison oak and canter bean plants, the goats can eat for approximately 18 hours a day. Although they were originally scheduled to stay about two weeks, they ended up finishing early, and left Downtown Friday at noon.

Hiring a human crew to clear the land of brush would have cost the city about $7,500, but the goats did it for only $3,000, Estolano said. With the weeds and growth gone, the land is slated for a future office development as the last stage of the California Plaza project. But with that unlikely to occur anytime soon, the goats may be back again the next time brush needs to be cleared.

The goats worked and lived on Angels Knoll, the 2.6-acre hill that separates the Historic Core from Bunker Hill near Fourth and Hill streets (it is next to the shuttered Angels Flight railway). They slept there in a fenced area under the watchful eye of a security guard who was on site 24 hours a day.

The guard made sure no one bothered or tried to take the goats, and that the animals remained inside the fences.

"They're not jumpers, they'll stay in. They want to eat, that's their job," Gonzales said.

There's more to the article, and an addendum with more about thegoats,

A friend's email had some great photos of the goats and skyscrapers, but I can't access a link to them, yet anyway.

So, has anyone here hired goats for a project, have your own personal goats, or had your goat gotten?

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Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 11:46 am
@ossobuco,
In 2003 (that's the last data I found online) more than 15,000 goats were "working" in landscape management and conservation in two German states alone (Bavaria and Baden-W├╝rttemberg). (That's in southern Germany.)


ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 12:29 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Not surprised, Walter. I've known about the hiring of goats in california for quite a while, brush clearance being an important need, but I've never seen it right downtown in a major city.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 12:39 pm
@ossobuco,
Aha, many more photos in this blog --
http://blogdowntown.com/2008/09/3595-downtown-gets-its-goats

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3090/2840082445_721aa03df3.jpg

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littlek
 
  2  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 02:47 pm
@ossobuco,
I love this kind of news!
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Sep, 2008 03:09 pm
@littlek,
The goat in that photo was a tad out of line re the brush to munch.. Mostly they stayed within a fenced boundary, as I understand it.
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