They work in the heat.
They don't burn gas.
They don't talk back.
And they will eat just about anything.
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A herd of 17 goats is busy cleaning up an overgrown area of Idle Hour Park in Lexington, "goatscaping" a nearly two-acre area as they eat their way through invasive species and pretty much anything else in their path.
Lexington's newest contract workers are not only diligent but have attracted crowds, city officials said.
“I bet a thousand people have already come by to see them,” said Al Dilley of Glasgow. Dilley owns Goat Browsers, a company that uses goats to clear land.
The goats will be working in the park off of Richmond Road for the next several weeks.
“Goats are low maintenance animals,” Dilley said. “All they know is to eat.”
A goat can eat about three percent of its body weight in a day. Some of Dilley's goats weigh as much as 200 pounds.
“Normally, 15 goats will do an acre in a couple of weeks, more or less.”
Because clearing overgrown land can be expensive and dangerous, using goats to clear land has become increasingly popular, he said. In addition to Idle Hour Park, Dilley's goat crews have cleaned abandoned family cemeteries, part of an Army base and property owned by the Boy Scouts.
The goats are contained using fencing. Dilley stays with the goats at the park, where they will remain until the two-acre plot is cleared.
People attending baseball and other sporting events in the park have noticed the animals and posted pictures on social media, which has attracted a lot more visitors to the city park that's tucked behind the Lexington Senior Center.
“You have to be a little crazy to do something like this,” Dilley said. “I enjoy working with animals. Every morning I get up I want a purpose in life. I can only drink so much coffee and tell so many tales and then I’m done. I need to be doing something.”