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Eco-Goats Are Hired to Chomp Cemetery Weeds

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Dozens of goats have been hired to help make West Laurel Hill Cemetery more eco-friendly this week.

    The bill for 40 goats for about five days of grazing is $5,000. That's $25 per day per goat. Well, the money isn't what the goats love, it's the green. 

    "They are a riot. We have to clear a lot of areas and did not want lawnmowers and machines that use gas to do that," said Priyank Setty of West Laurel Hill. 

    The "eco-goats" are working to whip the green burial section known as Nature's Sancturary into shape in Bala Cynwyd. The forty mouths spend 18 hours per day grazing the weeds that have settled in. Their job at West Laurel Hill is to devour about an acre of growth mostly on a hill.

    "Goats will come through and mop up the problem vegetation," said owner Bill Knox of Sustainable Resource Management. "They also improve the soil as they go by dropping fertilizer on the ground. We work on goat time, when they are done, they are done."

    The goal is to remove invasive weeds and vegetation such as the Japanese knot weed. The goats consume a fourth of their body weight in grazing each day, according to Knox. The goats are a cross section of breeds and live on a 50-acre property in Davidonville, Md. They are on the road a majority of the growing season, which is May to October.

    The West Laurel Hill Cemetery is a 187-acre arboretum and outdoor sculpture garden. Removing the invasive vegetation will help the landscape evolve naturally over time.

    The animals have becoming an attraction for runners and passersbys, but they should not be pet. 

    "The goats work whenever they feel like it. They form cliques and stick together, and move around together," said Setty who observed them making noise.

    Not a bad weeklong job as the goats take breaks and call it quitting time when they want to.