If you were driving down Lancaster Pike in Hockessin this past week and thought you saw something a little out of the ordinary on the rolling lawns of Sanford School, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you.
Yes, those were goats grazing on the campus’s grassy hills.
About two dozen goats have matriculated at the school. Sanford says the goats have been brought in to clear weeds, brush, and other invasive plants, such as poison ivy.
Sanford facilities manager Kevin Needham said the eager (but kind of smelly) chompers serve dual-purposes, both educational and practical.
“Some of the hills here on campus are so steep we can’t even walk them, much less clear them,” said Needham. The 27 goats will clear in two weeks what would take Needham’s staff of five two months.
“It’s an environmentally great way to do it, and the kids are having a ball – especially the younger ones. They get to interact with the goats and learn about the whole process,” he said.
And when the goats chew the leaves, they also consume the seeds. So while there may be some new growth next year, there will be much less than if the weeds and vines had been cut down, distributing seeds to the ground below.
Needham hired his goat crew from Green Grazer Goats, which charges $900 per acre or more, depending on how slowly or quickly the goats can make their way through the terrain.
The goats will be chilling/working on campus until October 19th. “They’re doing a fantastic job. So, we plan to bring them back in the spring to clear other areas,” he said.