School District Enlists Help of One Llama, 39 Goats

OPB | Oct. 4, 2013 4:12 p.m.

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Briana Murphy arrived with a llama and 39 goats last week to consume ivy and blackberry inside a fenced area behind a Portland Public Schools administration building.

Portland schools are experimenting with using goats to trim back areas that are overgrown with invasive weeds.

Portland schools are experimenting with using goats to trim back areas that are overgrown with invasive weeds.

Kayo Lackey / OPB

The district is experimenting with using goats to trim back areas that are overgrown with invasive weeds. The goats are munching through a half-acre at the district’s central office.

Murphy’s business is called “Goat Power.”

“Goats work about twelve hours a day,” Murphy says. “They work during the day and then they also work at night. They will kind of work until they’re full, then they’ll stop and take a nap, chew their cud for a little bit, and then get up and get started again.”

Murphy says her goats will be at the district office, eating - or working, as she puts it - round-the-clock up to seven days.

Portland Public says goats cost half of what it take to clear weeds with grounds-keeping crews. Portland is considering having goats control weeds at school sites, too. But officials say campuses need fences or security measures to keep the goats where they belong.

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