Bridge Park: These goats will not face the slaughterhouse like last herd

To the rescue: Brooklyn Bridge Park is using four goats from upstate New York to kill its weed problem in the Pier 3 uplands.
Brooklyn Paper
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The kids are all right.

Brooklyn Bridge Park is welcoming a new crew of goats to weed its verdant condo-filled fields this summer — two years after locals were shocked to see the last billies to graze in the green space leaving in a butchers’ truck. The new flock, however, will not be goats for the slaughter, park officials claim — they’re highly skilled workers with long careers ahead of them.

“These are goats that have been trained to eat weeds and will be eating weeds into old age,” said Rebecca McMackin, Brooklyn Bridge Park’s director of horticulture. “They are not dairy goats and they are not goats for eating, they’re absolutely going back to the farm.”

The park is renting the four new Nubian goats — brothers Horatio, Eyebrows, Minnie, and Hector — from upstate farm Green Goats for two months, during which time they will devour invasive plants on a steep hill near Pier 3.

By contrast, the 2014 herd were unskilled, unwitting performers in an art installation near the Manhattan Bridge, and came from a Queens slaughterhouse. Organizers also denied those goats were headed back to the abattoir, even after the butcher came to retrieve them, claiming they would live out their days on an “educational farm.”

Some critics are also questioning why the park is now using cheap animal labor instead of paying actual workers to weed the hill, but McMackin claims they’re the logical candidates for the job, because less sure-footed humans would take far too long.

The goats also have the added bonus of dropping free, all-natural fertilizer as they work, she said — an act that’s generally frowned upon for people.

“It’s the most ecologically sustainable method of weeding the berm,” she said, referring to the man-made hill.

During their tenure, the animals will sleep in a shed at the foot of the hill, which McMackin says is for their own safety. A sheep herder will look after them during the day, though the park still hasn’t hired one, she said.

Park-goers can’t play with the goats, as they have a job to do, but they can view the hired hoofs from the Brooklyn Heights Promenade or through a fence along a nearby path that runs through the park.

The living lawn mowers are an increasingly popular option for parks looking to do some weed-whacking in precarious locations — Green Goats is also renting out eight animals to Prospect Park this summer.

But not everyone is sold — the Parks Department recently categorically refused to consider deploying them on the weed-covered roof of the Carmine Carro Community Center in Marine Park.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Misty Waters from Brooklyn Heights says:
If this is the case, then why have I heard rumours that someone is going to slaughter them? Clearly this article is a lie - a distraction. Are they going to be slaughtered? Yes.
June 24, 2016, 7:31 am
Brooklyn Man from Cobble Hill says:
Government waste at it's finest. Don't these goats cost $15,000 for a few months to rent as stated in a different article? You can go and buy the same amount of goats for $1,000.
June 24, 2016, 8:58 am
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
I don't really know the layout of this park, but do people walk or climb this weedy area? If so, do they really want to be stepping in goat droppings? I know hills can be difficult to mow, but do we really need goat droppings in our parks? The pigeons and dogs aren't enough?
June 24, 2016, 9:19 am
billy says:
"Some critics are also questioning why the park is now using cheap animal labor instead of paying actual workers to weed the hill...." Except for the newly hatched ones, humans aren't as cute.
June 24, 2016, 11:55 am
Z from Bay Ridge says:
I didn't know goats needed to be trained to eat weeds.
June 24, 2016, 12:10 pm
Jacqui from Bk says:
Brooklyn Man - where do you go to buy the cheap goats? Doesn't sound legit to me, is that with or without sales tax?
June 24, 2016, 12:45 pm
Brooklyn Man from Cobble Hill says:
Jacqui - Ever heard of the rural state of New Jersey? Farms sell goats all over the state for a couple hundred bucks a piece. Is it legit to pay $15,000 for a summer rental of goats?
June 24, 2016, 1:09 pm
Brooklyn Man from Cobble Hill says:
And before you cry about going out of state...just googled NY goats for sale and Sunny Acres farms sells them for $200 a piece...
June 24, 2016, 1:11 pm
goats from Brooklyn says:
Goats only cost about $150 each. Of course, NYC always over pays for everything as it's not their money they are wasting and when they need more they just raise taxes. So they add two extra zeros, it doesn't hurt them any.

And if they don't overspend on the goats, they'll overspend on something that's less environmentally beneficial.

Nonetheless, the goats are the most wonderful thing and their droppings are so small, and dissipate so fast, that this alleged shortfall is well worth the benefits.

And who knows, once they become more popular, we can perhaps genetically engineer them not to defecate, and they can just grow bigger, and bigger, and bigger till...

Just follow mother nature and you won't go wrong!
June 24, 2016, 2:27 pm
Jacqui from Bk says:
Are those old, skinny goats that won't eat? We need hungry goats. We need ones that will eat the weeds, not just look at them.
I'm from New York, I have no idea what a goat costs or how you buy them. Thank you farm people for letting me know.
June 24, 2016, 5:25 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
I think we've discovered the cure for John Wasserman, is more John Wasserman.
June 24, 2016, 6:01 pm
Simone from Cobble Hill says:
The goat may be inexpensive, whereas the cost of caring for the goat is likely not. In sum, cheaper than destructive humans.
June 24, 2016, 9:50 pm
ty from pps says:
herd of goats? of course i've heard of goats.
June 25, 2016, 8:40 am
Humpington Pooter from Virginia says:
Yes Simone, thank you for bringing that up. Who is going to clean their poop? Who is going to brush their hair? If they get fleas, who will pick off the fleas? What if some immigrant tries to steal one to eat it?
June 26, 2016, 6:37 am
Issei Sagawa says:
Their poop is fertilizer. Goat shed v$ apt.

Plenty of humans, why not eat them w curry?
June 27, 2016, 12:22 pm

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