Never underestimate the eating power of goats.
A herd of 45 hired to clear brush and invasive plants from a five-acre field at Knoch Knolls in Naperville has finished its task about a week early, Naperville Park District officials said Wednesday.
The goats arrived Sept. 24 and set to work immediately eating all the plants within their reach, from the ground up nearly eight feet. The entire five acres -- and then some -- has been stripped of invasive vegetation such as poison ivy, so the goats will leave Thursday to return to their home in Wisconsin.
The park district hired the herd, from The Green Goats run by Kim Hunter of Browntown, Wis., for about $5,000 to do work that would have cost $10,000 for humans to complete.
"The goats have eaten every green leaf within reach, and even the bark of some of the trees," Park Specialist Tom Lynch said in a written statement. "They have done a fantastic job clearing the area, which will allow us to remove the remaining stumps and branches. We also hope to be able to conduct a prescribed burn later this fall."
The land cleared by the goats and their insatiable appetites is the future home of holes nine to 18 of the disc golf course at Knoch Knolls, which will be expanded next year as the park undergoes $5.5 million of improvements to welcome the park district's first staffed nature center.