40 goats eating unwanted buckthorn in Downers Grove

  • Some of the 40 goats from Vegetation Solutions on the property of Oak Trace retirement community center in Downers Grove. The goats will stay five to seven days to eat unwanted buckthorn.

      Some of the 40 goats from Vegetation Solutions on the property of Oak Trace retirement community center in Downers Grove. The goats will stay five to seven days to eat unwanted buckthorn. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Resident Bernie Kaiser, left, Lifestyle Program Lead Jessica Lazzara and resident Nina Baird get a look at some of the 40 goats on the property of Oak Trace retirement community center in Downers Grove.

      Resident Bernie Kaiser, left, Lifestyle Program Lead Jessica Lazzara and resident Nina Baird get a look at some of the 40 goats on the property of Oak Trace retirement community center in Downers Grove. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Resident Bernie Kaiser gets a photos of some of the 40 goats on the Oak Trace retirement community center property in Downers Grove. The goats will stay five to seven days and eat the buckthorn.

      Resident Bernie Kaiser gets a photos of some of the 40 goats on the Oak Trace retirement community center property in Downers Grove. The goats will stay five to seven days and eat the buckthorn. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • 40 goats will eat buckthorn on the Oak Trace retirement community center in Downers Grove.

      40 goats will eat buckthorn on the Oak Trace retirement community center in Downers Grove. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 8/28/2019 6:21 AM

Roughly 40 goats will spend the next five to seven days outside a retirement community in Downers Grove doing what goats do: Munching on unwanted buckthorn on about a one-acre site.

Wisconsin-based Vegetation Solutions promotes the goats as a natural way to get rid of invasive plants. The company, which has around 250 animals, sets up herds of livestock in a fenced area for eco landscaping -- in this case outside the Oak Trace community.

 

"It's another tool in the toolbox of plant management," said Ben Robel, owner of Vegetation Solutions. "It's also a morale booster for folks here."

Oak Trace has around 40 acres and the pesky buckthorn takes over the land pretty quickly.

A resident suggested bringing in the goats and officials jumped at the chance.

"It's the best thing for the ecosystem and it's chemical free," Director of Lifestyle Paula Banno said.

"They're very similar to sheep," said resident Nina Baird, who lived on a farm. "I hope it's successful. It's better than chemical spray."

Officials say they're planning on the goats making a yearly visit to the property.

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