By Diana Davis
Atlanta, GA (WSB/CNN) - Tackling the job of trimming grass and weeds around an airport is no small task.
That's why officials at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport have brought in 100 experts: sheep and goats.
One hundred sheep and a few goats are yards from Hartsfield-Jackson's fifth funway. It's a one week test to see if the sheep can clear brush adjacent to the runways more efficiently and more cheaply than men, machines, and herbicide.
"This was actually donated by an anonymous donor. We get a chance to evaluate something, try something new and right now it's not costing us anything," said Chris Davis, Assistant Director of Aviation Maintenance.
They eat but just about any kind of brush. Overgrowth is a concern not just for the line of sight for pilots, but to eliminate wildlife habitat.
"Birds, coyotes, deer. All those animal can run and have run into the runways by keeping the brush clear and low keeps the wildlife a little further," said Greg Levine, with Trees Atlanta.
The sheep are contained by the shepherd and dogs. There's also an electric fence and if the program is brought closer to the runways, there'd be more fencing.
"We still would have to put up some type of containment fence and those are some of the issues we would have to work out with TSA," said Davis.
It has worked out at two other United States airports.
"Now San Francisco has a program, Sea-Tac used it out in Seattle, they don't use it anymore because it wasn't cost-effective for them," said Davis.
That's what Atlanta will have to figure out. The sheep are the same ones that cleared five city parks this summer. The jets don't seem to bother them.
"We were curious to see what their reaction would be when we first brought them out here. Never even looked in the direction of the planes, they're so used to all the city sounds that not much shakes them at this point," said Levine.