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basjoos 04-03-09 04:15 PM

Natural lawn mowing
The only truly natural way to keep a lawn trimmed is to use herbivores to do the job rather then some noisy, expensive machine. I use sheep to mow my lawn, they operate quietly and fertilize (with rabbit raisin-sized pellets) as they mow. The main trick is to do as they do in Scotland and fence off the plants (mainly perennials and shrubs) that you don't want them to eat. They LOVE wild onions and this plant quickly disappears (along with Japanese honeysuckle) from any sheep mowed lawn. A fringe benefit of this self-reproducing lawn mowing service is that it will occasionally put meat on the table when I thin out the surplus sheep. I have a riding mower, but its been in mothballs since last summer for lack of use.

Higgy 04-03-09 04:18 PM

I wonder how my neighbors would feel if I had a sheep braying in my yard? You think I need a permit for that? :D

Daox 04-03-09 06:34 PM

How large is the area that your sheep mow? How many sheep do you have? I agree, its a great way (and easy!) to keep the yard up.

basjoos 04-03-09 07:52 PM


Originally Posted by Higgy (Post 2677)
I wonder how my neighbors would feel if I had a sheep braying in my yard? You think I need a permit for that? :D

They'd probably prefer the occasional soft "baa" from the sheep than the loud roar of the lawn mower. A permit requirement would depend on how far behind the times your community was.

basjoos 04-03-09 08:02 PM


Originally Posted by Daox (Post 2679)
How large is the area that your sheep mow? How many sheep do you have? I agree, its a great way (and easy!) to keep the yard up.

The yard area is about 1 acre and there is an additional 18 acres of pasture where the sheep spend the time when I don't have them mowing my lawn. Currently have 32 sheep.

There's another house near here where they use a couple of goats to maintain their 1/4 acre lawn. When you drive by, sometimes you'll see a goat laying on their patio table chewing its cud.

Higgy 04-04-09 08:20 AM

LOL...ya you're right. That would be cool...fence off the whole yard and have a sheep walking around mowing my grass.

That would be the best. My dream is to have 1 acre of land rather then living in the city. Not sure if I'll ever do it, but I'd like to one day. Build my own house and then buy some kind of animal to mow my grass.

RobbieWT 04-06-09 10:56 PM

One of my grandparent's neighbors has a bunch of goats. Sometimes he lets people in the neighborhood barrow them for a few hours. The problem is that goats bite the grass so low that it can't grow back.

basjoos 04-07-09 07:45 PM

Never had that problem with my sheep and I don't see how goats could eat the grass that low in just a few hours. There are plenty of goat pastures around here and the grass in them looks fine as long as they don't have the pasture heavily overstocked. You do have to fence off the shrubbery, perennials, and any other plants you don't want them to eat. A sheep or goat won't make any distinction between the prized rosebush you are cultivating in the front yard and the invading multiflora rose that's taking over the back of your yard. Beyond the branches that they can reach, they will usually leave trees alone, although they do like to chew the bark on Cedrus, so I have to fence them away from that particular tree.

Some municipalities hire contract shepherds to clear city properties overgrown with kudzu, honeysuckle, privet, and other invasives. They will pen a herd of sheep or goats at a VERY heavy stocking rate for a few days on the property and they will eat down the vegetation. Then in a few months they will return and repeat the process.

Tango Charlie 04-08-09 07:35 AM

What would be an ideal sheep/area density? If I had two sheep on a quarter acre, would they be starving, or not able to keep up?

basjoos 04-10-09 07:17 AM

Depending on how fast your grass is growing, they would have no problem keeping up during the growing season, but would require supplemental feeding (hay) during the winter. Sheep stocking rates vary depending on the time of year and how productive the pasture grass is. Typical stocking rates on permanent pasture for the eastern US is 2 to 6 sheep per acre for normal size sheep (higher for miniature sheep breeds). Since I have other pastures for my sheep, I rotate the sheep into my yard as needed to keep the grass down. I have about 3/4 acre of lawn around the house and bring in 4 to 10 sheep for a few days every week or two during the peak grass growing season.

Sheep also have other fringe benefits for the garden. Any wasted/surplus feed hay can go on the vegetable garden either as mulch or as ingredients for the compost pile (since it is already pre-manured by the sheep)

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