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Sheep for mowing


jvw
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My brother just purchased a new house with 7 acres. He plans to make it into a farm. He really wants to do things with less impact...not sure how to describe it. Since it will take quite some time to get the place up and running and get the soil ammended he was interested in getting some sheep for mowing purposes. He thinks it will be about 4 acres that he will need mowed. He plans to get electronet to move them around so he doesn't have to put permanent fencing around the whole place. He will be building them a shelter.

 

He is not sure what is growing there now. He thinks some kind of sod grass. He is willing to plant pasture for them.

 

He is located in Georgia about hour south of Atlanta.

 

Any suggestions on how many sheep he should get and what kind? He has no intention of lambing. I realize this answer is "it depends".........

 

Also, any suggestions on sites where he can get info on proper pasture for them. Can sheep safely mow a regular untreated lawn as part of their grazing??

 

Thanks

Jennifer

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We have about 5 acres that was extremely overgrown and left unkept. We started out with goats they did a great job cleaning up shrubs, suckers and all the flowers, I liked the fainters the best, they did not seem to want to jump on or over stuff. We then added hair sheep, and over time sold off the goats. Our sheep are barbado cross, the higher percentage barbados do a good job of trimming the low hanging tree branches and weeds, more so then the ones that are higher percentage Dorper and Katahdin.

 

We have our main permenant holding area for containment during the night, combo panels on t-posts and most of our place is fenced with woven for the horses, but we have found that the places that are not perminently fenced can be managed with two strands of hot wire on step in t-posts, we use tape for the top to add visability and hard wire bottom strand. I am also home most of the time and we don't leave the sheep out in the electric only area when no one is home.

 

Previous years we were over stocked, running about 30-40 head of ewes plus lambs running way more sheep then needed for just lawn maintenance. This year we have cut down to about 15 head of ewes and plan on selling the lambs early, but we also have the horses taking up some of the grazing work. If I recall right Wayne only had to fire up the lawn mower twice to even the yard up last year and we only have to trim tall grass and weeds that grow right next to the dog kennels (I just pull it). I'm hoping that 15 will be able to keep the place trimmed up, I also rotate them onto the horse pastures, they clean up stuff the horses won't.

 

As to numbers that he would need, your right it depends. I don't know if it is the right way, but, I would tend to stock heavy to start with and get the place cleaned up real good and then cut back on numbers.

 

Deb

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Thanks for the responses! The land is not overgrown. It is just like a giant mowned lawn, well, in winter state right now. It already has nice wooden fences.

 

Here I was thinking like 4 or 5 sheep! Guess I'm on the low side!!

 

Mark, not sure about the winter. I'm guessing he would over winter them. But who knows, this is all new! Not sure about the ordinances. But I'm pretty sure he's already checked into that. He's very detail oriented.

 

Jennifer

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We have approximately 1 acre in a pasture close to the house. In the spring 3-4 sheep can't keep up with it and we usually have it mowed/baled once. In the summer/fall it's about perfect. If it's really dry in the summer, sometimes there isn't quite enough for 3-4 sheep by the middle-end of August.

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Your biggest challenge in Georgia is going to be dealing with the summer slump. If you have enough sheep to keep up with the grass growth when it's growing fast, you will need to feed them when it is not growing, or reduce the number of sheep. Here in New Hampshire, I figure on about seven ewes to the acre as a jumping-off point, and adjust up or down depending on soil and sheep productivity, growing season, etc.

 

What sort of farm is he planning on seven acres? Mixed truck? Not much of a land base if he's planning to make a living.

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