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August edition of American Sheep Industry News has article about utilizing sheep to manage vegetation in urban environments. Cleveland, Ohio reduces mowing costs through use of the non-profit entity, Urban Shepherds. Urban Shepherds seemingly has potential to branch to cities which have long growing seasons.

 

DeYoung, Executive Director of Urban Shepherds, says:

 

“We now envision Urban Shepherds growing regionally to not only vacant urban lots but other large lots such as schools, parks, utility line and industrial and commercial parkways. As we grow, we will become the link between shepherds and flocks and urban and suburban lawns.”

 

Link to American Sheep Industry News Article.

 

Sheep owners are paid to graze their sheep. The success of program depends heavily upon trained volunteer shepherds.

 

"They are trained through a one-day course run by professional shepherds at The Spicy Lamb Farm which covers conservation grazing, the shepherd’s calendar, how to handle sheep and installation and maintenance of electric sheep netting."

 

The article does not discuss use of dogs to manage sheep, however it will be interesting to see how the program evolves. -- TEC

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My former trainer did this in Belgium, where they have a government mandated program to use sheep for weed control in a variety of public spaces.

 

He was trying to build a similar business here in the states, but I don't know how much traction he got. It seems like a good idea.

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There are people who hire out their flocks to do this. Most of what I have seen involves using dogs to move the sheep and then using something like electronet to keep the sheep in a particular area to graze for a period of time. Having to actually tend the sheep full time would be very labor intensive, it seems to me.

 

J.

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I know nothing in herding but in at situation like that would a tending breed(not sure what else they would be called) be better suited for the job then border collies?

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I know nothing in herding but in at situation like that would a tending breed(not sure what else they would be called) be better suited for the job then border collies?

A trained tending dog could do the job, but I'd think that no matter what type of dog you had, you'd have to have a human there to oversee things. Electronet fencing would lower the overhead costs because you wouldn't need someone there (paid) 24/7. I'm sure there are areas/terrains where electric fencing would be impractical and there the choice of dog would depend on the human doing the tending work.

 

Most tending dogs are taught to "patrol" a set line (a furrow or something similar). It's possible that terrain that wouldn't allow electric fencing also would make it difficult to set up the boundary for the tending dog to patrol.

 

J.

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