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?'s about living lawnmowers


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Three acres is ALOT of lawn to mow! I haven't quite finished the front and the back already needs mowing again. Not only that, but I'm sick and tired of having poison ivy rashes all the time. :rolleyes:


I'm seriously thinking of the goat/sheep (or both) thing. I have a few quick questions. We have a 4' wood fence reinforced with goat wire. Would this hold them in, or would they jump/climb over it?


We'd like to fence off the front 2 acres (+/-) for them. Would an electric fence seperating their side from our yard side hold them in? If so, about how high and how many strings?


We'd also like to fence off the back for them, which would be about 1/2 acre.


About how many animals would it take in the front and in the back to keep the grass down and the bushes and vines along the fence in check?


Is there any reason Boyden couldn't eat them as they multiply since he's on a raw diet now?


If your answers fit with what I have in mind, then could you tell me of a forum I could go to to learn more (and where they wouldn't mind if the animals ultimately became food).


Tired and itching,




edit: I know they are living animals and not "lawnmowers". It's just a subject title, don't freak.

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Here is the fencing we have:




Here I am standing about where I would want the animals to be fenced in. That would extend all the way out to the fenceline you can see in the distance and over to the right (which is beyond the scope of the picture):




Here are the bushes all along the north fenceline:



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What a beautiful lawn. I got all happy about a teeny patch of green grass I spotted down by the end of my driveway today.

What kind of sheep/goats were you thinking of? Is there a breed that really appeals to you? Everyone on the boards seems to have a favourite for various reasons. I like mine because they are rather dumb and I don't have to worry about being outwitted by my sheep (or perhaps I do...)

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Whatever kind of sheep/goats are easy keepers (not sickly, not aggressive, not escape artists), eat grass, poison ivy and scrub bushes, and are tasty to dogs. :rolleyes:


I don't know the differences between the various breeds, so I have no opinion right now.


Do you think that fence would keep them in?


I'm trying to convince hubby to allow me to raise chickens, ducks and rabbits too. He's actually considering it.

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It depends alot on what you want. Do you want to shear? If not then a hair sheep. The boer goat is a meat goat. You might also consider the Nigerian Dwarf or other miniatur goat. They are less apt to jump that high. I would definetly add an electric wiore at the bottom at perhaps six inches and another at the top. This will keep all types of animals away. How many depends on how fast your gerass grows. You will need at least two. They like company. Do you want to breed? If not a weather (neutered male) is best. The bucks and rams wil be more agressive and smell during breeding season. As for a forum on goats and sheep, try the yahoo group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GoatandSheepRancher It may be best to start with a breed of animal that is near you. A local breeder may be willing to mentor you. Also sell you a feamle and loan you stud services later. Hope this helps.

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I have virtually NO experience with sheep but I did have dairy goats for quite some years. One thing I have to say about goats is that they DO love poison ivy and also many brushy type plants that cattle or sheep tend to avoid eating.


Items like certain thistles and multiflora rose are very appealing to goats and may be readily eaten.


Although goats can and do graze, they do prefer browse - woody twigs and similar materials. They may also bark trees, or eat the bark off trees and kill them.


A combination of goats and sheep, which are primarily grazers and known for grazing the grass short and neatly (relatively speaking), might be very helpful for you if grass control and brush control are your goals.

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I've heard goats are not that great at keeping the grass a nice even length. Certainly in the old days when many, many people used sheep to keep ornamental meadows and lawns short, sheep were the animal of choice. So you're in an ancient tradition. I think of it as being environmentally conscious - the sheep will keep the grass nice and process the clippings into manure, and no combustion engines are fired up to do it.


It won't be a perfect clip - and they'll graze selectively and create some patchiness unless you use temporary fence (electric poly wire or electronet), to force them to eat it evenly. But it worked for generations for our predecessors so I don't see why you couldn't!


Definitely hair sheep - barbs or crosses thereof are the most carefree and people will be charmed by the deer-looking things on your front lawn. :cool:


Oh, my sheep don't provide more than the occaisional treat for my dogs. You'd only be able to have a couple dozen ewes max IF you grazed them rotationally. But they all lamb at the same time, so you'd have to either store a whole bunch of meat or keep the lambs around, too, and use them as you need them over the next year. Actually, that would work I suppose but you'd have to cut back on the ewes so that you didn't have more than a couple dozen sheep total at any one time.


Sounds like you have a COUPLE of good reasons to raise sheep! :rolleyes:

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I can think of several reasons to raise sheep.


1. I love having animals around.

2. Keep grass "mowed".

3. Feed dog(s).

4. Compost.

5. Hubby is British, loves lamb.

6. It might give Boyden a job.


I wouldn't want to shear sheep, so hair would be the way to go I guess.


My front lawn doesn't have to be perfect, so maybe just 2-3 ewes?, with someone's ram available for stud services as needed. Their lambs could become food.


I did learn from a previous thread months back that goats prefer to browse instead, so they would do well along the fenceline eating PI and scrub bushes.


I'd like to get Boyden around sheep before I get too serious into this idea, but with the neighbor's cattle, horses, and ducks he's fine, so that's a good indication. Also might tell me how much BC is in his blood.


I joined that list and posted my questions, so hope to learn alot there.

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One more thought-

From reading your posts I'm not sure if you live in the country or suburbs, but you may want to check out local zoning laws to make sure they allow for livestock, or have certain restrictions.


P.S. You have a beautiful place (not to mention a gorgeous dog)!!

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Sheep will definitely eat poison ivy and browse your bushes. If you confine them to one small area and then keep them moving around, they will trim everything they are exposed to quite evenly before you move them on. My trees and bushes are all trimmed up to sheep height, and we used to have severe poison ivy problems - no more! Poison ivy is like candy to them! Just be careful about touching them when you notice them spending a lot of time exposed to it. Made that mistake a lot our first couple of years, yikes.

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