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Old 06-06-2008, 12:10 PM
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Could sheep replace the lawnmower?


http://www.straightdope.com/columns/080606.html

Having read the article and thought about the problems Cecil pointed out, it seems to me that the main problem is that for any likely sized urban lawn, a sheep is simply too large a grazer. I'm not sure how small ruminants come- maybe a pygmy goat? Or if rabbits can sustain themselves mostly on coarse grass. But definitely it would be better to have greater numbers of something much smaller. You could fine tune the balance of grazers to living space much better, and if they bred prolificly you could reduce your herd to a small reserve of breeders over the winter and have them repopulate in the spring.
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Old 06-06-2008, 12:23 PM
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My lawn is about 4m x 5m. My two regular domestic bunnies are more than capable lawn mowers.

Like the sheep in the article they are taken away from the lawn in the winter to give it a chance to recover.

I've had to re-seed the lawn one year due to excessive bunny eating. Their digging does't help either but at least they don't have hooves.
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Old 06-06-2008, 12:37 PM
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Re:Could sheep replace the lawn mower?


The Master answers the question: Could sheep replace the lawn mower?

For anyone who is interested discussion on animals other than sheep, there have been a couple of threads on the topic. One was, What animal is best lawn mower? , started by yours truly. The other, started by The Scrivener, started by asking if rabbits could be used, and went on from there.

Personally, I thought the guinea pigs were the cutest idea. You definitely wouldn't want to leave them caged in the heat, but the image of roving herds of squee-ing guinea pigs sticks in the mind.
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Old 06-06-2008, 01:00 PM
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Obligatory mention that during WWI, Woodrow Wilson used sheep to crop the White House lawn to save manpower.
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Old 06-06-2008, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase
Obligatory mention that during WWI, Woodrow Wilson used sheep to crop the White House lawn to save manpower.
Damn! That's what I came in to say.

:: shakes fist at Exapno Mapcase ::
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Old 06-06-2008, 01:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exapno Mapcase
Obligatory mention that during WWI, Woodrow Wilson used sheep to crop the White House lawn to save manpower.
That pic illustrates Cecil's point: The caption says that they're grazing the lawn, but the pic shows them gathered around either a feed or water trough.

*** Ponder
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:05 PM
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A friend of a friend used to hire out a flock of sheep for precisely this purpose - his customers were mostly the National Trust, or other people with extensive grounds they wanted to keep well-cropped.

Unfortunately, the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak a few years back, with the consequent clamp-down on animal movements, rather put an end to this scheme. Pity, really. It's not everyone who gets to pimp sheep for a living, legitimately.
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Old 06-06-2008, 02:49 PM
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Goats


Quote:
Originally Posted by Lumpy
http://www.straightdope.com/columns/080606.html

Having read the article and thought about the problems Cecil pointed out, it seems to me that the main problem is that for any likely sized urban lawn, a sheep is simply too large a grazer. I'm not sure how small ruminants come- maybe a pygmy goat? Or if rabbits can sustain themselves mostly on coarse grass. But definitely it would be better to have greater numbers of something much smaller. You could fine tune the balance of grazers to living space much better, and if they bred prolificly you could reduce your herd to a small reserve of breeders over the winter and have them repopulate in the spring.

Dunno about Turin (or Tulsa) but here in New Zealand people with grass
verges quite commonly put a goat on a long chain hanging from a wire (with a little hut for shelter) - works fine!

jj
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Old 06-06-2008, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ponderoid
That pic illustrates Cecil's point: The caption says that they're grazing the lawn, but the pic shows them gathered around either a feed or water trough.

*** Ponder
Makes for a better picture that way, though. I have to assume they weren't there all the time.
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Old 06-06-2008, 04:47 PM
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Don't let sheepishness get your goat.


Years ago while travelling through New Zealand I noticed that along some roads one could see what appeared to be doghouses. Eventually I found out that they were shelters for goats that the highway maintenance folk employed to keep the growth down.
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Old 06-06-2008, 05:38 PM
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Note: I've merged Yllaria's thread with Lumpy's on the same topic to keep things tidy. Carry on.
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Old 06-07-2008, 10:49 AM
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I can't find the news article, but last summer the city of Seattle rented a herd of goats to clear blackberry bushes from freeway hillsides.
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Old 06-08-2008, 12:31 AM
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The City of Fort Saskatchewan near Edmonton has a sheep grazing program every year. Here is the link.

It seems to be quite popular.
.
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Old 06-08-2008, 06:43 AM
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We raised sheep in a 5 acre field, they did keep the grass down, plus we had to feed them grain and hay. They also ate our grapes and anything leafy. We kept 3 until our children had left home, then our yard turned into a big forest like area with a lot of trees and shrubs. We cleared it out and kept some trees for the birds as there are cherry, mulberry,buckthorn, apple, honeysuckle and Asian dogwood.

We cut around the trees and it is a lot of work, but it looks like a park. We do alot of the work by hand,We do cut the grass and pick up some of the leaves with a riding mower but we also do a lot of raking. If we went back to the sheep we would have to put up better fencing, and shearing them, feeding and delivering lambs is also a lot of work,plus the electric it takes to pump the water that they need so either way it is a lot of work. If we cut down all the "weed" trees it would also mean getting rid of the wood, if let to grow there is a danger of fire if some one went by and threw out a cigerette butt.

Monavis
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Old 06-09-2008, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Could sheep replace the lawnmower?
I don't care who they are, if they break it, they're on the hook to give me a new one.
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Old 06-10-2008, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by picunurse
I can't find the news article, but last summer the city of Seattle rented a herd of goats to clear blackberry bushes from freeway hillsides.
Those guys are from Vashon Island, where I live. Here's the website:
http://www.rent-a-ruminant.com/
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Old 06-10-2008, 02:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervaise
I don't care who they are, if they break it, they're on the hook to give me a new one.
Well that's all right with me, but how are you at catching mice?
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Old 06-10-2008, 06:14 PM
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The Sawtooth Ramps piece of landscape art alongside the M8 in Scotland has a flock of brightly coloured sheep cropping its grass. Apparently easier than trying to mow the sloping sides.

(And, why yes, this post was prompted by the Andrew Graham-Dixon item in tonight's The Culture Show on BBC2 ...)
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:11 AM
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Just chiming in to say that dear Cecil kinda glossed over the notion that you could sell any wool after shearing, or wash/card/dye/spin it yourself for knitting and such.

Goat's milk can also be harvested if you go that route.

Bi-products of use and worth are not something you can get out of a lawnmower.

Last edited by ComeToTheDarkSideWeHaveCookies; 06-11-2008 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:36 AM
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I'm just enjoying the picture of Hal Briston, napping in a lawn chair while one of his sheep eats his hat. Only two more days until that goes away though.
  #21  
Old 06-11-2008, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yllaria
the image of roving herds of squee-ing guinea pigs sticks in the mind.
Whoopie-ti-yi-yo, git along, little cavies.....
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