I have two ewes and we get 2-3 lambs for the freezer from them every year. I stake them out on my lawn or sometimes set up a temporary electric fence to restrict them from eating everything. Then, when my orchards are dormant (no leaves to eat), they clean most of the weeds up. As you can imagine, there are lots of issues doing this, so I'd like to hear from others that are doing similar things.
I did it for two or three years on an acre of land with almost half in orchard and other parts with gardens. The gardens were fenced off and the acre had a perimeter fence, so they had free range of all other areas. In the winter I confined them to give the pasture/lawn a rest and just used a sacrifice area...usually one of the fenced in garden areas.
I utilized hair sheep and was very pleased with the breed aspects and the results on the lawn and orchard. They kept the fallen fruits eaten~along with one of my dogs who was crazy about apples~ and I also stored some of the apples for their use later in the winter. They also cleaned up the gardens in the fall and I used fermented pumpkins to supplement their winter feed, as well as my corn stalks to provide some roughage.
The last year I set them up with a self-feeding station and I loved that idea as well.
This all saved me money, saved wear and tear on my old John Deere and it kept my lawn plush and green. Fruit and garden leftovers that would have gone to waste were utilized as feed and the sheep worked well with the dogs and chickens for a harmonious flock. Quirky, fun and intelligent, they were my favorite livestock to keep. Easy care, healthy, thrived well on all natural husbandry and were a 100% success for the intended purpose.
I could not agree with you more. I always wonder how lawnmowers were even sold in rural areas. I spent a whole lot of money on fencing, but it sure is nice to open the gate rain or shine and watch them work. My winter hay bill does not even come close to what I'm saving on gas. I can spend that time I would of spent on the lawn mower on other projects.
My grandmother did this. She and grandpa moved to a small rural town from their 300 acre farm in the early sixties and she kept two sheep on the lawn with the garden and fruit fenced off. I don't know what breed they were...I remember people talking about her for being eccentric. It was a white picket fence...old victorian house with two beautiful white sheep wandering around. She was my idol...she raised bees and supplied honey to the local schools, she took all of the furniture out of the 'parlor' and brooded eggs for all of the neighbrs...she was a very early subscriber to Rodale's Organic gardening and Prevention magazines. She got her college degree, taught school and hitched up the team of horses for the buggy to get there and back in her twenties...she didn't have kids until her thirties...wish I had had more time with her. Permaculture would have struck her as so obvious.
"We're all just walking each other home." -Ram Dass
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder."-Rumi
That's my plan too. I'm buying an 8 acre property on Friday, and I'm not planning on buying a lawnmower at all. I've got a flock of 20 hair sheep and I plan on putting them to work keeping all the open areas open with rotational grazing. Glad to see someone else has used fruit and pumpkin strategy to suppliment, I've done that a little on my rental land, but now I will be able to GROW my own supplimental feed, and I'm putting in willow and poplar as well. Would love to cut my winter feed/hay bill in half for my flock. If I get ambitious maybe even more than that. Plan on utilizing hedges and fencerows to grow a variety of fruit and veggies that will feed me, the sheep, rabbits, chickens, as well as a bit left over to add to my meat based farm shares.
10 Podcast Review of the book Just Enough by Azby Brown