Frequently Asked Questions:
Why sheep instead of goats? Although we have used goats in the past and probably will again, sheep are much more manageable to load, contain, control with a stock dog, and they do not need a shelter. Except for killing young trees, which is usually a bad thing, sheep will eat all the plants goats eat (and some they do not) to only a slightly lower browse height. Where trees are not wanted, as in retention ponds, goats would be a good choice.
Can I have sheep on my property? You may want to check your local ordinances to be sure, but we have worked in Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Walton, Clarke, Stone Mountain, Gainesville, and others with no permit or problem. Athens-Clarke County recently approved the use of prescribed grazing by sheep in all zones of the county (with a permit). It is a good idea to advise neighbors that the sheep will be there temporarily to do a job and (where appropriate) to please be sure their dogs do not harass them. Clients thoroughly enjoy having sheep and often receive much attention from curious friends and neighbors.
What will the sheep eat? English ivy, poison ivy, kudzu, privet, honey suckle, blackberry (older, woody canes excluded), and assorted overgrown woodland have all been defoliated by our sheep. Best results are obtained on foliage that is in a succulent, green stage. Mature, steamy or dead grass and brambles will not be consumed. Sheep will usually avoid Virgina creeper, vinca, wisteria and azalea. Desirable plants can usually be protected with ‘cages’ (provided at additional cost).
Are Coyotes A Concern? Although reported to be nearly everywhere we have worked, we have not had a problem with coyotes which are more cautious of the electric fence and reluctant to attack much larger animals. Off leash and escaped dogs are our biggest concern.
How Long Does It Take? Ideally, we like to move the sheep every 3-10 days. On larger projects, we may work in sections by moving the fences.
Will It Grow Back? Yes! However, many homeowners find they can manage vegetation after only one treatment by the sheep. Taller privet will need to be cut but this is much easier after grazing; Poison and English ivy vines on trees will need to be cut and will require at least two grazing passes or other treatment to be eliminated. Kudzu is reported to require 4 passes over two years to deplete the root reserves and die.