With the rise in popularity of goat herds used for clearing brush and lawn maintenance, you may wonder if sheep will serve the same purpose.
These livestock types are known for their voracious appetite and grazing.
Will sheep eat and clear brush?
Sheep clear brush. While they aren’t quite as efficient as goats, sheep act as lawn mowers for low-lying and ground-level vegetation. Goats are better for clearing very thick brush and woody vegetation. Sheep will do the job if you are looking for livestock to clear ground-level weeds.
Using livestock for weed management is nothing new.
Many people use goats for clearing brush, but sheep will get the job done too. Let’s look into whether sheep will eat and brush.
Do Sheep Eat Weeds?
Sheep will eat all types of plants, including invasive and unwanted plants.
There aren’t any plant species a sheep will not eat.
For this reason, it is important to set up a boundary like an electric fence to protect your food crops from the nimble grazers.
While many goat farmers use goats for brush clearing, sheep will also get the job done.
While larger goats have the height advantage of using their hind legs to reach for branches of trees and other woody vegetation, a flock of sheep is also great for weed control.
Grazing by sheep will drastically reduce your time and money spent on weed management.
They have a great appetite for weeds, especially those stubborn and tenacious low-lying broadleaf weeds.
What’s great about using sheep for weed control is how they also get to satisfy their stomach.
They will happily take care of invasive plants and other bush plants.
However, sheep don’t know what desirable plants are and what are weeds.
Electric fencing or other protections must be taken to protect food crops, gardens, and other desirable plants from becoming your sheep’s next meal.
What Weeds Will Sheep Eat?
Sheep are extremely cute animals capable of clearing range to keep unwanted vegetation at bay.
They will eat just about anything, including poison ivy, poison oak, and briars.
Often, a brush goat business or brush sheep business will come in with their livestock to clear properties.
They are not necessarily a landscaping business, but they will take care of an acre of grass covered in invasive plants and unwanted vegetation.
Sheep will not eat larger or tall plants like many breeds of goats will.
This is sometimes beneficial as they won’t cause any damage to trees like goats may.
Sheep will reach vegetation up to 5′ feet in height and tend to prefer low-lying broadleaf weeds, while goats will reach up to 7′ feet to snack on vegetation.
If you have an understory of grasses filled with weeds, the sheep will take care of them.
With a particularly dense brush area, it may be beneficial to use goats and sheep to clear the entire area.
Suppose you take care of plants for food purposes or have delicate plants.
In that case, it’s important to protect them with an electric fence to keep these voracious grazers from committing aggressive plant attacks against your desirable plants.
Diversity in plant communities is important, but if weeds are choking out desirable vegetation while they grow, you need to eliminate them, and sheep are a great way to do this.
How To Keep Sheep For Clearing Brush
Sheep are very easy and low maintenance, for the most part, depending on the breed of sheep.
Grazing by sheep will reduce the manual labor of pulling up weeds and will also avoid the need for chemical herbicides.
Another plus of sheep is their wool.
Wool from sheep used to create fibers, yarn, and clothing is very valuable and another commodity to sell at the market.
A flock of hair sheep will take care of your weed-control needs, and the wool from sheep used to make products will help to turn a profit.
Here are some tips for keeping sheep for clearing brush:
- Make sure to provide adequate shelter from rainy weather and extreme temperatures.
- Provide constant access to clean water to keep them healthy and hydrated.
- Install permanent fences around crops and gardens to keep sheep from killing intentional plants and food crops.
- Use temporary fence installation to manage and control where sheep are grazing.
Are Goats Or Sheep Better For Clearing Brush?
A flock of sheep does a great job of getting rid of unwanted weeds, but they must be low-lying and close to the ground.
Brush-clearing goats will take care of much more than a flock of sheep.
They have more appetite for brushy plants, and brush control goats will clear much more than sheep.
If you have a particularly high density of brush or many planted over a few feet tall, it may be better to hire a brush goat rental business or become a brush goat owner yourself to take care of all the woody and unwanted brush plants taking over your property.
There are many benefits of brush goats and sheep, depending on your needs.
Sheep will be more likely to take care of the low-lying weeds the average brush goat herd isn’t interested in.
Brush goat keepers know how tenacious and voracious their goats are, so if you are looking for more docile, calm, and easily managed livestock to clear brush, sheep will be a better bet.
Both types of livestock are effective grass clearers and beat spending hours upon hours manually using a commercial-grade grass trimmer to keep your property well-managed.
In addition to taking some of the labor of keeping a farm off your hands, the sheep and goats will also get their nutritional and dietary needs met by clearing and munching on plants in pasture or on the property.
This will reduce how much commercial feed you need to purchase and supply for your livestock.