Lawn Mowers Sheep vs Goats

siegel2December 29, 2010

I've got 8 acres on the east side of the Big Island in Hawaii.

Fuel costs are too high for using power equipment to keep the grass down. We get on average about 150 inches of rain a year. You can imagine how fast that makes the grass grow with a year round growing season.

I'm thinking of getting either sheep (hair not wool) or goats to do the work with either a donkey or llama for protecting them We don't have any predators here except for the occasional loose large dog. (I know the animals will need care like vet visits, food supplements, etc. and I can't just use them as lawnmowers and forget about them, but I think it will be cheaper than trying to mow 8 acres.)

Fruit trees are am important part of the property and I'm wondering if goats are more likely to harm the trees than sheep. I'd rather not fence the trees. On the other hand goats could be a source of milk more so than the sheep.

Goats or sheep (or both)?

Your thoughts please.

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oregonwoodsmoke(5 OR Sunset 1A)

Goats prefer the trees to the grass. They will kill a tree fast, so you would have to protect the trees.

Sheep will eat the grass, but they will also scrape the bark off the trees, so you would have to protect the trees.

Milking goats, or milking anything, is labor intensive and ties you down to a schedule and prevents travel unless you can find a reliable substitute milker.

Cattle would have a better market. They prefer grass, but they will also eat the small branches off of any tree that tastes good to them. So you would have to protect the trees.

Donkeys and horses will chew bark and they will also eat the fruit, harvesting it right off the tree as high as they can reach.

Hogs will eat grass and they won't eat the trees, except they plow the ground up which might damage the roots and kill the trees. You can ring their noses so they don't dig. They'd need more suplimental feed since grass isn't a complete diet for them. They'll clean up any windfall fruit.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2010 at 2:24PM
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siegel2

oregonwoodsmoke,

Thanks for your informative reply!

Really helpful!

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 1:05PM
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praycontinually

I've raised sheep and goats. You would have to protect your trees. Goats are better than sheep because they will eat everything including weeds. Sheep are very selective in the grasses they eat and you would still have to mow.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 9:19PM
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dreamgarden(z6)

Are there any companies on the island that offer this service?!

Rent-A-Goat program: Living mowers

"Tammy Dunakin puts her goats to work by hiring them out. She has dozens of the four-legged eating machines that she rents to cities, counties, contractors, and landowners to clear their land of brush and weeds. Depending on the location, she charges $800 per day. Her "traveling roadshow," as she calls it, hauls a minimum of 60 goats to a site.

"It generally takes 60 goats about three to five days to clear about a quarter of an acre -- which is 10,000 square feet -- and that's relatively dense vegetation," Dunakin says. "Sometimes it can take a little longer, sometimes it takes a little less, it just depends. If it's really steep, that can slow it down, or if it's really dense and there's a lot of debris that they have to get around."

A link that might be useful:
www.livingthecountrylife.com/animals/livestock/rent-a-goat-program/

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 8:35AM
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tracydr(9b)

Which meat sells for more money? You can use either goats or sheep for milking. The fencing is slightly easier for sheep since they don't climb as badly. I've found sheep are easier, overall, just not as pesky as goats.
The wool is another market altogether that you may not want to discount. When I had a small flock I was able to find someone to shear my sheep inexpensively once a year, store the wool and the sell the wool when I had enough to make it worthwhile. You may be able to find a small crafts person who would like the wool and lanolin.
I'd prefer sheep. Also, the ram doesn't have a foul odor, so it's easy to keep your own male for breeding.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 8:07PM
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