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Monday, July 26, 2021

Sheep offer a quieter, natural alternative to lawn mowing

Sunflower (left) and her daughters Sunday and Zirafa took care of Beverley Rivera’s lawn. Cousin Rudy was part of the lamb crew, too. [Beverley Rivera]
Lawn mowing usually doesn’t draw a crowd – except when the “mowing” is done by sheep. 

Curious neighbors flocked to the home of Beverley Rivera in North Springfield last week to watch a ewe and three lambs cut the grass. 

Rivera calls the sheep operation “an alternative to having the neighborhood peace shattered by industrial mowers and noisy leaf blowers; although there was a little bleating.”

Cory Suter’s sheep clean up the open areas at Kingsley Commons on Arlington Boulevard in Falls Church in May. [Cory Suter]
The sheep were provided by Cory Suter, who operates a permaculture farm in Fairfax and is starting a new business called Lamb Mowers. 

“Sheep provide natural weed control. They love eating dandelions and clover,” Suter says. They also provide odorless “biodegradable fertilizer pellets.” He puts up temporary fencing to protect gardens and landscaping.

A ewe and her lamb on the Suter farm. [Cory Suter]
“I’m passionate about soil health and caring for the environment,” he says. Using sheep to cut the grass is an alternative to lawn services that use toxic chemicals.  

Suter started raising sheep about five years ago, specializing in a small heirloom breed called Babydoll Southdowns, which produce high-quality wool. He brought the first three from Illinois in his wife’s Prius in 2016. “The car still smells like sheep,” he says.

Suter has a business license for Lamb Mowers and a zoning use determination that allows him to provide livestock grazing services as a landscaper on residential property. 

Related story: Rental goats clear out Annandale homeowner's overgrown yard

He charged Rivera $150 but hasn’t determined a final pricing structure. It’s most likely going to depend on such factors as the size of the lawn and how many sheep are needed. 

Suter hopes to launch Lamb Mowers this winter, or even earlier, as he’s getting lots of inquiries. For more information, contact corysuter@gmail.com.

5 comments:

  1. I live in a townhouse and have no lawn, but this is fun and cool

    ReplyDelete
  2. There are lots of sheep in Mason District that follow our clueless School Board and Board of Supervisors.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What do you do about the smelly feces?
    What do you do when becomes essential to shear the animal's heavy wool for the sake of the animal's health?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Feces fertilizes the soil. Where do you think your food comes from? And humans have been shearing their sheep for thousands of years.

    ReplyDelete