If you live in a world of untamed grass and weeds sprouting through every nook and cranny in the yard, you know how difficult it can be to maintain it and keep things neat and tidy. One option that you may have explored before are animals that basically just mow your grass for you, which is commonly referred to as grazing. In theory, you just put these animal mowers in a spot with grass, and never have to touch a lawnmower again.
After some research, we found:
The best low maintenance animals that will eat your grass are sheep, goats, chickens, llamas, and alpacas. However, sheep are the best low maintenance grazing option because they are relatively easy to care for when comparing to other animals.
With this information, you can create your own farm haven where lawn maintenance is now at a minimum. These animals are great to help you out with the yard chores, but like everything else, there are pros and cons to each. We’ll explore the different rewards and challenges with a lot of common animals that can be grazing your yard in no time.
What Low Maintenance Animals Will Eat Your Grass?
Sheep – The Ultimate Grazing Machine
Like we mentioned earlier, sheep are by far the top pick for most people looking to control their grass with animals. Sheep are incredibly low maintenance, requiring a simple shearing once a year, which also provides you with a good amount of wool. They bring far more positives than they do negatives into your yard.
If you are interested in proper care for sheep I recommend taking a look at this detailed sheep care PDF from farmsanctuary.org. It has everything you need to know about taking care of your sheep!
Sheep are incredibly docile and friendly creatures that won’t cause any issues when you have people around. They spend their days grazing (8 hours) and pooping. The great part is that their stool is dry, so there’s no mess when you or the kids are out playing on the lawn.
These creatures are social and you’ll need a minimum of two sheep. You don’t want your yard workers to be all alone out there, plus you’ll get the job done quicker.
Goats are up there with sheep as some of the best animals for grazing. They can be a little bit more testy and fiery but overall do well with cleaning up the yard. They prefer weeds and woody plants over grass, so if you are clearing a yard they may be better than just for general maintenance.
You can also get a lot of great goat milk and wool from your goats if you want to get more than just a trimmed lawn. They’ll eat a lot, but you have to keep them away from plants that you want to keep intact, or they’ll disappear quickly.
Goats are also known for being sneaky and tricky, as they will jump or climb on anything, making them masters of escape. This means you’ll need to create a secure space that they can’t get out of, or your lawnmower will be down the road at a neighbor’s rose bush.
One of the most common animals kept easily in smaller spaces with low maintenance are chickens. Chickens are experts at grazing and also do a fantastic job at eating up any pesky bugs you may have in the yard.
To get the best result from chickens, you’ll need to build a moving coop that can be moved from one place to another, keeping an even lawn. This will also efficiently spread out their poop, which is an incredible fertilizer for grass and gardens. It is also typically dry, making it easier to not make a huge mess.
On top of everything, you get eggs and meat from chickens. There’s nothing better than grabbing fresh eggs from the coop in the morning and not having to go out to mow your lawn later. However, comparing to sheep chickens are higher up there for maintenance involved.
Llamas and Alpacas
If you’re ready to risk being spit on for a well-maintained lawn, llamas and alpacas are friendly creatures that will be effective at keeping the grass under control. Due to their size, they can be a little harder to maintain because they require more food in addition to grazing at times and can accidentally knock a small child over without realizing it.
Llamas and alpacas are well-known for toting around a lot of extra weight for people going on long trips and yours can be useful for this as well. If there’s a lot of heavy lifting going on at home, they can help out with more than just lawn care.
Llama and alpaca poop isn’t as great of a fertilizer as that of the other animals on our list, so expect to still need some llama and alpaca friendly fertilizer on the lawn.
For a large plot of land, cows will clean it up the most efficiently. All cows do is munch on grass and wander the land looking for more grass. The biggest drawback of using cows is they leave huge cow patties everywhere, which doesn’t make for a great environment to roll around on the grass in.
If you have enough land to give a half-acre to each cow, you will be set. They will easily make it so you never have to get on the riding mower again but definitely leave a mess. You’ll also reap the benefits of fresh milk and meat if you choose to go that route.
Cows can be a lot of work, so if you are looking for a lower maintenance option skipping cows may be a better option. Just remember, some animals provide you with resources others do not. Take these into consideration when deciding on adopting.
These tiny little pets will devour grass when given the chance. Each guinea pig is likely to eat up to five times its body weight in grass each day. Guinea pigs aren’t that large, so you’d need an army to take care of a large plot of land. For smaller homes and lawns, they can be the perfect option to also act as a lovable family pet.
While they will stuff themselves with grass, additional supplements will need to be added to their diet to keep them healthy. They also are capable of slipping through small holes in the fence, so you’ll need to keep a close watch and a tight border on your yard.
Guinea pigs may or may not be your number one choice, but if you have a super small yard and a lot of guinea pigs they will graze away! It’s best if they are fenced/caged in their own space so they do not run away and escape.
Any size yard you have in or out of the city, the right animal is out there, waiting to help you mow your lawn. Grazing animals make a great choice to increase your sustainability as well as reap the many other benefits from keeping livestock around. Whether they are pets or give the wool to make a new sweater, each animal will contribute to the household in more ways than just lawn maintenance. There’s never been a better reason to start creating your own tiny farm!
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.