LAre you looking for a lawnmower for your garden? How about ditching the electrical equipment and renting a goat or sheep instead? No, it’s not a joke. Some companies in France now offer this unusual option, in order to revive an ancestral agricultural practice.
On the “Allovoisins” site, don’t be surprised if you come across this type of ad: “looking for sheep for eco-responsible mowing”. An unusual technique certainly, but which is actually downright practical. French companies such as “Une ferme chez vous” or “Greensheep” have even decided to embark on this “business” in its own right.
Indeed, grazing animals such as goats, horses or cattle can nibble on your lawn. If your lawn is well nourished, these animals can “mow” it for free! The age-old technique known in French as ecopâturage, meaning eco-pastoralism or eco-grazing, has largely disappeared and been replaced by electric machines, but is beginning to make a comeback in some areas.
And for good reason: the entirely natural process makes it possible to maintain a green space without using pesticides. In addition, it offers animals a green space and even a means of survival. This is exactly the objective of the association “Les Tondeuses sur Pattes”, based in Béarn in the Pyrenees, which saves donkeys and sheep destined for the slaughterhouse.
At the same time, these flourishing companies provide answers to ethical issues, particularly in terms of animal welfare. As the site “Les Pâturages du littoral” points out: “talking about renting sheep seems to indicate that it is possible to place animals in a space and that they will manage on their own. But that is simply not the reality: you have to visit the sites regularly, manage the hay and straw, provide care if necessary, clean the water troughs Sheep management requires expertise and know-how, and that’s the whole point of working with an eco-grazing professional”, explain the founders of the company. on their website. Rather than “rentals”, they prefer to speak of “green space maintenance services”.
It is also the niche of GreenSheep which carries out a preliminary study of the land to ensure the absence of any product that may be toxic to the sheep and provides fencing, shelter and care for the animals by a local shepherd.
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