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What animals control grass?

 
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I’m wondering what animals I can use to control grass regrowth in the humid tropics when establishing an agroforest. I was thinking pygmy cows (small so they don’t destroy the young trees), muscovies & geese, guinea pigs (probably too small for broadacre) and tortoises (not sure if they eat grass).

What else? Are there any sheep varieties adapted to the humid tropics?
 
master pollinator
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Capybaras?
 
pollinator
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I'm in Hawaii and use sheep to control the grass. I maintain two small flocks of 10 adults each. I rotate them round my 20 acres, plus they go next door every 3 months to knock down my neighbor's grass. They do a better job than goats, in my experience. They are far easier to handle and confine than cattle.

There are several varieties of hairless sheep that do well in the tropics. But I avoid Dorpers because they are less resistant to parasites than the others.
 
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I use geese and ducks to mow my garden and lawn. The geese eat lots but so do my ducks even though they are omnivores. We had to mow maybe 3 times during the whole growing season. Not the tropics here but I can attest to their grass mowing abilities.
 
Windy Huaman
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Su Ba wrote:I'm in Hawaii and use sheep to control the grass. I maintain two small flocks of 10 adults each. I rotate them round my 20 acres, plus they go next door every 3 months to knock down my neighbor's grass. They do a better job than goats, in my experience. They are far easier to handle and confine than cattle.

There are several varieties of hairless sheep that do well in the tropics. But I avoid Dorpers because they are less resistant to parasites than the others.



Do they go after other plants, or do they strictly eat grass?
 
Windy Huaman
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Tivona Hager wrote:I use geese and ducks to mow my garden and lawn. The geese eat lots but so do my ducks even though they are omnivores. We had to mow maybe 3 times during the whole growing season. Not the tropics here but I can attest to their grass mowing abilities.



Do they eat your garden plants too?
 
Su Ba
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Most domestic grazing animals eat plants other than just grasses. I can't think of one that eats only grass exclusively. My sheep will eat a wide variety of forbs in addition to a fairly wide variety of grasses. But they don't eat everything. There are even grasses that they won't touch, or only eat when everything else has been consumed.

Will they eat garden plants? Short answer = yup. They won't eat pumpkin or squash leaves, but they will eat the pumpkins and squashes themselves even before they are ripe. Most veggies they will sample, though some will be fully consumed. I keep my main garden fenced so that it won't get destroyed if the sheep happen to bust out of the current pasture.

They also eat many tree leaves and young twigs. Citrus is a favorite. They'll even eat the fallen fruits. Passionfruit is another preferred food....every leaf and fruit they can reach. But unlike goats, I've never had my sheep debark a tree.
 
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Capybaras need more water than solid land (think alligator farm) and present a variety of problems in domestication, including disease. You might find this interesting. https://www.appropedia.org/Micro-livestock:_Little-known_Small_Animals_with_a_Promising_Economic_Future_7#16_Capybara

You`ve mentioned hilly terrain, I'd suggest water buffalo if it were flat. There are some smaller cattle that are heat tolerant but I think you're going to have to go to India to find them.
If you used rotating paddock/pen systems rabbits could be good, but depending on the rain/rainy season situation in your location that might not be viable.
 
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We kept our "lawn"/pasture "mowed" by rotational grazing our growing goslings (and ducklings) when our riding mower broke this year. They don't do a perfect job but they do a pretty darn good job. I have no personal experience with ruminants other than helping my neighbor wrangle his cows when they get out from time to time but I've done some research for future plans. I'd imagine a rotation of sheep then geese or something of the like might work out well. The sheep might eat some things the geese don't and visa versa. I believe most of the hair sheep varieties descend from sheep from tropical climates. Barbados blackbelly sheep perhaps? They're supposed to have good parasite resistance.
 
Tivona Hager
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Do they eat your garden plants too?



I do have to have fence off most garden beds, particularly in late spring through early autumn. The ducks and geese don’t eat most perennials or bushes. The geese munch new bamboo shoots badly in spring. Any of the birds would completely eat any kale green, purslane, or lettuce to nothing. They don’t bother my tomatoes unless I am harvesting then they think they are helping me. Potatoes they seldom bother unless they can see a tuber at the surface. Ripe blueberries hanging low they will occasionally nibble.

They do an amazing job of keeping me walkways down and bushes weed free. Strawberries are safe but occasionally they take a berry. My oca they have no interest except when I am messing with it, then the geese take a few polite nibbles to support my work. As the grass grows quickly they loose interest in many garden plants and my tree collard leaves sticking over the garden bed fence are ignored. One of the best aspects of having them in the garden is the ducks eat slugs. When I moved here they were everywhere. I seldom see them now.
 
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