Strategically using sheep to clear overgrown landscapes is oftentimes the best first step in the restoration process. Sheep are biologically built to act like four-legged lawnmowers, defoliating everything from the ground up to 5-6 feet high. Their balance and agility allows the sheep to navigate steep slopes and thick brush with no problem. Once they are enclosed within a targeted area, the sheep are extremely effective at removing all of the foliage and tender growth.

The first step is an initial site visit -- to examine the landscape, confirm the perimeter of targeted areas, and offer an estimate.

After we agree on the project scope and price, Nashville Chew Crew will erect a temporary enclosure using a special fencing material. The fence is energized by a solar charger, so it delivers a mild shock to animals trying to get in or out. The shock itself is nothing serious, resembling a static shock, and only circulates through the fence roughly once a second. It’s extremely safe, but, just so no human onlookers receive a surprise, we will place many “caution” signs along the fence.

Once the enclosure is ready, we will deliver a flock of sheep by trailer and guide them into the fencing enclosure with the help of our business partner Duggie, a border collie. The flock will be accompanied in the fenced enclosure at all times by livestock guardian dogs. These livestock guardian dogs remain on site with the sheep and protect them against threats such as coyotes and stray dogs. Learn more about the team of dogs and sheep that make up the Nashville Chew Crew here.



The sheep and dogs remain on site until the project is completed. We will check on all of the animals daily during their stay to ensure access to water and food. (Please note that the sheep and guard dogs are very hardy animals and have evolved and been specifically bred for hundreds of years to survive and thrive in all weather conditions with very little human interaction, no pampering and no man-made shelter.)

The animals remain within the fence until the targeted area has been completely defoliated or until the desired effect has been achieved. After the project has been completed, Duggie herds the sheep back onto the trailer, and off to the next job site they go!


How long does it take to clear my property?
The length of time that sheep will spend on your property depends on several variables: the amount of space being grazed; the number of sheep on site; the plant species present; and the density of those species. As a rule of thumb, projects under an acre in size will take about a week or less. After an initial site visit, a more formal estimate for the project’s duration can be given.

How many sheep and dogs will be needed?
At a minimum, Nashville Chew Crew flocks are comprised of 20 sheep and 2 livestock guardian dogs. Larger projects may require as many as 200 sheep.

Do they stay overnight?
Yes, the flock remains on site until the targeted area is completely grazed.

Are they noisy?
Nope. Happy sheep = quiet sheep. However, if you’re lucky enough to have a lamb born on site, you might hear ewes and their lambs calling back-and-forth. The livestock guardian dogs can be slightly more vocal. Remember, it’s their innate duty to protect their sheep, and alerting potential threats (e.g. coyotes, dogs, strangers, etc.) by barking is their best defensive tactic. The first day or two of a project, you may hear some “conversations” between our dogs and the local critters, but it always settles down. 

Is Nashville Chew Crew insured?

Why sheep and not goats?
There are several reasons Nashville Chew Crew uses sheep instead of goats. First, both animals achieve the same result: a completely defoliated landscape 5-6 feet off the ground. However, most importantly, sheep are, in my opinion, the safer choice when used in an urban environment. Goats are famously mischievous, and firm believers in the adage “the grass is greener on the other side.” Sheep are naturally more gregarious, or flock-oriented, making them easier to transport and contain inside an electric fence.

Do I, the property owner, need to do anything to prepare?
Nope. After you point out your targeted area, just sit back and enjoy your pastoral view.

Will the plants grow back again?
Some percentage of the grazed plants will be eliminated, but more established plants will most definitely try to grow back. For this reason, Nashville Chew Crew is most effectively used as the first step in the restoration process. Having a plan to follow up the grazing is strongly encouraged. I’m more than happy to toss out ideas and offer advice. With that said, some clients choose to do nothing, just so they can have the sheep back for a second grazing!

What kind of fencing is used, and how is it installed?
Nashville Chew Crew flocks are contained with a type of temporary fencing called electric netting. The fence is quick to both set up and remove. The fence is powered by a solar-charged energizer. This energizer sends a relatively benign pulse through the fence roughly once every second. The “shock” received is extremely safe . . . comparable to the static shock generated when you rub your socks on the carpet, then touch an unsuspecting friend. Simply put, it’s enough to make you not want to do it, but not enough to hurt you. It does, however, act as a formidable barrier for sheep, dogs, coyotes, deer, and other large critters.

How do the sheep get to my property?
After a fence has been erected around the project site, the sheep arrive at your property in Ol’ Red, our livestock trailer. From the trailer, the sheep are walked into their enclosure using a border collie. The flock’s arrival and exit are always a much appreciated interjection of farm life in the city.

The Team

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