While Scott Russo does not own any sheep — one evening, he quickly acquired 200.
How you ask?
Russo resides in Lincoln, California, where the city has a program where they employ groups of sheep to feed on overgrowth on public land.
“Over the next few months you will see goats and sheep grazing within the City of Lincoln’s Open Space, Preserves and Right of ways. This grazing will be conducted according to a City-wide grazing plan and will occur as early as January depending on weather conditions and is typically completed by June 30th. Grazing contractors will be working with the herds 24 hours a day during the grazing period.” according to the City of Lincoln’s website.
So how does grazing happen? It is not only good for managing open spaces but it is also an excellent way to reduce dead plant matter.
“Grazing is occurring for habitat management purposes and will improve the overall health of the City of Lincoln’s Open Space Preserves. Grazing is an effective way to control invasive weeds, reduce wildfire fuels, maintain native plant and animal diversity, and reduce dead plant matter (thatch) buildup. Without management, these items can negatively affect the habitat functions of Open Space Preserves.”
The city will also be monitoring the program to ensure the Preserves are not damaged in any way.
“The grazing will be actively monitored to help ensure that the Preserves are not being damaged or over-grazed. As part of the ongoing monitoring of the City of Lincoln’s Open Space and Preserves, biologists will collect grazing data. This data is used to make informed decisions about how many animals are used in a given area, how long they are left in one place, and is an essential part of the adaptive management of the City of Lincoln’s Open Space and Preserves.”
And on this evening in particular — the sheep were casually eating behind Russo’s house but he quickly realized he had a problem on his hand.
Russo had left a gate in his backyard fence open so his young daughters could see the sheep chomping away.
“I really didn’t think one sheep would stick its head in,” Russo shared with The Dodo. “When three and four came in it was neat. [Then] I blinked and the yard was full!”
Russo, as you can see, was quite busy once the sheep decided to visit his backyard.
But thankfully, his wife thought quickly on her feet and banged on a tambourine — moving the flock back to where they came from.
“Nobody got hurt, only a smashed corn hole board,” Russo shared.
“I won’t leave the gate open again.”
Sheep are considered very social animals — with animal behaviorists noting that sheep require the presence of at least 4 to 5 sheep when grazing together to maintain a visual link to each other.
And in this case — the flock definitely had a strong visual link!
Let’s just hope that next time, they flock to a neighboring pasture and not your backyard.
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