Rental sheep quietly consume leaves, weeds and ivy in a Sandy Springs homeowner’s yard.

So, who needs Bush Hogs?

Instead, think sheep.

When Kevin and Kathie Brown decided to clear undergrowth from the back yard of their Sandy Springs home, they brought in four-legged eating machines to strip leaves from the shrubs and saplings. They brought in a flock of 22 sheep. Eight goats, too.

The sheep were rentals, of course. They come from a farm out of town, Kevin Brown said one recent afternoon as he trimmed a few tall branches and fed their leaves to part of his four-legged gardening crew.

“It’s kind of fascinating,” the 42-year-old energy engineer said. “They’re a lot quieter than I thought they would be.”

The goats were contained by a solar-powered electric fence so they wouldn’t wander away from the part of the Brown’s back yard they wanted stripped of undergrowth. Although passersby couldn’t really see the goats from the street, the Browns took care to warn their neighbors that the flock was coming. They sent out flyers, Kevin Brown said.

Next door neighbor David Dalrymple stopped by to watch the sheep and goats at work. He seemed impressed. “I spent 15 minutes watching them and they were quiet as a mouse, with just an occasional ‘baa,’ ” he said.

Dalrymple said he has some ivy he wants cleared some day from his backyard. “I’m going to wait until the Browns have completed the task and then talk with them and I may call [the sheep] back.”

Well, Kathie Brown says she’s more than happy with the way things went. “It is fantastic,” Kathie Brown said. “It’s a world of difference. They did a great job – efficient and cheap.”

Kathie Brown says she no longer has to worry about her dogs finding snakes in the undergrowth.

The flock did its work at the Brown’s home on Churchill Drive in less than a week.

While they were there, the sheep – well, one of them, at least – did provide one big surprise, Kathie Brown said. The sheep gave birth to a lamb. “It’s so cute,” Kathie Brown said.

When they determined it was a boy, the Browns named it Churchill, after the street where its mom did a little yard work.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.