What is zero grazing?

Zero grazing is an approach to animal management in which families contain livestock in an enclosed, shaded area and carry fodder and water to them instead of letting them wander in the open where they are more likely to catch diseases or damage the environment.

Poor resources play a major role in the environmental problems of many countries. Impoverished people often must make short-term choices based solely on their desperate need for food. Many farmers have no alternative to cutting trees for firewood or putting animals on overgrazed land — practices that can harm the earth.


Globally, we are pioneers in combining hunger and environmental concerns. Animals provide food and income while serving as a catalyst for many changes that benefit the earth. HI-SA believes that development must be sustainable — projects should be long-term investments in the future of people and, ultimately, the planet. That’s why we teach our partners environmentally sound farming methods. Through our training, families learn how to keep their small plots of land healthy and renew the soil for future generations by planting trees and using natural fertilizer.

Benefits of a zero grazing pen include:

  • Healthier animals due to less contact with diseases.
  • Manure concentrated in one spot so it can be collected and composted for fertilizer to replenish the soil and grow more vegetables.
  • Less damage to fragile ecosystems.
  • Managed breeding.
  • Sheep wool stays cleaner.
  • Decreased mortality rate of offspring due to improved health.
  • Protection from predators.
  • Extensive grazing takes energy from the animal for moving over long distances to obtain sufficient grass. So rearing in a zero grazing unit, with some daily exercise provided, saves the animal’s energy for growth, meat and milk production.

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