Greener Pastures

The new barn is coming along quickly! The barn is pretty much finished except hanging the doors and putting in the interior dividers, and the new perimeter fencing just got put in this week! The only major thing left to do is put in a water supply. And move the sheep, of course. That’s going to be fun.

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It’s not very big as barns go, but it’s much bigger than the clubhouses, and should be a much better shelter in the snowy/rainy seasons.

The new field is a over two acres total, which is more than twice what they have now. Actually it’s way too much grass for the number of sheep I currently have. The rule of thumb for Kentucky that I learned in college was three sheep per acre year round and up to nine per acre during the spring/summer, but I’m assuming that must have been based on either really bad pastures or humongous, fast-growing commercial meat sheep. My flock of thirteen can’t keep up with the single acre they’re on now.

The big downside of the new pasture is that it was seeded with a (in my opinion) particularly stupid hay mix years ago, and even though a lot of weeds have crept in over the years, it still has a lot of red clover growing in it. Which makes it extremely rich for grazing, and dries into a horribly chaff-filled hay which seems to be magnetically attracted to sheep fleeces.

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Lots and lots of clover.

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Tons of clover. So. Much. Clover. Way too rich for my primitive sheep, especially the boys. The field is going to be subdivided into at least three sections, but I’ll still have to use the electric netting to only let them graze small areas at a time until they can acclimate. Either that or wait to move them until the pastures have died off for the year.

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“We’re moving to that field?! I love that field! I stare at it through the fence all the time! Don’t worry about the clover, I’m definitely positive I can handle all the clover!”

Barney likes clover. Eating clover makes him a bit less grumpy. Which is why I’m pretty sure his guts would explode if I just turned him out in the new field all at once. When I go back to the barn he likes to stand there at the adjoining fence and make sad eyes so I’ll feed him clover stems through the fence. Every animal on the farm seems to have figured out I’m a pushover for big, sad eyes, and I think they must practice their begging expressions behind my back. Spoiled little things.

I’m not sure how long it will be before everything’s ready for the sheep to move in, but at this rate it should be ready in plenty of time for next year’s lambing season. I think they’re going to like their new place!

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7 thoughts on “Greener Pastures

  1. VERY exciting, esp guts exploding from clover haha Interesting re the sheep vs acreage and you are most likely right and those primitive (NOT STUPID) sheep get by on a lot less and thrive! Barn looks great. Congrats.

    • Exploding guts are the kind of excitement I could do without. 😮
      Yes, primitive sheep are much more feed efficient than “improved” breeds, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. Lowers feed costs, but it’s harder to keep them from bloating or getting fat. Especially wethers.

      • I had a kind of gut problem here over the last 4 days, my Ir Wolfhound puppy had a stomach blockage, an Ileus, with a barium swallow plus X-rays and lots of fluid therapy, IV catheter at home also. Finally passed the blockage this AM in a stool……….a large hard felted lump of WOOL…can you imagine that??? I did tell the vet I suspected it was wool. Dang puppies or I need to be a better house keeper………….WOOF!

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