Monday, July 4, 2011

Sheep come to Badgersett

The 4th of July is exceptionally appropriate for this development. We're hoping to become a little more independent of fossil fuels. After decades of mowing grass between nut bushes and trees, and paying for endless and increasingly expensive (now to the point of ruinous) gas and diesel fuel; we've acquired sheep.

The hope: we can make it actually pay. Not this year; of course. But we've chosen two breeds to try out at first, and both are versatile in their produce. Sue wanted Babydoll Southdowns, which she'd been studying about for some time; and I wanted Icelandics; likewise. Both breeds bring high prices for their meat and fleece, and the Icelandics have also been selected for milk production, for hundreds of years. In case we ever want to go there.

Two of the Babydoll lambs; we have 3 lambs and one ewe. And;

Three of the Icelandics; we have one ram lamb, 4 ewes, and a wether.

Today, for the first time; we really put them to work. We've had them for a month or so; but have spent that time in getting to know each other, and doing a little training. The movable electric mesh fence, could be a little iffy with the Icelandics, if they challenged it and got their horns stuck in it. So we did a few days of training, first; combining both the non-portable electric fence originally set up for the horses, then upgraded to "almost" sheep tight, with the mesh. Both together were apparently quite convincing- because on moving them today into the apples; not once have we seen any of the sheep "test" the fence; they respect it, all the time.

And that; we hope, can make it easy.

Time, perhaps, will tell. We're doing tight accounting. Meanwhile- if you're mowing grass- maybe you should come see the integrated animals, on our upcoming Field Day (Aug. 20 - more soon).

Moving the sheep was an adventure- neither any of us, nor these sheep, had ever done it. If we're lucky; Brandon may post a movie of the drovers and sheep...


  1. Moving the sheep was an adventure

    Oh, man, this brings back too many memories.

    Sheep's brains are too small to understand concepts like "path", "of", "least", and "resistance". Which is why they are confused when you put scary-looking people with waving hands in places where you don't want them to go, and no scary-looking people in the one place they're supposed to go.

    In an ongoing argument about which are dumber, cows or sheep, my brother finally won because he pointed out that cows will follow a four-wheeler with a hay bail on it, and sheep will not. Or maybe he lost the argument--I forget. At any rate, for small flocks, it's often easier to transfer them one-by-one, where they can't spook each other and/or divide and conquer your sheep-transfer crew.

  2. You forgot to mention that you moved them when the one person who has experience moving large numbers of sheep was gone. Silly. Silly. ;-)