Culling to make the herd suit your management and pasture.

What is your herd and pasture management/husbandry style?

  • Make the management fit the animal or pasture? If so, why?

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  • Making your pasture fit your management? If so, why?

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Beekissed

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Wonderful view on husbandry and one that I share:

https://tannachtonfarm.com/2018/02/25/greg-judy-on-toxic-fescue-part-3/

Greg Judy on parasite resistant sheep, not deworming livestock, graining sheep vs. grass fed sheep, etc. His portion of the vid is a little ways into it.


What kinds of pasture and herd management have you tried or are currently trying? Has that been successful/profitable for you?
 
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Beekissed

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On culling/breeding for fly resistance, lice resistance, parasite resistance, etc.

 

Beekissed

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I've been doing this sort of thing with chickens for years...basically taking a good breed or two and then accentuating the good traits I like to have in my flock~good, reliable production of eggs and meat without extra supplements, without deworming, without crutching them along with meds, parasite and disease resistant and good feed thrift .

I can't wait to do it with sheep also and it's comforting to know that some have already been doing it and quite successfully.
 

Baymule

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My immediate flock plans are for parasite resistance, good mothers who give birth without assistance, have and raise twins and good growth in the lambs.

Pasture plans, establish Bermuda and Bahia for summer grass, endophyte free fescue and clovers for winter/spring grass. I got 2 small strips of giant Bermuda established this past spring and ran the water bill up keeping it alive in the heat. Naturally, we had a drought. It's is well rooted now and will be there forever. I have a VERY good stand of lambs quarters and ragweed--in my garden! I am going to transplant both in pastures, protected by fence, so they can go to seed in the fall, come up in the spring. I currently have 2 bags of triploid rye grass seed and one bag of crimson clover seed to spread. The crimson clover reseeds readily and comes back, the rye doesn't survive the Texas heat to reseed, but it will provide a quick grass to give the sheep something to graze in the meantime. There are a variety of weeds that I encourage to grow, the sheep love deep rooted weeds.

2 years ago, I sowed white arrowleaf clover and white ball clover in 2 pastures. The white ball clover reseeded well and came back, the white arrowleaf did not. Since my husband loves and adores the deep red crimson clover, we sowed it in front, along the road and down the driveway. It came back and even spread in areas we did not plant. I also sowed Kentucky 32 non endophyte fescue, it reseeded and came back.

I have very little existing pasture. We have cleared, machete chopped, chain sawed, spread mountains of wood chip mulch, spread sheep, horse and chicken manures, to get the patches I have. One year, we dug up Bermuda and bahia sprigs off the side of the road and planted them in pasture #2. There is also crab grass and various weeds in that pasture. That pasture does well, just not enough of it. It has a lot of trees.

We recently cleared 2 1/2 acres behind the horse barn and another 3/4 acre across the pipeline, in the far back corner with a forestry mulcher. This winter, we are going to push the wood chips into swales to catch water run off and help prevent erosion. We also have a lot of thinning out of smaller trees to do. Even though it is a thousand times better than it was, we still have a lot of work to do before it can become a pasture. We were going to plant rye grass and clover this fall in the 2 1/2 acres, then realized that we would be running over it with the tractor, duh.... There is still a lot of trees, my husband loves his trees, it was like pulling teeth to clear anything here. To me, grass is wealth. To him, keep every tree and buy hay. :\ He is finally coming around. LOL

We use the dead hay from around the horse hay ring for them to drop hay, poop on it and trample it in. We use the dead hay from the sheep barn to spread for humus and the grass seeds in it. We bought 40 square bales for $3 each, to lay on the pipeline, it's the worst soil on the place. We have the horse hay ring on the front half of the pipeline, to move it every time we get another bale. After we cover the pipeline from the gully to the front, then we'll go across the pipeline to the back fence and repeat the process. We didn't start there, with winter rains coming, it would be tough to impossible for the tractor to get across the gully.

So there you have it. One of these days I am going to have lush, green grass-winter and summer. The winter grass is easy, getting something seeded or sprigged that will survive the heat is a challenge, working on it!
 

Beekissed

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Having only two ewes and a ram lamb, my first focus is going to be on getting the numbers up....more hooves on the land, more mouths on the grass. After I build the proper numbers, I'll start to cull hard for those that do well on my land, my grass, and with my management style, which is low interference....culling those that perform poorly, breeding those that perform well on grazing and foraging. No grains at any time, no vaccines, no dewormers. My goal is using them to develop superior graze so that I don't have to depend on hay to get them through the winter, even in drought years.

The pasture is what it is...whatever is in my soil seedbank and whatever takes hold out of the hay I spread or feed on the pasture in the first 2-3 yrs. Whatever comes up, they will have to eat...those that do well, stay. Those that don't do well, get culled.

I'll be doing intensive, managed grazing that moves the animals every few days to fresh soil and grass, giving the pasture rest times in between it being grazed once again.

My complete goal is sustainability. How can I use the land to produce meat, hides, and maybe even milk, not to mention improve feeds for my free range chicken flock, that also turn the increased quality of grass and the wildlife that live within it to meat and eggs? How can I do this with a low start up cost and continued low input as the years go by? How can I get out of spending money to mow 3-5 acres of land over the coming years?

I have an 85 yr old mother here that I'm caring for and her dementia is gaining ground...currently she does all the mowing and weedeating as she enjoys it and it's one of the few things she remembers how to do. This past season she had trouble with that, so I can see the handwriting on the wall. So, getting a setup in place that only requires I move a temp electric wire, water and minerals every few days while improving the animal's performance seems to be the best solution. It's the one God brought to me and I've learned to trust Him on things. Soon the mowing and weedeating chores will be at a minimum....only out the 1/4 mi. road/driveway that she maintains. If I could figure out how to move the animals on to that I'd do that too! :D Not our land...

So, ultimately, I'm making the animals fit my management and pastures, as well as the getting the breed most likely to fit into both. I'm also managing pasture so as to fit the animal and my management style. I'd guess you'd say it's a holistic approach wherein all things are taken into consideration but nothing is really forced into being what it's not and is not sustainable over time.

Over time I'd like to take the high tensile back through the woods on this ridge and develop silvopasture there so as to optimize this place as fully as possible...with the added benefit of creating game plot quality pasture for the deer around here. Doesn't hurt to harvest free government beef every now and again. :D Better yet if they've been eating improved graze, forage and mast from the managed woodlots.
 

Beekissed

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I'm sorry to hear that about your mother. I know you are giving her the best life possible with your care. :hugs
Thank you, Bay. It's hard to watch my best friend slowly disappear...it hurts in a way that's hard to describe... but I feel very honored and humbled that God has put me in a place in which I can serve her and love her like she has done for me in my life. What a blessing to have the chance to do that!

First, He moved me to become a nurse and work as one for most of my working life, then He gave me a job I love using those skills for a person I love. Can't beat that with a stick!
 

Baymule

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I have reached the point where I’m culling pretty hard now. I have 10 ewes, that’s the numbers I want, but there are 2 or 3 that will leave after weaning their lambs. Out of 10 lambs, there are 2 ewe lambs I want to keep, if they make the cut.
 

Beekissed

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I have reached the point where I’m culling pretty hard now. I have 10 ewes, that’s the numbers I want, but there are 2 or 3 that will leave after weaning their lambs. Out of 10 lambs, there are 2 ewe lambs I want to keep, if they make the cut.
Of the ewes you will cull, will you keep their offspring or cull those as well? Or did Ringo put enough of a twist on their faults that you will keep them and see what happens?
 
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