Feelin' a bit sheepish...

Beekissed

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Penning the sheep this winter until I can get proper fencing built has yielded a few positive things, though it makes me cringe every time I go up there, as I've always felt strongly about penned animals in small feedlots...and here I am, penning some animals. Can't WAIT to get them out on the land. The incessant and torrential rainfall has really put a wrench in anyone doing anything out on the land right now also, so I feel pretty antsy about getting things started.

But, it has had a few bonuses....Shine, my wild girl, has settled down a good bit when I walk into the pen she seems more accustomed to me, doesn't run like a deer and taking the rest with her. I'm hoping that was God's plan all along, so that when they are out on pasture full time and I want to move them from one paddock to another that don't actually touch each other, that they will gladly follow where I lead.

What charmed the black sheep of the family? Feed, for one...alfalfa cubes or pellets, BOSS and a dab of oats has turned me into "the food bringer". But the real clincher was those peanut butter dog biscuits. Even with the feed, Shine was still very flighty and wouldn't let me get a hand on her...but the power of the peanut butter has her letting me pet her face, walk next to her with our bodies touching, putting my hand on her back~she still will jump away from that but not as violently as before.

It also tamed down another member of the flock....Fat May, previously known as simply May, who would knock you down and take your lunch money if she had a place to spend it on food. Those two ewe lambs were always more laid back than the other two, even on their first day here, but Juniper has since become a wallflower, standing at the back, dodging out of the way of touches and not really enjoying human contact.

Fat May, on the other hand, will now let me randomly grab her head and give her a good scratching as she closes her eyes and tilts her chin for more. She LOVES the peanut butter cookie lady and her jaw scratchies. I sure hope she turns out to have a lot of good positive traits as time goes on, as shepherd life is much easier when the sheep let you touch them or hold them still without fighting you on it. Sure would love to have more easy going sheep that enjoy cuddles....though I could do without them taking out my kneecaps when I have feed in my hand. LOL

Loving this sheeple life!
 

Baymule

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You will get pasture ready for them. They aren’t being abused, you are giving them the best care and they are deciding you are not a monster. Sounds pretty good to me.
 

Beekissed

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Have a chance to pick up some great hay if it turns out to be of good quality. Down here alfalfa or alfalfa mixed with orchard grass is going for at least $6-7 a bale, so I never buy it....but this old fella has some for $3 a bale and stored in the barn. Has 100 bales, so we are thinking of picking up 40 if our trucks and trailer will hold them.

That will be good as a supplement during lambing if our grass hasn't come in well by then. Easier for me to handle out on pasture and more likely to be eaten at that time of year.

Just rolled our last big bale into the pen and they attacked it like piranha....exact same hay as the last bale but each one is greeted like something new and better than the last. Funny girls!

Will be getting a bigger trailer this spring so we can take advantage of any deals for mulch hay to roll out on the land but also to feed next winter....after seeing how the girls went for the middle of those old bales this summer/fall, I've learned my lesson on hay. Why buy expensive when they will eat free hay and get fat on it?
 

Ridgetop

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We feed alfalfa. It is the most available here on the west coast and is usually the cheapest. Alfalfa has the highest protein level so no need to supplement our horses unless like 2 of our last sweeties, they were so old that they had no teeth and couldn't chew hay. Then we fed them Purina Senior with a little hay for them to mouth.

When feeding Alfalfa which is high in protein and calcium we don't have to supplement the sheep much either. When feeding any grain I have switched over to rolled barleycorn and they do fine on that. Also less than half the price than any sheep or lamb ration. The Dorsets I had on a higher cost sheep ration in the creep, but the Dorpers don't need as much protein to gain and produce a good carcass.
 

Beekissed

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Got our first farm machinery yesterday....a used 4 wheeler. Haven't ridden one in over 25 yrs but will be having to get on there and learn it all over again. Since we are doing low input farming, we won't ever be using a tractor here and the 4 wheeler has less impact on the soils than a truck or tractor.

We'll also be making a bale roller this year so we can more easily roll out mulch and feed bales on the land this first year and probably into the second year, which is usually how long it takes to produce pasture enough in MIG to be able to grow a good winter stockpile. The goal is to eventually not have to purchase hay and roll it out at all, though it's advised to have some hay each winter in case of heavy snows. Sheep can dig through lighter snows, but really thick or highly crusted snows may require hay supplementing.

I'm pretty tickled to have this work horse on the land, as I've been using my old Cub Cadet for dragging, pulling and hauling things up to now and it's just not built for that. I'll continue to use it for light duty here but the 4W will be able to do the heavy work and it's meant for the task.

Need to get a hitch and winch for it, as well as a cover until we can get the pole barn/wood shed extension built to store it under.
 

Baymule

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I am thrilled for you. A piece of machinery can sure make it easier on the farm! You can even get a small wagon to pull behind it too. That’s great Bee, I’m really happy for you!
 

Beekissed

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I am thrilled for you. A piece of machinery can sure make it easier on the farm! You can even get a small wagon to pull behind it too. That’s great Bee, I’m really happy for you!
We got it mainly to pull a wagon with the water tanks, minerals and dog feeder on it through out pasture rotations....some places are up hill and our old mower just wouldn't be able to do it, especially in the winter months. Eli and I are going to build or retrofit a wagon to hold all these items efficiently.
 
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