Looking to start small flock for field improvement

chmcdonald

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Hi all!

My husband and I are looking to start a small flock with the primary goal of using them to rotationally graze a large field to help bring it back to health. The grasses are a good mix, but it hasn't been grazed or hayed in over 50 years...just mowed back.

At any rate, we're looking forward to improving the field with a few grazers, and maybe have some wool besides...we were thinking Shetlands, but I'm curious about your thoughts?

Thanks for the help!
-Christian
 

Beekissed

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Good goal! That is why I got sheep for my smallholding. I didn't want the wool, however, so I went with hair sheep. I would venture to say that any wool breed would suffice, but I'm sure there are folks who can tell you more about this than I.

Good luck! Hey, if you can, maybe you can do a before pic of your fields and then later on, an after? Just to document the effectiveness of it? It sure would be a great learning tool for others! :)
 

6 sheep & a llama

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My suggestion is to do some research because some breeds are heartier than others. Old breeds are good. Also if you are not really interested in the wool shearing is a lot of extra work when you can get hair sheep. BUT I have a small fleece flock and I am loving watching their fleece grow. I have 4 Cotswold (2white and 2black) long wool little coarser and 2 Finn for softer fleece. Good luck.
 

no nonsense

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chmcdonald said:
Hi all!

My husband and I are looking to start a small flock with the primary goal of using them to rotationally graze a large field to help bring it back to health. The grasses are a good mix, but it hasn't been grazed or hayed in over 50 years...just mowed back.

At any rate, we're looking forward to improving the field with a few grazers, and maybe have some wool besides...we were thinking Shetlands, but I'm curious about your thoughts?

Thanks for the help!
-Christian
Good for you. Sheep are responsible for the the current look of the landscape in Ireland today, and it was similar in New England prior to the Civil War.

There are lots of other breeds with better quality of fleece, but if you only want a little wool for crafting, etc, Shetlands or any of the other unimproved breeds such as Icelandics will do fine. For beauty alone, it's hard to beat a nice flock of Jacobs on pasture, with similar fleece quality. Since you aren't planning any type of planned breeding program for one specific trait other than grazing, think about a mixed flock of several different breeds, to get the best of all worlds. If it were me, I'd include at least one meat breed ewe, and put her lamb in the freezer every year.
 
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