Thursday, April 08, 2010

Comeback Farms :: Chapters 13-14 Book Report

What has been going on since I blogged last? Rain, a bit of rain, rain, wind, heat, sun, rain, a little more rain, hail (and damage to the roof), and more rain. It has been bleh ... needless to say I've been out slogging through the mud and trying to tie up other loose ends as the farmer's market season draws near. But, I have also been finishing up "Comeback Farms" by Greg Judy and thinking about putting some of those thoughts into practice on the farm. These two chapters deal with multi-species grazing ... specifically sheep ... specifically hair sheep!

In chapter thirteen Mr. Judy talks about the benefits of multi-species grazing. He says that he had been dragging his feet for years because of all the fears he had about adding sheep or other animals. What I really appreciate is that he takes each one of the fears that he had and then shares how they worked through them on his farm. I thought I would share a few that really hit home with me from this chapter.

Extra Fencing :: He uses 5 wires of hi-tensile electric on the perimeters and then 4 wires for the interior paddock divisions. I'm pretty close to set in that regard.

Worming Sheep :: They are focused on building a 100% parasite-resistant flock of sheep on their farm, so they cull for that and have found quite a bit of success it seems.

Sheep Need Shelter :: Mr. Judy provides no shelter for his sheep on pasture and they lamb out on pasture as well.

This quote from the chapter gives a good perspective on the benefits of multi-species grazing, "What was once nuisance plants, weeds, brush, etc., become food for your animals. The cattle eat the grass and legumes. Sheep go after the broadleaf weeds, blackberry and some grass." Reading this kind of stuff (and the resolutions to the perceived problems) gets me really excited about the possibility of adding sheep!

Chapter fourteen deals specifically with building fence for sheep and goats. It is nice to have some details of what works on their farm. I especially like the description and pictures of the five strand gates he makes using polywire tape. There are two gates that are at the bottom of the pasture on the farm and this is exactly the kind of gate I was thinking about building. Now I have an idea of how to do it!

As you can tell (and will tell as I cover the next few chapters) I'm excited about the possibilities of hair sheep ... there will be more on that to come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good to see you maybe are interested in hair sheep. I am from Minnesota and, yes, they are hardy creatures. They take temperature extremes very well. I have had lambs born outside at ten below zero and do well. The ewes are vigorous so the lambs are are prompted up very soon. I have used some natural wormer for mine, just willow leaves and branches. There is no shearing needed either. I do like the taste of the lean meat much better than wooled lamb. To me the wooled lamb has a taste of lanolin to it.
I do like the way these sheep clean up pastures of many weeds and brush including prickly ash and the like.

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