I have a lot of Infected fescue and my sheep won’t touch it in the spring and summer. After a couple of frosts and the endophyte is reduced they like it pretty well. It is nice for them to have the green(ish) stockpile in the late fall and winter. I would not choose to plant it but it does that good quality.
I have planted Gamma grass with limited success(northern KY). It is slow to establish. Really took about 3 years for the clumps to get robust. The sheep love it but you have to baby it and graze it high summer and maybe fall when it starts to die back. I think it works best to keep the native warm season grasses in a separate area and just graze them in the summer and late fall and stay off them otherwise.
Congratulations on getting land and good luck.
Like Wayne said, the roll bales and goat manure will improve your land and makes a great garden spot. if you can fence it off from the goats it may be worth growing them forage to throw over the fence and supliment their hay during the growing season. Any number of cover crops make good forage.
I always use hay. Sheep are picky and leave the courser stems to sleep on. It does of course have seeds if that is an issue.
Have not cleaned their shed out for 2 years. Just have to keep adding hay on top. Plan on cleaning out this winter. Should have some great compost for next year.
I didn’t get to go to lambing school yet. I fed copper, cobalt, boron and sulfur plus the Redmond salt, domolite and kelp. If you take out the kelp it cost $7 each a year. They ate the copper 3x faster than any of the others. I don’t know how that compares to Southern States mix.
Sydel has a 5 compartment plastic feeder you can hang on a fence that is easy to move.
Sounds like a good plan. 2 acres should be enough for 4-5 sheep especially if you are practicing rotational grazing.
Be careful of sheep in the orchard as they love to eat bark.
I don’t have any oak trees but I am sure they would love acorns. Sheep are pretty good about picking and choosing how much they should eat of something. (Except clover and alfalfa). They may do ok harvesting there own acorns especially if you can limit there access to an area. They are also good at clearing wooded areas. As long as there are no broadleaf evergreens like rodedendrons and azaleas.
The tannins are also good for parasite control along with not returning to a pasture for at least six weeks.
There are Facebook groups with a lot of good information. Homestead Dairy Sheep, Sheep Farmers, Icelandic Sheep Owners all have a lot of information.
Minerals are also important for sheep there is a good thread about them in this forum. Good luck. Love my dairy sheep.
Baking soda is for bloat. Grass hay helps to keep from bloating as well.
I don't know about the selenium other than we live in a low selenium area and feeding kelp and the higher selenium Redmond salt, we have not experienced problems associated with low selenium. Yet anyway.
Several of mine have them and most almost disappear when they bag up. One sheep's stays about 1/5 the size of her real nipples and have not caused any problems. They could get in the way if you are hand milking but are not a problem with machine milking (for me anyway)
I have been using Pat Coleby's recommendations from her book "Natural Sheep Care". Put out everything separate and free choice. Dolomite, copper sulfate, yellow dusting Sulphur and kelp meal.
They also get Redman salt in a high copper and low copper form. Their are other trace minerals in those as well.
Free Choice Minerals out of Wisconsin has minerals mixed with salt and bran to make it more palatable and less concentrated.
Mine also eat a lot of cobalt (vitamin B12 precursor so they don't get runny eyes) and boron.
Sheep are sensitive to too much copper but seem to know how much they need. At least mine have done good with it over the last 6 years.
I have supplemented lambs that were not getting enough 2x a day with lamb or multi species replacer and has worked out well. Just introduce slowly to build up the gut microbes.
Have never had access to fresh cows milk but would think it would help. It is not as nutritious as sheep milk.
You can freeze any extra.
The hunched over could mean he is constapated so make sure he is pooping.
Hope he gets back on track soon.
Lambs are pretty cold tolerant as long as they can get dry and stay out of the wind.
But where you have a barn available and want to handle the lambs soon after birth, it would make sense to let them lamb in a stall. Then they can bond with their lambs without all the other sheep around. Especially if they are first timers. Usually 24 hours is enough time to bond in my experience.
If you put your electronet where they have access to the barn, they will probably segregate themselves into the stalls or a quiet corner as they get ready to lamb.
As far as vaccination I would go to the website Sheep 101-201 and do what they recommend. I have not been vaccinating mine but will this year so I can sell the lambs easier.
Good luck and happy lambing it is an exciting time. Post pictures of lambs if you have time.
I have Icelandic crosses. If you hang out with them as young lambs they are usually very friendly. They don't like the heat and need shade. The fall clip from lambs can be sold for $100 or more depending on quality, color, cleanlyness and quality of sheer. Familiarize with parasites especially Barber Pole worms. Sheep 101 website is a good place to start. Pat Coleby's Natural Sheep Care has a lot of good info especially about the importance of minerals.
Icelandic's are smart and have a lot of personality. They are a fare amount of work but are worth it.
Very interesting post. Something that has worked pretty good in northern Kentucky is winter wheat/turkeys and ducks. Wheat is cheep in the fall so I spread it over the garden beds several times in the fall. Let the birds eat on it over the winter. They seem to plant as much as they eat and eat on the greens.
They go to another spot in late winter so the wheat can grow and harvest it when the wild birds start eating it.
I imagine it would it would work with barley if you have a source cheap enough to use as bird food as well as seed. Oats would work in milder climates.
I have been feeding my Freisian Icelandic crosses free choice copper for two years with no problems. Have not had to chemical worm. They are rotational grazed and if someone looks anemic they get Coppasure capsule or black walnut tincture and poke berries. I would agree they can figure it out for themselves.
Our lambs are here. The first one was breach. I let things go on longer than I should have. One ewe lamb survived and is doing great. Two ram lambs did not. Am thankful I could get him turned And out. Moms is doing well. The others were normal but big.
Our Indian Runners find a lot to eat in mulch and compost. It seems to break down faster with them digging through it. Have not had a problem with them damaging tree but wrapping trunks would be a good precaution. They love comfrey and clover and it will disappear if it does not get a recovery period. They go in their house to lay eggs but sit outside behind it in the coldest weather and do fine.
Definetly give her time. I had an old sheep that I thought had toxemia and I did not have the money for surgery. She was in labor for three days and I thought I would have to put her down. I came home from work and heard a lamb. In the two hours since my husband had fed the animals and I came home from work she had four lambs by herself. Praying you get a mirical too.
Hope your Larry is ok. On the potential prolapse, I had one that looked like she would prolapse before she lambed but was fine after she gave birth to triplets. Having a prolapse harness on had may give you peace of mind. Good luck!
Dana, you can use it like cows milk but it has 2x the solids of cows milk or goats milk. Makes about 2lbs of cheese per gallon to cows 1 pond per gallon. Makes great yogurt and I am hoping to get better at cheese when the girls freshen in April. I can keep you posted if you want.
Did you consider milking the sheep? I had a Hair sheep ewe that gave almost as much as my dairy crosses. Depending how tame they are, if you separate them from the lambs for 8-12 hours you may get enough to make it worthwhile . It freezes well so we commit to milking once a day for six weeks and the lambs take care of the rest. Sheep are harder to milk by hand but might be worth the experiment
When normally presenting lambs are "stuck" I have had good luck with pulling one front leg out and then the other. Seems to loosen them up from "elbow lock". Good luck everyone it is an exciting time of year.
Got a bucket milker from Hambey's last year and it works great. The only thing to do is order the claws for your species and adjust the pressure on the vacuum pump for your species. It was about $2,000 which is a big investment. It will save your hands and alot of time. I think it is easier on the animals (sheep anyway).
Depending on how much you pay for your ram, and if you are keeping your ewe lambs for breeding and worried about in breeding (line breeding). I keep them together and if the ram gets mean, put him in the freezer after his work is done. They can breed at 3-4 months and the gaminess of lamb is not supposed to come from not being castrated from what i have read and seems to hold true for the few I have eaten. The older ram lambs taste as good as the younger to me. I think being under a year old is the key for taste and texture.
The freezer is the price they pay for meanness.
In the letters to the editor of Acres magazine a reader recommended "Japanese fruit bags" among other things. Which is cutting the bottom corners of a sandwich bag and placing it over the apples when they are about 1'' diameter. I will try some next year on some that are with in reach. Sounds labor intensive but doable for a bushel or two.
I have a lot of different plants with my trees and ducks spent the winter in the orchard (had hoped they would eat a lot of the bugs) but my fruit still is full of borers.
It might be worth a Google search.
I would try again, had a ram lamb go through the 4 wire poly fence and he did not do it a 2nd time. Hopefully they learned their lesson. Sounds like you have a good perimeter fence so if they get out again it won't be a disaster.