Nancy Reading wrote:Good write up Bartholomew. I don't keep sheep myself, but we have a lot of 'free rangers' here that will happily come in and browse if I leave a gate open! The local sheep tend to be black face and cheviot , with some Texels, although those tend to be pastured better. I'm sure it isn't true that they eat everything, but they can certainly spoil a garden! My neighbours have hebridians and they are small and pretty.
I don't think that the sheep will do much eating of the bracken fern - here that is a pernicious weed on the open hillsides anywhere the soil is better. The sheep do keep it down a little by trampling, but would have to be stocked pretty densely in the early summer to knock it back much. I've not seen them eating it. The best way to reduce it I've found is to cut it midsummer just as it gets to full size, that knocks it back and it gradually decreases, alternatively shade it out with trees!
Andrew Mayflower wrote:The cottonwoods will coppice like crazy. The stumps can be difficult to fully kill unless you keep at them. They're of no real economic value (they make poor firewood, and mills won't pay over pulp prices if they take them at all - I couldn't give away a full log truck worth of clear straight logs), so if you can use them to feed your sheep that's likely their best and highest purpose.