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Grazing Sheep and Geese in rotation

 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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I do not have very much experience with sheep. I've been around them plenty. I've lent a hand here and there, but I've never managed a flock. I am however curious about perhaps getting 2 or 3 lambs and grazing them on rotation with geese. Has anyone done this? I would (ideally and I think quite possible) have about 1.5-2 acres of grass in 4 to 5 paddocks. I would be interested in running the geese and sheep separately in succession. All experienced opinions welcome and sought
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Hi Landon,

I'm just curious, no experience with sheep or geese except been around them a lot but never responsible for them. I wonder what is the point of running the separately. Geese are grazers, eating a lot of greens, right? Is there an advantage of keeping the separate over keeping them together? I know geese raise a mighty racket. They might not attack a predator, but they would let you know if a predator was after your sheep.

I'm interested in seeing what I can learn form this thread. Planning to add sheep to the goats this year, and hadn't thought of geese too, but now, hmmmmm

Thekla
 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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Well sheesh now I have even more questions in addition to an answer

Thelka,

I was thinking of running them separate for a few reasons. First I think that 4 sheep would probably be plenty for the size of land I mentioned and I'd like to raise quite a few geese up as well. I don't want to cram them to tight. Second I thought that perhaps geese and sheep have different grazing habits. Like the sheep clip the tops down supper far and the geese just seem to take the top half or so. I thought that by putting them in one after another I might be able to get more animals ins. Like if I ran the sheep through first mowing things down and trampling things up a bit. Move them. Give the grass 4 or five days. Move in the geese. Rest for 12 days. Or some such similar nonsense.

Should it be the other way around maybe? Would I have to worry about bloat one way and not the other? What about parasites? Mammals being mammals and all.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Landon, I am just not the one with the answers on this. I know they say you can run chickens between visits from goats/sheep, and I think the interval how long you leave the animals off the pasture is what is critical re GI parasites, but I don't know how long that interval is. I think you could get the info through good old google.

I have some goats now, a year ago I had none.

I'm gaining some confidence, and learning a lot. I'm curious about the idea of geese. Soon you will know a lot about that topic, right?

T
 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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Well, provided that I get to continue pursuing my life and happiness without someone stepping in to fuck my game, I certainly intend on trying to learn as much as I can - how much I end up knowing is probably subjective and defiantly relative.

I do have some good books dealing with animal husbandry. I'm just looking for input from real live people with practical experience. Still seeking opinions/answers on 2/4 sheep and 6/18 geese grazed in paddock rotation
 
Katy Whitby-last
Posts: 280
Location: North East Scotland
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It would be best to put the sheep in first as it is better to avoid overly long grass with the geese or it can cause problems in their crop. The geese will help with liver fluke if that is an issue where you live.
 
Kris schulenburg
Posts: 112
Location: Henry County Ky Zone 6
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Hi Landon,
in my experience with sheep over 2 years, they are very easy to manage and healthy with the huge exception of Barber Pole Worms (Haemonchus contortus).
The worms start to hatch in 3 weeks during warm wet weather. There is more info on this thread.
Hair sheep are more resistant than wool sheep.
"Natural Sheep Care" by Pat Coleby is a good book.

Sheep love weeds more than grass so i would guess they would be fine to run with geese.

Good luck, sheep are awesome
 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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Thanks Kris and Katy,

Kris, I have a bunch of creeping little blue flowers in my lawn (of unknown variety) and yellow creeping buttercups - Are these the kinda weeds a sheep would love to mow (m'-OW not m'-OH) ?

Katy, I may have to try mixing the rotations up a bit - especially depending on time of year. It has been my experience with my grasses that the geese have no problem taking them while they are burgeoning on over grown (I have thin succulent grasses for the most part. I had been thinking of running the geese over first for minimum compaction and cutting the lawn down to size. Moving them off for 4 or 5 days. And then running the sheep over to smoosh in the goose fertilizer and crop down the grass short before waiting a good spell (10 to 14 days at least probably more like 20-24) before moving the lightweight geese over again - and if the geese weren't content and full at that point the sheep certainly wouldn't be.

Anyhow, who knows if sheep are in the cards are not this season. Not me yet. But I am thinking about them and I'm glad to have the experience and support of y'all available
 
Kris schulenburg
Posts: 112
Location: Henry County Ky Zone 6
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sheep are supposed to be good about eating what they need and leaving bad stuff alone (as long as they have a choice).
Butter cup is supposed to be somewhat toxic so i would not "make" them eat it, but if they eat some its probably ok (i don't have any so no personal experience).
If the blue is creeping charlie(blue/purple flower) that is supposed to be toxic to the liver, mine nibble at it and eat more late in the season and they are fine.
We used to have to bush hog late in the season for iron weed and rag weed but now they eat most of it. they like bind weed too. You all are a different bio-region so i'm sure you have different weeds
Hope you can get your sheep!
 
Landon Sunrich
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Posts: 1703
Location: Western Washington
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Thanks Kris,

Also for giving me an an Idea what is NOT growing in my lawn

Not-
http://landscaping.about.com/cs/weedsdiseases/a/ground_ivy.htm

 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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