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Sheep and trees n stuff

 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
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Location: France
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Our geese only like certain plants in the orchard so we have got some sheep - 4 little Ouessants.  BUT they're eating the trees and not the grass!!!  Plus the geese have some wheat grains to eat but the sheep are eating them too. A friend said that wheat wasn't good for sheep - anyone know why? 

Then apparently sheep like clean water but the geese like the new bowl and keep sullying it.

Maybe sheep and geese are not the best companions and we've made a mistake
 
Fred Morgan
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Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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I might be able to help you with this - we have plantations and run sheep in them.

First of all, if the trees are small (under double the height of sheep), the sheep will browse they tips. Sheep prefer vines, young trees, and many weeds over grass. You can fix this problem with netting, use three poles and make sure to cover the tip (use open netting). We actually use sheep to keep down brush and vines - so you aren't going to teach them not to touch the trees.

Secondly, if you are having problems with the sheep eating bark, it is almost certainly due to not having the right minerals - or too many males. You should have more than one ram until you get past 40 sheep. (rough numbers) More than that, and they will start showing dominant behavior, which includes destroying trees.

Sheep really don't use grain, what I would suggest is putting the grain where only the geese can enter (make a small entrance to a chicken wired enclosure.) If you do something like this for lambs to fatten them, it is called a creep feeder by the way.

Sheep really don't drink that much water, but geese want to play in water. Not sure how to cure this one.  Geese and sheep might not be a good combo.
 
Alison Thomas
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Thank you Fred.  I have netted off the young trees now.  And yes it was the mothers that were eating the bark off the apples trees especially.  We only got them at the weekend.  What sort of minerals do we need to give them and will they take that in a lick form or should it be in with their food?

I'm off to see how I can fence off the grain.
 
Fred Morgan
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heninfrance wrote:
Thank you Fred.  I have netted off the young trees now.  And yes it was the mothers that were eating the bark off the apples trees especially.  We only got them at the weekend.  What sort of minerals do we need to give them and will they take that in a lick form or should it be in with their food?

I'm off to see how I can fence off the grain.


It is important that the minerals are formulated for sheep, not cattle. Copper is not good for sheep. You should be able to find it easily via the Internet or a farm store. Since I live in Costa Rica, I can't help you much with that.

We give it as a lick.
 
Max Madalinski
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I would just like to elaborate a little bit on what Fred said. It's not that copper is not good for sheep, it's that too much (i.e. the levels of copper you might give a cow, goat, or poultry) is toxic for sheep. Sheep do however require a very small amount  of copper to boost their general immunity and resistance to parasites.

Here's a link to a good article about it:
http://www.sheepandgoat.com/articles/revisitingcopper.html

Also Pat Coleby's book, "Natural Sheep Care," has a very thorough treatment of the role of copper and many other minerals in the general well-being of sheep.
 
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