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is there a breed of sheep that absolutely loves bermuda grass?  RSS feed

 
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We had two jacob sheep to do garden clean up and then go in the freezer.  They did a great job cleaning up all sorts of things but did not touch the bermuda grass.

We had a foster donkey here for a bit and he did some clean up...he seemed to love being hand fed fresh bermuda grass but didn't eat what was growing right in front of him.

I want to get a pair of sheep for fiber and in deciding what breed I would like to weigh in their interest in eating bermuda grass.

I'm planting trees and shrubby things as fast as I can...much of the grass is shaded out and more will be in the future but in the meantime I'd like to let something enjoy it.  It is really nice healthy bermuda grass.

I know rabbits like it so I've even considered angora rabbits although I'd much rather have angora goats.

This is on the edge of a small town...less than an acre and only two 50' X 50' areas fenced so far.

Any ideas would be much appreciated....I'm not going to fight this grass anymore  

 
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Sorry I don't know about bermuda grass, but won't the goats eat the trees and shrubby things you're planting?
 
Judith Browning
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Sarah Koster wrote:Sorry I don't know about bermuda grass, but won't the goats eat the trees and shrubby things you're planting?



Yes that's true Sarah, goats would love my trees and shrubs, even the jacob SHEEP we had were more goat like in their browsing habits and I have considered angora goats briefly.

I am asking about sheep breeds though rather than goats and I've been careful to plant trees where I can protect them even from the sheep.

The fenced in areas are mostly annuals/garden beds at the moment, open areas, and that is why the bermuda grass is encroaching.



 
Sarah Koster
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I found this in another thread:

Bryant RedHawk wrote:If the pasture is already thick in growth, try broad leaf plants for over seeding in a alley way type planting.
You may have to "scalp cut" ( cut the current vegetation to 1/2" height then run the seed drill immediately so the seeds can germinate before the vegetation can overshadow the new seedlings.
This type of over-seeding works for Bermuda pastures usually.
If you are having too much trouble getting the new sprouts to survive you may have to wait for just prior to green out to get things going your way.


from https://permies.com/t/40/76498/biology-soil

Here is a whole thread about battling the bermuda grass, apparently it not only tastes gross to most animals but is a most formidable adversary:
https://permies.com/t/18951/destroying-bermuda-crab-grass

Nobody's animals seemed super interested except chickens penned in with the grass, but they didn't destroy the rhizomes. Sweet potato plants apparently may kill it. But from the sound of it shade is the best way to subdue it...

EXCEPT for the cows: https://permies.com/t/75109/Bermuda-pasture

And an interesting thought:
"A pasture can be comprised of many different kinds of plants. Which species to plant depends upon the purpose of the pasture, the climate, and soil type. Soil survey maps can help with the latter. The best pastures usually contain a mixture of grasses and legumes. Selecting one or more grass and legume species is usually preferable to commercial pasture mixes which may contain plant species which are not adapted." from http://www.sheep101.info/201/pasturemgt.html

Perhaps they're not so much adverse to eating bermuda grass, as to eating bermuda grass that doesn't have other stuff growing in it? If the bermuda grass doesn't have any legumes etc. growing in it, it might tastes something like lettuce with no tomato or cucumber or other salad finxin's tastes to us. Maybe if you can just get some clovers and other stuff grow with the bermuda grass it'll suddenly be delicious sheep fodder???
 
pollinator
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My sheep don't meet your criteria (st croix- hair sheep) but my observation is they do eat bermuda, but it seems to be the last thing they eat. They will eat leaves off tall weeds, leaving just the stalks as well as any tree leaves withing reach including cedar(ash juniper)

 
Judith Browning
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Thanks Sarah and Wayne!

For years I have spent a lot of time studying  the threads here at permies on 'how to eradicate' bermuda and have just decided my time is better spent trying to embrace it until I have the area well planted in other things to shade it out.

Our son is hoping we get desperate enough for a cow.  There is someone here in town who has a dexter cow tethered out in the ditches a lot  but I don't want an animal on a tether...this one looks really healthy though.

I really want a pair of wool sheep again 

The area does have a mix of plants...chicory, clovers, dock, dandelion, lambs quarters, evening primrose, etc. It's just that this time of year Bermuda grass rules.

 
Judith Browning
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Could someone who is able add this to 'pasture' and maybe 'plants' also? 
I still can't get the 'report' button to work when I'm on my tablet so couldn't ask that way.

Thank you!
 
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Judith Browning wrote:Could someone who is able add this to 'pasture' and maybe 'plants' also? 
I still can't get the 'report' button to work when I'm on my tablet so couldn't ask that way.

Thank you!



Added! I also gave you some PIE so you can add threads to forums. Some how you ran out, and I very much appreciate all the marvelous posts you make, and all the time you threads to forums for us ♥
 
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We have a type of bermudagrass here we call "indian Doab"or 'Couch", it's the same species but might be quite different to the US cultivars. Our Wiltshire sheep seem to eat it happily enough,much more so than our previous Romney sheep did. Wiltshires were bred for good foraging in hard conditions and in some respects have some characteristics more like goats. Ours only have wool in the winter, it sheds off as soon as the days get warm, so there is no wool harvest, but also no issues with shearing, fly damage or messy rear ends!
 
Judith Browning
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Ben, Thanks! I believe what we have growing here is called 'common' bermuda grass and what we buy as hay is generally 'coastal' bermuda.  Animals we've had seem to love the hay and only nibble at the growing grass.  I'll have to check on further identification.

EDIT to add a link    https://www.feedipedia.org/node/471

 
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ie noticed Bermuda grass mysteriously pop up some time shortly after feeding it to horses in regions where i t was not known to be growing.

I might be mistaken in thinking that it started growing from the horse manure, it could have been from the bales of grass from the feed store but it seemed to pop up in garden beds and around them,where the horse,manure was spread out

it may be an inexpensive alternative to hay, but once it sprouts it's a pain in the butt. Even the tiniest bit of root left behind grows into a new plant.
 
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Judith,

Have you looked into Gulf Coast Native Sheep?  They are an American breed of sheep "native" to the Southeast gulf coast.  This also being an area where Bermuda grass thrives it seems like the two might go well together.

They supposedly have a very good quality meat, good wool, and can even be milked.  I am hoping to give them a try here in South Carolina eventually, hoping they can put up with our heat and humidity and all that goes with it better than most other wool breeds.
 
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I think I have had just about every breed of sheep there is and in quantity, but of all of them one seemed to LOVE the types of grasses that the other sheep would not touch. That breed was the Blue Leicester. For instance I had some wet land areas that have what we call swale grass here, and while none of the other sheep would graze it, they would never leave the area.

Another possible breed might be the Montadale, also known as the Western White Face. Those sheep put their faces down at sun-up and do not stop eating until it is dark. Man those things graze the crap out of pastures, and put on weight doing it, but their fleeces suck...maybe 8 pounders?

I am betting money on the Blue Leicester breed if you want sheep and Bermuda Grass gone.
 
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