Andrew Mayflower

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since Oct 13, 2017
Northern Puget Sound, Zone 8A
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Recent posts by Andrew Mayflower

Put down a lethargic broiler that seemed to have a leg issue.  After plucking there was a patch of skin on the back that looks weird.  See pictures.  What is the cause, and is it still safe to cook and eat?  If not human safe is it ok for dog food?
2 days ago

Su Ba wrote:

How much lawn/ grass do you have? Growing sheep can really eat a lot of they are eating just lawn. They prefer to eat a lot of forbs, which lawns won't give them. Suburban lawns aren't normally good sheep pastures. Thus you may have issues with bloating and other eating disorders due to lack of long staple fiber. Free choice hay will help prevent this. Have a back up plan if you run low on grass. Since you plan to eat them, you really don't want them losing weight at slaughter time.

Watch which pellets you offer them. Avoid everything with copper, including mineral supplements or salt licks with copper. Go with a sheep approved pellet. Or use a whole grain. Be careful how much grain they eat per day. Grain and pellets change the rumen chemistry which can lead to several types of metabolic problems.

Take the time to train them to the a Premier 1 fencing. With no prior experience with it, they can quickly become entangled. Sheep tend to jump forward when startled, either running through the fence or getting caught up in it. I've never lost any sheep to this fencing, but I've had friends who came home to find a dead sheep tangled up in the fence. By the way, I use Premier 1 fence to mob graze my flock, and I love the stuff. But it did take time to get the dumber ewes safely conditioned to the fence.



I've got a solid 2 acres of grass, and another 2.5+ acres of mixed brush, forest, and cleared but not yet growing anything.  

The pellets from the local mill are zero copper.  

How do you like to train the sheep to the fence?  Other than putting them in it, and watching them to see how they react to getting shocked, and being ready to rescue them if they get stuck, I'm not sure how you'd do that.

Travis Johnson wrote:This is a VERY poor plan. There are toxins from the lawn being mown so many times, so close to the ground, that will harm sheep.

Buying from a livestock auction is also a very poor idea, and the prices seem rather high.

Surely you can make sheep friends on Facebook Groups, or other online places nearby, and buy your sheep from a reputable farm instead. I waited 10 months to find the right flock of sheep, but was glad I did.



Forgive my ignorance, but what toxins come from mowing?  Other than a little engine exhaust from the mower, which is pretty minimal, I'm not sure where there'd be any toxins?  The only fertilizer I've put on it in the 9 years I've lived here is chicken manure from raising broilers and doing pasture rotation the last couple years.  And I'm a lazy mower.  I set the mower as high as it goes and barely keep it mowed enough to not clog the bagger.

I haven't seen many prices better than that for lambs locally, but I'll admit to not being on FB pages or other online places specific to local sheep raisers.  What would be a good price for a couple lambs to raise for just a few months and then slaughter?

Terri Pine wrote:Finished on grain or pellets?  Pellets work better, but I don't know what's in them.
Make sure you have good, fast-growing graze at least when the lambs first show up.  They sometimes take a while to get used to your forage mix, and you don't want them to get skinny while figuring it out.



I guess pellets.  Local feed mill makes a 14% protein pellet they say is "All Purpose" and marked for "Sheep and Livestock".  I've had great success with their broiler pellets for my meat chickens.
Posted before about wanting some sheep, and trying to figure out details.  I'm thinking about maybe picking up a couple (2, tops 3) lambs at a local livestock auction.  From their June 3 sale info: "Lambs weighing #50 to #68 selling for up to $115.00/head; Ewes selling for up to $120.00/hd; Sheep $50.00 to $230.00/head".  

Mostly I want this to be a learning experience to get a taste for what I'm setting myself up for if I get a few ewes and a ram later on.  Lower risk/cost this way, and fewer variables to keep track of and calibrate for.

My meat chickens go to freezer camp this Saturday, along with 3 BB turkeys.  The other 8 BB turkeys will be processed around mid-late July.  Heritage turkeys will be kept to Thanksgiving or possibly Christmas.  But, I was going to use just one of the 2 Premier 1 nets for the turkeys anyway, so I'd have 1 left for lambs.  

Thinking to just put the lambs out on my lawn in that extra poultry net and let them graze, and move them as needed to keep them in tall enough grass.  Around mid-October when the grass will be about done growing for the year I'd slaughter them.  That way I don't need to feed them much if any purchased food.  Also gives my hunting buddies and me a chance to practice skinning and gutting before elk season so that hopefully we can do a better/faster job since it won't have been 2 years since the last time.

Figuring that way it's only a 3 month commitment, and I'd only be into it for $200-300 as I already have the fencing and water tanks, and I can probably knock together a shelter from crap laying around.  If I manage to find someone (Craigslist or wherever) sell cheaper or giving them away, so much the better.  For something like this I don't think breed matters particularly as I won't be breeding them or trying to harvest wool, or anything else.  As long as their hooves are in good shape, other than maybe initial de-worming I shouldn't really have to do much maintenance on them during such a short time span.

Where am I going wrong in this thought process?  

Wife likes eating lamb.  Doesn't think she'd like mutton.  So I'm not terribly inclined to get the Ewes.

Also, wife doesn't like grass fed beef (or at least not any she's tried from other people).  Should I be considering feeding the lambs at least some grain for their last 2 weeks or month, or is most lamb in the American market entirely grass fed?
I've not read the old reply, but for my meat chickens I'm using the electric poultry netting from Premier 1.  Not cheap but it works.  I generally move their paddock weekly.  Granted the meaties can't fly over it, and if you are concerned with flightier egg layers that might be an issue.
1 week ago

Travis Johnson wrote:Oh...one more important point.

I mentioned fencing...NOT NEEDED!

Cows cannot chew through rope, so on many of my cows, before I got fencing for my sheep, I would just tether them out.

I made a metal plate that had to plates welded to it at angles, then a eye pad that swiveled at the top. I would just bury this metal plate in a shallow hole, attach a 50 foot rope to it, and then to the cow. As it neared the end of the rope, it would pull on the metal plate causing it to dig harder into the ground, yet the swivel kept the cow from winding up its rope. I never had any problems, and as the cow grazed down all the grass. I would just dig a new hole, bury the plate, and then have him graze that down. I had to move it every week, but that was not so bad. Just be sure to place the water bucket where the cow can drink, yet not within the circle so it would ensnare the rope. It will likely knock it over anyway.

A welding shop could make the swiveling deadman for about $20.

In the end it would be very cheap to graze a single cow. Just be sue to always check on the cow once per day for water needs, and amount of feed it is grazing on.



If you could post a photo of that deadman that would be appreciated.  I think I understand your design, but a picture would be nice.
1 week ago
What is a reasonable estimate for expenses to buy and raise a couple steers?  This is important as that expense is all up front, and then it takes quite a while to eat all the meat and realize the value in terms of lower grocery bills.  Plus, I don't want to wind up raising $20/lb beef.  It's fine if it winds up a little more than I could buy it for at the store, I just have to keep it close.

Let's say Dexters just to keep the breed variable down.  Don't include things like fencing, as that is highly dependent on local factors, both specific to my property and my geographic area.  Mostly I'm interested in the price of the steers, feed costs (assuming sufficient grass except from late-October to early/mid March, and finishing on grain for 1-2 months), parasite control or other vet type care, and anything else that's a potential driver on costs.  

My hope would be that if we get any steers that by the time slaughter is upon us I'll have a CoolBot type of chiller set up and the ability to do all the slaughter and butchery myself.
1 week ago
Not sure I'd trust the turkeys to keep the chickens safe from actual raptors.  They might do fine, but I can't say that with any real confidence.  I have plenty of hawks and eagles in this area (I'm near the Skagit River that I think has some of the highest bald eagle populations in the state, if not country).  That said, I've never had an issue with raptors depredating my chickens.  Just corvids.

For ground based predators I depend on electric net fencing.  
2 weeks ago

elle sagenev wrote:I never noticed my turkeys guarding. Now they do love to run over to things, whatever that thing would be. So I can see them running over to some other bird eating scraps. I watched my turkeys step on the chickens. Like not on purpose but turkeys get BIG ya know. Never had disease problems either having a mixed flock.



They can definitely be a bit of a proverbial bull in a china shop.

With that crow, the turkeys were definitely defending, not just running over to observe.  There were calls, displays, whole 9 yards.  And when it's just a curiosity thing some of them will start to filter off after a minute or so.  With the crow they were all very attentive and focused until it left.
2 weeks ago