Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pasture questions

For those of you that have pasture for your animals, what type of maintanence do you do? Do you fertilize? If so, when and with what? Do you seed? If so, when and with what? We are having trouble finding any solid information. The neighbors aren't very informative, they pretty much say we can do whatever we want. I know the one neighbor got chicken poop sprayed over his fields a few weeks ago. We plan to set up a pasture rotation schedule soon, but with only 5 animals right now, the poop isn't going to be enough I don't think.

In other news, the garden is tilled and I've been busy planting, composting, mulching etc. In some parts the garden is only 2 inches deep before you hit hard clay so I need to really do some work! We are getting a truck this weekend! Finally, I need dirt, compost, mulch and livestock panels. All of which I need a truck to get.

We tried to catch the sheep today to deworm them and had no luck. We got them into a stall easily, but once they were in the stall we couldn't catch them. We are too timid, in truth we are both a little scared of them. And they are fast! We need a catch pen or something to get them into an even smaller area. We've been seriously considering selling the sheep even before this. We really like the goats and the sheep just aren't doing it for us. The jacob goes after the goats, so we were already considering selling her. The lamb is scared to death of us and hides behind her mom all the time. The only one we kind of like is the dorper. No final decisions have been made yet.


Sondra McCoy said...

no advice here...I'll ask the sheep farmer tomorrow.
The horses are calming down.
Animals, why are we doing this?

Christy said...

I do wonder why. I hope your sheep adventures go better than ours so far. I guess if she is going to care for them (deworming, shearing etc) it will be good. I'd like that deal actually!

Jax said...

I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Jackie and I'm in your boat about getting land and being more reliant. But I am doing what I can to prepare to move to the country. From canning to gardening is quite a change for a former BIG city gal. In a twist of ironic-ness, I was born and raised around the perimeter of Atlanta but now call NE Wisconsin home. Good Luck on your farming projects and animals!!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

No advice from me either. We only get grass to grow here once a year, during Monsoon season in July and August. The rest of the year, the woolies eat grass hay.

I hear ya on the sheep. We got both of our sheep when they were lambs and they are probably a little more friendly than most, but nowhere near as affectionate and friendly as the goats are.

The sheep are pretty easy to catch, just by grabbing their wool and then sticking them between your legs for worming, vax, or shearing. It does help if they are in a smallish pen, though.

Unless you plan to harvest their wool, spin or knit, I can't see why you'd need sheep. Quite honestly if you want very soft fiber, you'd do no wrong with a couple of Angora goats.

Good luck with whatever you do, and hooray for your garden's progress.


linda m said...

Congrats on your garden progress! You must feel so much better now that the ground has been tilled. Don't know what to tell you about the sheep. Just follow your gut feelings.

berryvine said...

We have pastures and cut hay every year.We use chicken litter on our pastures in the fall. We have bermuda,fescue, and orchard grass.The litter is usually enough but without knowing what part of Ga. It is hard to tell. You may need some limestone also. I would take some soil samples to the Ag dept and get them tested. They usually have advice on grasses that grow well in your area.
As for the sheep I can't help. We have goats. I enjoy the goats but the kids can be hard to catch in the spring.We usually start feeding a bit of feed to the does to get them coming in when it is time to worm and wean then we do the snatch and grab. It can be humorous to watch.

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

I haven't had any sheep, they sure are cute when they're little. If they are so stubborn, wouldn't be much fun.

Mike and I just adore our goats though, in a few weeks, we'll be back in goats milk, looking forward to that.

Christy said...

Jax - Nice to meet you. Maybe you can learn from my adventures. So far, it has been a lot of work, very stressful and overall pretty fun.

Lisa - I'm actually thinking about getting a few pygora. We wanted sheep to eat the pasture and to possibly eat ourselves. I think what I may do is get some freezer lambs, let them eat the pasture until fall and then send them in. Then I don't need to worry so much about de-worming, vaccinating, shearing etc. I'm not sure I want full time sheep.

Berryvine - Nice to meet you too! We are near Athens. I'll bring a soil sample in. Our pasture is fescue, rye and bermuda from what I could gather. It had cattle on it before we moved in. We just aren't sure if we should do anything to it, or just leave it be.

Joanna - Logan and I really like our goats. Hubby hates them, he likes the sheep much better. His goal is to not have to mow the pasture very often so he wants animals out there to eat it.

Melody said...

Okay, here is my 2 cents. (BTW - with my comments, you get what you pay for ;-)

If there were cattle there before, it has already been fertilized, if you know what I mean, so I wouldn't worry about it.

And, unless you were raising horses, I wouldn't worry about growing any certain type of pasture because your goats and sheep won't care.

I say you should just enjoy your "free time" and just watch the existing grass(es) grow! =)

berryvine said...

We are up near Helen about 45min from Athens.So I guess we are neighbors. Good luck with the sheep.

Gayle said...

Sheep are stupid. Really. They spend there time looking for a way to kill themselves. They aren't very lovey-dovey and not near as fun as goats (although goats can be very distructive). I have a sheep and she bores me, but she isn't too much trouble. If you aren't thrilled you should just find them a new home. It costs a lot to feed an animal you don't love. Just my two cents. :)

tina f. said...

I got a shepherd's crook a few years ago and learned how to use it. It's not that hard and it sure makes it easier than trying to rope them with a lasso. Getting them into the stall makes it a lot easier too. Once there you can use the crook (mine is a neck catcher--use a foot catcher for the babies or smaller animals). Once you catch them around the neck you can slip a rope or halter on them so they don't get away until you do what you have to do. Barring that you need to have at the very minimum two people, more would be better. You single the sheep you want and slowly get it into a corner. I find that if you stoop over with your arms outstretched and everybody slowly approaches the sheep in the corner, by the time he bolts one of you will be close enough to grab it or at least slow it down so someone else can catch it. In that case the more people the better. Hope this helps and good luck!

Christy said...

Tina - Where did you get the shephard's crook? It sounds like just the thing for us.

Linda said...

Pat Coleby has a book about farming and she tells how to remineralize your pasture. I don't have that one though. I do have Natural Goat Care by her and I have ordered natural Sheep Care by pat Coleby.