Sunday, July 20, 2008

beans, lambs, and hot weather

Last week the heifers were loaded and went down the road to the neighbors. I was our intention to start a small beef herd, but between our inadequate facilities and rising feed costs, I know it was the right decision.

The heifers are having a good time at their new home, as you can see in the photos on my lovely wife's blog. I am proud of how well they grew, but just as happy to concentrate on sheep, our myriad of poultry, and the gardens.

About a month ago, the ram lambs that were getting too precocious were separated from the ewes. Yesterday, they got turned onto the now empty cow pasture and seemed to really appreciate some new grass. They also met electric fence for the first time. As they grazed up close, they hit the wire with their noses and learned the boundaries. Three hot wires is really minimal for sheep, but they are trained to follow us in at night to a more secure paddock. The most important part of sheep fencing is not keeping the sheep in-it is keeping predators out. the worst predator in this area is the domestic dog allowed to run free. Coyotes will also take sheep, especially small lambs. The best defenses are fences, a good farm dog, and a handy firearm.

The meat chickens were running loose, enjoying the grass and bugs until it got hot, then they started looking for any shade. A couple of them found shade under the bucket of the front end loader while I was taking a break.

We also got the lambs vaccinated, and I also got a first nice picking of green beans. God willing, we will have a freezer full of lamb and green beans on the menu for Winter.


wildside said...

A freezer full of beans and lamb sounds like a good winter stash! I am hoping to buy 1/2 a lamb for our own this year and it seems I've found a local, grass fed source.

We had lots of coyote on our farm growing up -- also cougar, wild dog packs, etc. -- sheep had been tried before my time, but they proved too difficult...

Yours look nice.

The Midland Agrarian said...

thanks for dropping by.
We are very fortunate in that though we have coyotes (I have seen them), but they do not bother the sheep.
One neighbor who has farmed full time in three states says if they are leaving your stock alone, leave them alone.

Coyotes are very territorial. If you trap out the local pack, another pack may move in with a taste for killing domestic animals.