Friday, August 28, 2015
Putting the Sheep Out into the Garden
As I mentioned yesterday I moved the movable fence portion of the West paddock from one side of the garden area to the other. Pulling all those panels and posts, moving them, and pounding them all back in again is a real pain but for the moment made more financial sense.
That's a flowery way of saying at the moment I have more time than money really.
Eventually I think I will put a permanent fence between the garden and the West paddock and one on the side of the garden. Then all I will have to do is use temporary fencing on the West end of the garden plot to close it off so this moving panels will not be necessary. I need to leave at least one side open to till the garden plot with the tractor though.
I really wish I had taken a before and after shot of the overgrown garden area. My original plan was to plant Buckwheat in the garden to keep the weeds down and it kinda worked for a while until the constant rains stunted and then killed the Buckwheat. After that the weeds came in full force.
Since I can't let the sheep back out into the hayfield now until I fix the fence in the back and I can't fix the fence in the back until the underground cable guys get here to tell me where I can drill post holes on my own property I decided to run the sheep into the garden to keep em busy for a few days.
They made quite a dent on day one though.
The above picture is a part of the yard I enclosed in with the garden. You can see how much of the short grass they ate in one day. That little mound was an area I hadn't cleared out yet and had weeds chest high. They made very short work of that.
My plan is to let the flock browse this area now until I sell the excess and put the ewes in with the rams. Even then I will still have about 10 members of the invalid and youngin flock to run in here all Winter. Then about March I will move the fence again and till the garden up for Spring.
While not as good a four legged tilling crew as a couple of pigs they still don't do too bad of a job. I have also been thinking if I enclose it off separately I can use it as an emergency holding pen or temporary ram pen if I need to work on their areas.
One thing is for certain it shut the flock up for a day at least. They were so busy munching on weeds and surviving pole beans etc. they didn't have time to complain about anything.
Today Littlebit (the Hamburg Hen) took one of the Americauna hens with her when she went exploring outside the coop area.
I have looked everywhere around the coop area and there are no eggs other than the chocolate brown ones anywhere to be found. Either the stress is keeping the Americauna and Hamburg hens from laying or as I suspect they are not mature enough yet. As I said the roosters seem only interested in the Red and Black Sex-Link hens so far. They haven't even tried to mount the new Barred Rock hens either.
Already one of the old Black hens is showing signs of death. She pretty much sleeps the entire day and moves very little. Rocky, the Barred Rock rooster was so concerned about her he checked on her frequently and brought her food from time to time. Seems counter productive to lose a hen so soon after forming the flock but I knew those four old black hens were old anyway. So far they have actually done a fine job of keeping the mixed and matched flock of young hens together peaceably.
I think it was a pretty good call on my part to specifically ask around for old hens when I started this endeavor.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!