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Yesterday was such a nice day (and boy, we’ve sure been lucky to have a lot of those lately) that after I sheared the Jacob ewe, I decided to move the sheep. They’ve been stuck in their winter sacrifice area since late November, so greener pastures were a welcome sight to them!

You can see the sacrifice on the right in the picture, it looks pretty bombed-out. I’ve been watching the reed canary grass growth closely, waffling on when to let the sheep go back into rotation. “Boot height” is a great time to graze (or cut) a field, and the RCG isn’t there yet, it’s more like ankle height still. But, RCG grows crazy fast, so I figured it would be fine to let the sheep get started, knowing that it won’t be long before we have too much grass again, and have to cut it.

The transition to green grass is always upsetting for ruminants when they’ve been eating winter hay. So, I moved them late afternoon, just a few hours before their regular evening feeding. That way, they had a full feeding of morning hay and grain, and just took in a little fresh grass before they came running to the ATV evening delivery of food.

I really can’t imagine that hay tastes better than fresh grass. But I think they get very programmed to get excited about a food delivery, and never stop to think, “wait, forget that dried-out stuff from last summer, let’s just eat the fresh grass that’s out here!” They did pick at their hay though, and I fully expect they’ll quit cleaning it up and start choosing more graze. Over the next few weeks, I’ll keep haying them, but reduce it down gradually as I see that their manure looks good and that they are getting enough roughage from the grass. They will continue to get their dry COB grain through the first few weeks of nursing.

This move back to rotation means that by the time they are lambing, they’ll be distant from the road. With apologies to friends and neighbors who enjoy seeing the lambies, I think this is for the best. The lambs tend to create such a diversion that I get concerned for traffic safety, with people slowing down, pulling over, or even stopping in the middle of the road to ogle the sheep. So, if you know us or live nearby, feel free to email or give us a call if you’d like to come and visit and see the lambs in late March, when they should be in their full glory of cuteness. But for strange passers-by, the viewing shall be limited, so drivers can keep their eyes and attention on the road! 🙂

In other news, in the foreground of the photo, the tractor and backhoe are barely visible. That’s because Kirk has been working hard on planting a whole bunch of new fruit trees. I’m not sure how many he’s planted or what varieties, but I know he chose a lot of different kinds of trees, including some fruits neither of us have ever really eaten, like figs! But I’m pretty sure there are also new blueberries, apples, pears, and peaches.

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