The move from the Caldwell pasture to the Parma alfalfa (lucerne) field went without a hitch. Our one worry, was how to move a llama (Cookie) in a sheep trailer. You see, the sides of the sheep trailer do not even come up to Cookie’s shoulder. The problem was solved with the addition of an arch made of ranch panels. Making a kind of Conestoga wagon looking trailer. The ranch panels are part of the moving fence that was going to have to be moved to the new grazing grounds anyway. As expected Cookie layed down and relaxed during the half hour ride to the new digs. As always, as hard as it is to get the sheep unfamiliar with the trailer, into the trailer. It is just as hard to get them out when the trip is over. With the doors open, they just stand there staring at you. ‘We are just as happy here as there thank you.’ But then, most sheep are not big on change.
The alfalfa field still has a small amount of green alfalfa, and everyone enjoyed the change in diet. The grass/clover hay they have been eating has been good, but fresh greens, especially alfalfa are a real precious thing this time of year. as an added bonus, the alfalfa field has a sandy loam soil. Unlike the clay bottom land they have been in all Summer long, the sandy soil does not make a wet muddy mess during the Winter . Not that we have seen Foot Rot in any of our sheep, but a wet muddy mess is the perfect breeding ground for it, and nobody wants to see Foot Rot.
The farmer that is letting us use his field was going to move a whole lot of manure this winter from the local sheep sheds, and spread it on the alfalfa field. However, with his schedule rapidly filling up, he was glad to have us graze the alfalfa, and fertilize his field the easy way. With the lower fuel and equipment maintenance costs for the farmer, and yummy graze on dryer pasture for the sheep, this arrangement is expected to work out well for all parties involved. To prove the advantage of quartering the sheep here, we are moving the sheep in defined strips with ungrazed strips in between. It should be plainly visible where the sheep have grazed come the growing season. If it does the alfalfa some good, I am sure we will be welcome back next winter.
It was a bit of a rocky start as Del was introduced to the flock. Well, he has had through the fence contact, but not a full contact introduction.Interestingly, that limited introduction was enough, and he was accepted by Cookie, and the Wenslydale and Wenslydale cross crowd. The Bluefaced Leicester Texel, and Teeswater crowd were going out of their way to pick on Del. We ended up separating the “Meanies” from the “Buddies”. Del was feeling confident and at home with the Buddies, after all, his big bro Churchill was one of the Buddies.
After about 24 hours, we then moved Del in with the Meanies, and reduced the size of the pen to about 6ft. x 8ft (2m x 2.5m). There was a bit of pushing, shoving, and head swinging smacks, but no one could really harm Del. I am not saying that Del was an angel through the process, he did try to assert some dominance too. It is amazing that he would even try, because he is about a fourth as large as the others. I guess he figured, “Nothing ventured nothing gained.” All Betsy wanted was for Del to stop smelling at her backside. She whacked him a couple times to get the point across. After all, a lady must demand some standards of behavior from the gentlemen surrounding her. From then on, she was fine with Del
Del with his new friends, the Buddies