Grazing Right Along…

Where the line was drawn...

Where the line was drawn...

 

We intensively graze our pastures.  Using electronetting, we make a small paddock and turn the sheep loose for a couple of days and then move them onto the next patch of grass.  We have found that just letting them loose on the entire pasture, they are a lot more picky about what they eat and overgraze in certain areas while hardly touching others.  Using this method they still pick and choose, eating the best stuff first but in the end it looks like a lawn mower has sculpted the area leaving it neatly trimmed.  The above photo was taken in their most recent grazing area. We turned them loose in half of the winter wheat pasture that was looking a bit weedy, we are a bit curious to see how well this area will come back  and what it will look like in comparison with the rest of the wheat this fall.  Also turning them out in the weedier half of the pasture helped to mow back those plants before they set seed and spread.  While we would like to say we have perfect pastures we will openly admit it something that is always in the works around here and being constantly re-evaluated and the dynamics are always changing based on a number of things.  Right now we  are battling Wormwood, Knapweed and some Downy Brome or commonly known as Cheatgrass (which is a bad word around here!) and are trying different control measures on them.  The sheep seem to love eating the Knapweed and will eat the Wormwood when young and will eat the Cheatgrass, which before it set seed is great but once it set seed is not so good…

Last night while moving the sheep onto their next rotation I was taking pictures of lambs and noticed something wrong with this guy…

What's wrong with this guy?

What's wrong with this guy?

 

My initial thought was that something must have chewed on his face.  When  we finally caught him,(darn things are sooo fast!)  he looked pretty gross… (Don’t look if easily bothered by ickiness!)

Poor little lamby...

Poor little lamby...

After looking over his abscesses Mark found a Cheatgrass seed head had worked it’s way all the way through the inside of his mouth and starting to come out the other side!  While trying to get him cleaned up Dugur showed up to help…
Dugur helping...

Dugur helping...

There were three separate abscesses filled with groody gunk and Dugur walked up and instinctively knew right what to do.  It was sort of neat to watch, Dugur ever so gently started to lick him and clean up the gunk.  The lamb just laid there and tolerated it amazingly well.  After his cleaning session we applied some gentle iodine and Blue Kote and will look at it again tonight.  Luckily we don’t have very much Cheatgrass, but I know what part of this weekend will be spent doing… Cheatgrass
Pictures below from http://www.invasive.org/
Downy Brome seed head-IMG by Tom Heutte

Downy Brome seed head-IMG by Tom Heutte

More info on Downy Brome found here
Downy Brome IMG by Howard F. Schwartz,

Downy Brome IMG by Howard F. Schwartz,

One comment on “Grazing Right Along…

  1. […] was the one who had the three terrible abscesses in his cheek from the cheat grass.  Look at how well he has healed! Bliss is a black grey ewe […]

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