Rotational Grazing and available minerals are key to a healthy flock and enriching the farm.
Grass Based Farming
Rotational Grazing is to move the animals frequently to new pasture. Daily is best. This method of raising animals maximizes animal health and land health and minimizes inputs, especially of chemical wormers and medications.
The sheep are moved daily onto fresh pasture.
Rotation Grazing minimizes the use of dewormers because the sheep simply leave their parasites behind.
They enjoy the daily move. They learn the routine and are eager for their fresh salad bar.
Ecosystems based on perennial plants are the most productive. The more layers of green leaves the more productivity. Here the sheep are mowing the orchard. From this piece of ground we get both apples and grass for the sheep.
We use portable electric netting and solar powered fence charges to manage the flock. The photo at left shows how the orchard gets mowed. On the left side has had the sheep on it for one day, the right is ready for mowing.
The sheep are excellent mowers for the orchard and they fertilize while they go.
Great Pyrenees Livestock Guardian Dogs provide natural predator protection for the flock.
The presence of a large dog or two is usually enough to deter the common predators here in Maine. If the loud bark fails, Great Pyrenees will attack to defend their sheep and family.
This ancient breed bonds with their flock and views the sheep as their family. They will even help clean off newly born lambs.
Farming can enhance the environment
Grass based systems are perennial. Perennial systems are self sustaining.
No Tillage disturbs the soil. Tillage is any plowing, tilling of the soil to prepare a seed bed for planting. This is done every year for the growing of annual crops. It burns out organic matter (carbon) from the soil.
Properly managed grazing sequesters carbon in the soil. As grass grows it takes CO2 out of the atmosphere to build itself. When the grass is grazed this carbon stays in the soil (or becomes manure which also builds soil). This carbon becomes humus, the glue that holds soil together and supports microbial soil life.