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Monday, May 9, 2011

Grazing question for my sheep-owning friends.

This is the first year we've had sheep that don't have to have their daily intake moderated for auction, and I have enough odds and ends of panels and gates and posts to be able to fence a portion of our orchard for the two ewes and the bottle calf. The twins, Addie and Maddie, will stay in the dry lot with the mini-horse so we can grow them for the fair/auction.

So, my question is: Is it safe to put the ewes (who have been getting grain and good grass hay on a dry lot

(see picture)

to a green, lush grassy area similar to this: (actually the area where they'll be is about 2 x's as deep in green spring grass/weeds)

(see picture)

Should I put them in there for a couple hours at a time, or can their stomachs handle the switch without too much problem? I know horses will founder/colic on a rapid change.

Thanks for your advice...

Wishing you a day of hope, faith and joy.


  1. I transitioned mine from a dry lot to green pasture by cutting long grass for them to nibble on with their alfalfa for a few weeks and then only letting them out for a few hours for a couple of weeks. However, I am in no way a sheep expert, having only owned sheep for about 7 months.

  2. They can bloat. So I would limit them, gradually allowing them longer access. Check your weeds as such things as sheep kill will kill them.

  3. Gradually, very, very gradually! They need to be introduced Very Slowly, an hour a day, two hours a day...the more slowly the more work but it's no work at all compared to them getting sick.
    As well, make sure the lot has no noxious weeds that can cause damage or death.
    It's always easier and less expensive to keep them healthy and well than to play catch up later.
    Visiting from somewhere I can't remember but glad I stopped in -smile-. I've had sheep fifteen years.