Farm | Our Flerd
Well, it happened, we are now shepherds! It’s not too much of a surprise that we now have eight fluffy ewes, they’ve been on the farm radar for quite a while. After raising a couple lambs many years ago I knew it was a significant possibility that they would be added to our farm someday, because who would not want a lamb?!
So this weekend we brought home North Country Cheviot's, a dual purpose breed. We will be raising them here on the farm primarily for meat but I'm exploring ideas for using their wool as well. While the ‘cuteness’ factor was a heavy player in getting sheep for our farm (of course) they also come with some amazing farm benefits.
Sheep graze differently than cattle, so adding them to our pastures is super beneficial to the establishment, growth and maintenance of our new pastures. Sheep will graze what the cattle do not and are amazingly effective ‘mowers’. With the steep slopes on our farm they will be able to graze where we simply would not be able to mow with our tractor. Mowing is a crucial part of naturally keeping weeds in the pastures to a minimum, and is also essential to pasture regrowth; we are glad they will be taking the majority of this chore away from us.
Having sheep and cattle on the same pasture also allows us to better utilize our pounds per acre. Since both animals graze differently than each other we can get the most return for pound of meat to available grass.
We are also very excited to offer a new product to YOU. Grass-fed lamb has amazing flavor if you haven’t tried it yet we highly recommend you do!
Now to give you background on my new favorite word, flerd. We will be running our sheep and cattle together as a ‘flerd’ (flock + herd). When the lambs are young we will attempt to bond them to cattle, that way when a coyote ventures into our pastures they will run to the safety of the cattle. We have a lot of coyotes lurking around and since neither Matt or I are too keen on a guardian dog we are going to try this approach to keep our new wooly friends safe from predators. There have been many studies in which ranches have had great success with 'flerding' and we hope the same is true on our farm. Wish us luck!
Our flock will play an important part in establishing the pastures on our farm this coming spring. We have a lot of work ahead of us to best utilize this new addition but we can’t wait to see how quickly they change our landscape. We look forward to our first lambing season in April 2018 and offering you Easter lambs in 2019.