We are getting some sheep today and plan on moving our cow here in May. I am just curious how well they would do sharing pasture, we plan on doing the intensive pasturing moving once a day. Or would it be best to have one go ahead of the other in the rotation?
Daisy the cow Cooter the bull calf 5 horses 1 pony 2 mini donkeys 2 chocolate labs 1 english bull dog puppy 11 barn cats
One farm I worked on kept cows, sheep, goats, and a pig pastured together. They did not rotate, however. It seemed to work pretty well; cows, sheep, and goats tend to eat different things in a pasture so it kept the weeds down pretty well, and they all got along alright. The only trouble was that the pig constantly overturned the water bucket to make a wallow! --Charlene
Post by campfarmerangie on Mar 19, 2007 16:10:43 GMT -5
I have no experience with sheep, but my cow is in the same pasture with my goats and pigs. Added bonus: the pigs root through the cow plops and bust it up all over the place! I've only had my cow for a week, but so far, so good.
Good Ground Farm
Wife to the best camp director in the world Mom to two wild boys (9&6) Keeper of a flock of laying hens many guineas (tick patrol) Indian Runner and Khaki Campbell ducks a broiler business Pezra-My Amazing and Wonderful Dutch Belted Buttercup and Ruby the Jersey girls Peeps and Gwen-Jacob Sheep
We have had our sheep in with our cow and they all got along just fine!
One consideration to keep in mind is minerals. Copper can be lethal for sheep so you will have to be sure that any mineral or salt blocks the sheep have access to do not contain copper. So the red trace mineral blocks that are common for cattle can't be used for sheep. I'm sure you will find a way to work this out.
I love looking out my window at the beautiful, peaceful sight of my cow and sheep grazing together or lying down in the sun chewing their cud!
I'll confess that last summer/fall (our first time having a cow and sheep together) we didn't have minerals for them because of this problem. Over the winter i had mineral for the cow in her stall for when i brought her in for bad weather and calving. Then for a few months (lambing season) the sheep weren't in the pasture so we had one out for the cow. Now that they are ready to be put back together, my plan is to have a mineral block in her stanchion feeder so she'll have something to keep her busy after eating her grain while i'm still milking. That way it isn't available to the sheep. I'll put a sheep safe block out in the pasture. Another option i've considered is having it free choice, but high enough that the sheep can't reach it. I have one of those metal mineral feeders with the swivel roof and i might just mount it up on some blocks so it's too high for the sheep.
When we had our Jacob sheep and a big ram with major horns the sheep did not merge with the cows. After we got rid of the ram the ewes closely followed the cows. It reminded me of animals pictured on the African savannah. The sheep clearly felt safer among the cows. There was never any conflict. Well, except for one thing. When they all came into the barn the sheep would hop into the hay feeder to take naps. This annoyed the cows no end. I had this idea to suspend the hay feeder by four ropes from the ceiling beams so that it would be unstable. My theory was that this would be offputting to the sheep. Wrong! At least one sheep was always in there rocking in the "cradle".
Put the mineral in a cut off 55 gallon plastic barrel. You will have to secure it to something so it doesn't get pushed over and dump mineral on the ground for the sheep. We tied ours to a fence. The cows can get to the mineral and the sheep can't reach it. We left sheep mineral out loose all the time and didn't worry if the cattle chose to eat that instead.
Thanks you gave me a great idea as I have a old burn barrel filled just about to top with ashes. So I was able to put a xlarge grain rubber dish on/in it and the mineral blocks on top. Works perfect and its on the way to water tub. So very good location. I watched all my cows at it today a couple times each. They all say thank you and so do I
I do not have personal experience with this (hope to one day!), but I did take a workshop on grazing here in MA a few moons ago, and the lecturer/farmer had his sheep follow the cows next day, saying that his cows ate down to a certain height on the pasture (which was very lush and tall--he had photos) and the sheep would follow, eating it down another inch or two, and then he would take them off of it to let it rest/regrow. Might solve the mineral issue this way without too much work. moi
I have read in many places that cows and goats are dead end hosts to each others parasites. I think the same applies to sheep, but I'm not positive. That would make the pasture sharing a very good thing.
The mineral thing i do think warrants paying attention to. It's true that some cow minerals are toxic to sheep and goats at a certain level. Without a lab handy it's pretty hard to know for sure - you'd have to know the mineral content of what they are grazing, of their hay or their grain. Not only would you have to test it once but virtually every single time to know for certain that you're not overloading your other animals with cow minerals.
I used to just separate their minerals as others have already mentioned rather than take the chance. But if you've already been doing the mineral sharing thing and no one has died (no animal, I have the bad habit of referring to them like they are people:) than apparently it works for you. I would only be concerned if you were going to change the source of their feed there by possibly changing the mineral picture.
Having said all of that...the mineral picture of most of the feed I buy is less than perfect, far less. I buy organic grain and hay from the same farmer and have for the last 4 years. One of his fields has an entirely different nutrition portfolio than the next. I can see it in my animals and in the amount of food they crave and the types they choose. Not only that my own grazing areas are vastly different. I'd have to work at it to overload any animal on any mineral. Still, I separated them.
One more thing. One of the big dangers is copper - well I have to supplement all of my animals with copper, I just do it separately. Apparently I've found a very copper free spot on earth and managed to find a farmer that has one too.
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