Animal Impact

I arrived home last evening and feeling the gratifying weariness of hosting a stock dog camp and then traveling to another immediately afterward I didn’t argue when Allen offered to take care of the chores.

Thus, it wasn’t until this morning that I was back out and about again, greeting guardian dogs, seeing the flock, spying the cows in the distance and peeking in on the horses. It was while we were out and about that I noticed one surprising change that took place while I was gone.

Green plants were growing in the small training pen in front of the building. Why is this surprising?

Just prior to sheep camp this is what the area looked like. Notice the packed gravel surface and lack of greenery.

Knowing we’d be using the area to work new dogs in during camp, we spread some old, decaying straw and some new wheat straw to create a softer surface for the dogs and sheep. The pen size and surface worked very well and we thought nothing more about it until this morning. This is what the front pen looks like now. 

 A closer look....

There is wheat sprouting all over the pen.  Working sheep in the pen for a few days caused significant disturbance of the soil surface. So much so that seeds from the wheat straw were able to germinate over the course of a few days. All we did was spread some straw and move sheep about; at the time we had not given those choices a second thought.

Seeing this example of animal impact is a pleasant surprise for us grass loving folks. I am very encouraged by this and would like to recreate it in other areas in need of a little TLC; like the larger paddock at the back which is currently supporting a good crop of Canadian Thistle.