Watchful Winter Grazing

As the winter progresses and we continue to graze the sheep on pasture without offering supplemental feed, I am keeping an observant eye on the condition of the ewes. They are having to travel and dig in the snow for grass, which I think is great for keeping them in shape. However, I don’t want to push them too far and have them drop in condition now. It is harder to bring their condition back up during the winter months. 

I moved the flock to a paddock South of the yard two days ago. When we arrived on pasture this morning the girls were up and already spread far and wide grazing. Normally they are just rising when we arrive. Feed wise, the paddocks of dormant grass are not holding them for long. So we moved them again, and they are now on a divided quarter section further South. The downfall of this program is that they crawl through fences much more readily; the lambs first and then the ewes follow.

We are going to move the flock through the last handful of paddocks to let them find what grass there is while the weather and production timeline allows. We will rotate them through the last four paddocks and by then I imagine it will be about time to put them onto the millet swaths. Here they will feed very well and it will be a good boost heading into breeding and the true start of winter. All this planning is dependent on weather. Another load of snow or a hard cold snap will change the plans.

We have a good cover of snow that is staying around so the animals are watering with snow. We take water to the dogs when we feed. They only drink occasionally but it isn’t very cold yet. When the real cold weather sets in the animals will drink more and by then all animals will have access to water at the water bowls near the yard.