The strategy of the good sheep and the horses in the back paddock and the bad sheep in the orchard paddock seems to be working. There are still three sheep in with Kaytla and Minx that we’d like to get in with the others, but Kaytla always tries to get out too, and then the normal sheep get spooked when we have to stop K&M. If we could do it however there’s enough grass in the orchard paddock to keep K&M going with no hay until they go down the road with the pigs.
We got a shipment of round bales. Much better than square. However the critters in the back paddock are just sucking it down. We put it in Friday, and it’s more than half gone. Elly’s is in the trailer, to make it harder for her to spoil. So far we’ve been giving the stuff she pulls down to the bad sheep, but I think she gets locked out today to clean up the stuff on the ground.
The geese and ducks seem to be adapting well to the paddock. They’re no longer getting out all the time, and their grain consumption is way down. I did some googling around, and heavy geese apparently don’t reproduce well their first year. Combining this with no water to mate on, it’s not surprising we have no goslings. We’ll try to get them water next year: The problem was that they did their mating in March when their swimming pool was still frozen. If necessary, we’ll switch to lightweight geese, but we’re really happy with this breed. They’re not as feisty as our real heritage breeds, but they give a nice compromise of having some personality (unlike the Pekin ducks or the townie girl hens) while still staying where they’re put.
Predation is turning into a serious issue with the turkeys. The chickens get into the coop and six feet off the ground. The waterfowl are behind a good fence. But the turkey hens go off to brood in the woods (lost another this weekend) and something ripped a board off the shed and ate two poults last night. The ducklings are now big enough to stay behind a fence, but the poults still go through. Poultry net will help with the poults. Perhaps we can clip wings to keep the hens in. The won’t like that. A turkey that makes it to the ridge of the house swaggers for three days.