She got them locked into the turkey’s shed to wait for me to get home. This afternoon we walked the fence up Mack Hill Road, dropping trees for critter food (I think the horses like tree leaves more than the sheep do), and stapling logs to permeable spots in the fence. After that we let all the bad sheep back into the paddock.
We followed Minx and Kaytla. Despite not having been exactly overfed while in jail, they set off at a good clip for the other side of the paddock. They reached the far side, waded into the swamp, around the end of the fence and into the woods.
These were hungry sheep that thought it was more important to get out than to stuff their faces. That’s it. When (not if) they show up to attack the garden, they are dogfood. We considered sausage, but Kaytla is in poor condition and we buy expensive kibble. Critters that get out when they’re hungry are one thing. Ones that simply will not stay behind a fence are another. We don’t need the aggravation.
Aaron slaughtered and butchered Coffee last fall. I presumably ought to do the same to Minx and Kaytla. I’m trying to decide if that’s the best use of my Sunday, or if they should go down to Pelto’s. I’m leaning that way because we’re going basically USDA so we can sell meat rather than critters. That means it really isn’t worth my time to learn how to butcher, as long as we can avoid massive parasite kill like we had last year. If we’re stuck with that, then I need to learn to make our own dogfood. Hopefully the newly cleared land will give us at least a reprieve.
In other news: It did not rain today. That is the first day in at least two weeks that it did not rain. We got six round bales from our hay guy. We put out one for Elly in the trailer to minimize her ability to scatter and trample it, and one for the critters in the woods.They’ve eaten all the accessible browse, so we now need to learn how many saplings to drop each day to minimize hay consumption without wasting leaves. I don’t see any way we don’t drop all the sub-four inch trees this summer. I want to get the most critter food we can as we do it.
Since we have to feed hay anyway, our current thinking is to stick with the paddock we have, and turn our fencing efforts to the other side of the house. Newly dropped trees have no parasites. Fortify the garden, run high tensile for the pigs, start woven wire on the perimeter if we can afford it. Use my year end bonus to buy the three rolls we need to make another paddock out back for next year, where we can repeat the no parasite thing.
The chickens have overflowed the roosts in the coop. There’s room for one more roost, but we also have a broody setting. It’s time to split the flock. There are enough hens to keep two roosters happy, and by splitting them we end the fights while still having backup. The chickens are paying for themselves. There’s not a lot of hourly return yet, but we have chickens buying duck food rather than me working in Cambridge to by chicken food. Go chickens.