Updated: Nov 24, 2020
I mentioned in the previous blog about the 5-paddocks we've been using in the rotation for the green tag ewes (maidens) and their lambs (November-Oscar-Papa-Quebec-Sierra paddocks). The first and last paddock were grazed nearly three times as long as the middle three paddocks, and it has had major consequences. The first and last paddocks have had twice the fertiliser and one less grazing to try and help it recover (November is about to miss another grazing as well on the next round). One more step to help November is I moved the sheep out today after only three days in there - leaves grow leaves. As you can see in the photos and videos below, there is too much growth in the middle paddocks anyway, so they need grazing earlier.
There is a major consequence of keeping sheep in a paddock too long. It takes months to recover and in our case, there are many tonnes/ha less of pasture produced. I don't have clarity on the cost of moving the sheep (potentially more mis-mothered lambs) versus more nutritious feed produced to enable us to carry more sheep and lambs to grow faster if we do keep them moving through the rotation.
My gut feeling is I have to obtain and select better sheep with stronger mothering instincts so that moving them is much less of an issue. In amongst our current flocks, there are some mothers that will not let another lamb or ewe near their new born lambs, but too many that will forget they had three lambs instead of just one.
Anyway, have a read through the notes with each photo and video below as I try to explain what is happening.
The video below is of the maiden ewes + lambs, and two alpacas, move themselves from November into Oscar. The paddock in the foreground is a little ram paddock I will be moving rams into after this.
The video below is a little closer showing the maiden ewes and lambs moving from November into Oscar.
The final video below is of the rams, and 7 runt lambs, being moved into Romeo 6 (the ram paddock adjacent to Oscar). We had recently done a genetic test on some of our rams, and some runt lambs, to see if there is one or more rams throwing these runts. If there is a correlation, those rams will be culled.