Its nice to have the sheep so close to the house in the winter. We can watch from our living room window as they eat hay or walk around the barnyard. I have to admit, though, its much nicer to see the sheep back on pasture.
But just because we can turn the sheep out onto pasture doesn’t mean the work load gets any easier. We rotate the flock through a fresh paddock every 1-3 days. This forces the sheep to graze the paddock more evenly. Left to their own devices, the sheep would pick and choose only the tastiest of forage, leaving behind an unevenly grazed pasture with some spots grazed to the dirt and others with grass still 12 inches high. Over time, these unevenly grazed areas allow the spread of weeds and other non-digestibles.
This intensively managed method of grazing also allows us to minimize the exposure of the flock to lethal parasites. By rotating the sheep quickly through a paddock, recently laid parasite eggs won’t have a chance to hatch and reinfect the sheep before they’re moved to a fresh pasture. There are dewormers that can kill these parasites, but overuse can lead to resistance and eventually inefficacy. It is our belief that by minimizing exposure, we can keep our flock healthy without relying solely on these dewormers to keep our flock healthy. But even with all the work that goes into keeping the flock healthy and happy on pasture, its well worth the effort.