Summer On Our Farm
Throughout the early summer months the lambs continue to nurse their moms while eating lots of fresh grasses in our beautiful hay fields. They generally eat grass for about an hour, then go and rest in the shade, and chew their cud for about an hour, and then go back to eating grass again. During the hotter summer days they will eat less during the afternoon and more during the cooler overnight.
We give them large paddocks of fresh grass daily using portable, temporary, electric netting. The netting is the most effective method of keeping our flock safe during the warmer months of the year. The netting moves in the wind and gives a good shock to a wet nose. Coyotes creep up and get zapped and never touch it again. Coyotes will not jump it because of it moving and they can’t climb it because it’s so flimsy. Since they won’t touch it, they do not dig holes under it.
Neighborhood dogs are different, they will sometimes jump the fence, rather than creep up to it and get zapped. These dogs will chase the sheep to death if given a chance, (just for fun - just being a happy dog), a coyote will kill just one sheep for food. To prevent this we use guard llama’s. These are truly amazing animals, that we cherish. They will stare down a coyote or dog which keeps them from taking the chance and after 30 minutes or so they leave. Not all llama’s are guard animals, only about 5 to 10 %, and they are born with this instinct.
Mid Summer we wean the lambs from their moms, giving the moms a much needed break from milk production. The lambs just get to be too big and can damage the mom’s udder, and they no longer need the milk.
Every summer is different for us as the weather really dictates when we can get our haying done. We have about 4 months to get all of our 100 acres cut, tedded, raked, baled, moved off the field and either sold or stored in our barn - Twice (1st and 2nd cutting). In early and late summer, we need 4 days without any rain to get it done because the ground is damp and there is a heavy dew in the mornings and early in the evening. Mid summer we can usually get the hay dry and up in 3 days, but not always. Some years we finish up most or all of our 1st cut over the super hot, dry days on 4th of July weekend. But some years, June is just so wet you can’t get enough dry days in a row to get it done. Other years the summer is so dry you never get regrowth for a 2nd cut. Every year is different and it’s always teaching us something new.