9 June

Grazing In The Heat

by Jon Katz

For as long as I’ve had sheep, I’ve been fascinated by the way in which they deal with extreme heat. Without quite realizing it, I’ve come to emulate them.

Sheep are both desert and mountain animals, they can handle extreme weather. Heat is tougher on them than cold, as they are fairly heavy and their thick wool doesn’t help them, even if they are sheared.

If they can, sheep will hole up in the shade during the summer heat, and graze at night. When the temperature gets really hot, we generally leave the pasture gates open at night.

They can come and go as they please. And skip the worst of the heat.

This morning, I opened up the South Pasture, they were all clustered at the gate, whining and demanding to get in. We’ll leave the gate open until tomorrow morning.

Zinnia has a hard time with the heat, so I threw the ball for her early.

Because of the sun and rain, the grass is shooting up, and we will have plenty for the summer. We move the animals in and out of three different pastures, usually for a week at a time.

Rotational Grazing helps them be comfortable and gives the pastures a chance to recover. Sheep eat low, donkeys eat high.

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