Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Jeepers Sheepers!

Well, our pasture mowers have arrived!
Thanks to our neighbor Leanne for these beautiful pictures!
Our flock of sheep are waiting a few days in the corral, 'til they accustomed to the place. Misty, the horse, must be thinking "Jeepers, Sheepers!" She's not quite sure about these creatures that have landed in her world. But- she decided she would stand near them and meet them in exchange for some grain and alfalfa treats. Misty will be hopefully grazing in the same paddocks as the sheep. We'll see if she decides that they are NOT aliens.

They are a great addition to the farm, since they are the only animals besides Misty, the old grey mare, who can eat grass exclusively for their feed. Of course sheep can eat grains, but just like cattle, it isn't very good for them. Sheep, cattle, and other animals like goats,alpacas, and camels are ruminants with a multi-chambered stomach (aka "4 stomachs") Ruminants have this wonderful place in their stomach called...the rumen! This is a special place to digest the tough, fibrous lignins in grasses and forbs, but it's not meant to digest grains. Ruminants' natural diet is 100% greens...grasses, sedges, and forbs- maybe a mouthful of woody shrubs thrown in here and a mouthful of fresh oak leaves there.

So for lamb, beef and chevon (goat) "grain-finished" is not a good thing for the animal's health or the health of the humans that eat the "grain-finished" lamb and beef. Haven't you heard to cut back on red meat? Well, that's because it's "grain-finished" not "100% grass fed" or "grass-finished." But, that's a different story!

For those of you who are noticing how delightfully cute the lambs are- don't worry! Bluebird Farm's lamb is not "spring lamb" or "Easter lamb." Spring and Easter lamb are those babies in the pictures. Don't worry! Bluebird Farm's lamb is older- young animals that aren't babies anymore!

And for those of you that have heard that lamb is tough and chewy or strange- there was a time when "lamb" was really "old sheep." That is what hamburger in the grocery store is- "old cow" and 1 hamburger patty from the grocery store these days contains pieces of meat from hundreds of cows. How about that for food safety?

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us, very enlightening!