Monday, July 18, 2016

Foul and fowl

In her comment on yesterday's post, Jean asked what cheat grass is and why the sheep can't be out on pasture with it. Theresa gave a thorough answer on the first question, and here is the answer to the second question:

The sheep can be – and are – out on pasture when cheat grass is young and green, although, like Theresa said, it is low in nutrients. So the sheep seek out the better quality forage, nipping it down and leaving the cheat grass to proliferate and take over – not that it needs any help. Furthermore, the cheat grass goes to seed first, forming sharp, hard daggers with awns that borrow into fleece and flesh. Foul stuff, indeed!

Rick and Brian have mowed our upper and middle pastures. The upper pasture isn't fenced for sheep so they haven't given the nasty stuff dominance by grazing down the other forages. Rick was going to mow the middle and lower pastures with the riding lawnmower so he could bag the seed heads and burn them, but unfortunately the riding mower isn't up to the job.

In fowl news, we're down to eight hens – the three young Inkspots (black Easter Eggers), one remaining three-year-old Red Sex-link out of the six pullets we were given )-:, two six-year-old Speckled Sussex, eight-year-old Welsie the Welsummer – and Elvira the mystery hen, who I think is an aging (and now ailing) Australorp. While the 2-3 eggs we get a day provide for our needs and generate a little income to offset their feed costs, I've been keeping my eye open for some new additions. Recently I ran into a neighbor from our old neighborhood. As we caught up, I learned she now works part-time at Wilco (a local chain farm store), and through them has acquired quite a collection of poultry. She is wanting to sell some, so it looks like three Australorp pullets will join our flock when they get a little bigger. I have to smile. Last year I was thinking that I'd really like some black hens next; they are so pretty with their iridescent feathers, and I'm partial to black critters. The Lord has given me the desire of my heart (Psalm 37:4); since then, He has provided SEVEN black hens to add to our flock!

That's it for now from . . .


TC Goatldi said...

Nasty looking stuff it is. The cheat grass that is. Much like our fox tails here in Nor Cal. You would not want to nosh on those either. Nor get it in tender paws if you are of the canine persuasion. Love the chicks. Congrats on the soon to be new additions!

Mama Pea said...

Oh, bad grass, bad grass. Glad we don't have any of that here.

Black Australorps are our favorite variety! The hawks don't seem to be able to zero in on them as much as a lighter colored chicken!

Susan said...

Wow - that is one nasty-looking grass! Hope you get it under control. We have tons of burdock which - although a great herbal type thing - is the worst if you are a shepherd. Your hens look so lovely!