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Cattle, Donkeys, and Sheep - Oh My!

Jersey calves sleeping in a pasture with a mom grazing nearby
Our Four-Legged Family

Animals are a crucial part of any ecosystem to bring balance and health. At a subtle level, their different inherent nature, their essence, contributes forces in resonance with one another and the balance between cosmos and earth.

From the tiniest microbiota in the soil, to the songbirds overhead, to the frogs in the pond, to the domestic animals we bring to the farm, all contribute something to the overall health and sustainability on the farm.

As farmers, on a practical level, we move the animals from paddock to paddock in a rotational grazing schema. Having mixed grazers - cows, sheep, donkeys and mules - brings a variety of manures and grazing preferences. This benefits us by keeping the weeds down and the pastures are kept healthy, but the animals are happy as well as each species has their own preference of what they eat.

One of the ways we can gauge the health of our pastures is by watching the rhythm of the cows feeding and their cudding times. The quality of the pasture forage, and even the hay later on, can be evaluated by how long the cows will graze before lying down to chew their cud. We have done trials turning cows out into pastures where a part has been treated with BD or HD preparations and another section left without the sprays. Most often, the cows will prefer the treated pasture area first and only go to the untreated pasture later.

Daily and seasonal rhythms affect the cows’ rhythm which you can visibly see by watching the daily adjustment to the cudding times of the cows. If you watch carefully and plot the times on a graph, you will see a rising and then descending arc over the course of a month.


Jersey Cows

The Sheep

Equine

Cats & Dogs