Over this winter we developed a better routine for our small livestock. Here is what we are currently practicing:
Every Sunday we rotate our St. Croix and Gulf Coast sheep to new grass. Rotations provide the sheep with new food, fertilizes our pasture, and disrupts the parasite cycle from sheep poop. We also move our chickens over the grass where the sheep have been so they can scratch up the ground and dry out the parasites by bringing them to the surface. Reducing the parasite load is important to us because we do not want to deworm our sheep with anthelmintics (chemicals and $).
Our smaller chicken coops are moved 1-2x a day and the larger one every 2-3 days. We’d like to move the larger one every 1-2 days but it requires 2 people to move and life tends to distract us. We move all our coops by hand.
This winter hasn’t been that cold and our 5 honeybee colonies have enjoyed the warm days. In February, we will inspect the hives and determine which ones can be split and look at overall health. When we split hives we take one and divide it into another hive. We are in our second year of beekeeping but we noticed last year that coming out of winter the population increases and the bees need more room – thus splitting is done.