As much as I like spring and fall, shepherding seems to have only two seasons: grazing and hay, the season when sheep eat for free and the season when I pay for their meals. Hay season started today for the lambs when they ate through the last of the lush pasture I had set aside for them, and I brought them the first of this year’s round bales of fermented hay.
This group of May lambs hasn’t had much experience eating baleage, and the older sheep weren’t around to show them the way, so I was happy to see that they immediately recognized it as food.
The main flock is still out on pasture, cleaning up the grass the lambs left behind, but I’ll probably have to start feeding baleage to them as well before the end of the week. This is a bittersweet time for me — in that perfect world that I keep talking about, I would manage my pastures so that I had grass for the sheep to eat until the snow was too deep for grazing and portable fences. But the start of baleage season also means that the relentless schedule of moving sheep twice a day is also over; I’ll bring bales to the sheep with the tractor and move them only every week or two, and once the snow comes for good, everyone will be in the Winter Fortress until the start of the next grass season.