THere is a gulf coast sheep group on Yahoo and a breeder's association.
I hope this helps.
Bobby Ray 951-764-1335
On Sat, Sep 26, 2009 at 10:15 AM, Frank McAvinchey <fmcavin@...>wrote:
> I don't have a solution for you, unfortunately. I am interested in knowing
> more about your sheep, though. Can you tell me about them? Is there a site
> that has info about them?
> On Sat, Sep 26, 2009 at 11:27 AM, mothermastiff <mother@...<mother%40mothermastiff.com>
> > This land is in north Florida, USA, we left a greenbelt, so what we
> have is
> > 10 acres of sand over clay and limestone, on land cleared in the last 2
> > months to prepare to start my sheep farm.
> > We need a NON CHEMICAL solution to a major NEW-pasture problem.
> > We had 10 acres of commercial pine plot cleared in the last two months to
> > start my organic sheep farm. Because of the shade from the young pines
> > were too small to be harvested, so we spent a huge fortune having them
> > removed and burned), little grew on ithe land except small wild
> > between the rows of trees. A little ragweed. NO other grasses at all. But
> > also, no legumes.
> > I expected that sunlight and rain would let other species germinate, but
> > was deeply shocked at what came up.
> > After the land was cleared, the rain came, and seeds that had been in the
> > soil a long time came up. They may have been planted by the pine farmers
> > an attempt at green manure. But they are a BIG problem to ruminants.
> > The agricultural extension office says what is growing is 90% sicklepod,
> > toxic legume closely related to coffee senna, that the veterinary
> > say is dangerous for sheep. I am not willing to risk even one of my
> > flock to see if it is true.
> > Other names for sicklepod are Cassia Obtusifolia and Coffeepod. (The 90%
> > NOT an exaggeration, the person who described it as 90% is a PhD
> > statistician for whom accuracy is a lifestyle.)
> > We are waiting for the agricultural agent to come in person to verify
> > identification of the plants, but there isn't anything similar looking
> > grows wild, except the even more toxic cousin, coffee senna (Cassia
> > Occidentalis).
> > The Merck Veterinary Manual is pretty scary about this plant.
> > http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/htm/bc/ttox04.htm
> > Since nearly EVERY plant that has come up since the clearing is
> > even if it was only MILDLY toxic to sheep, such large amounts could be
> > fatal. I cannot risk it, I cannot replace these animals with any of
> > comparable genetics.
> > I am even more worried about this many plants going to seed. Currently
> > are crowding out the few quackgrasses that I would love to have growing
> > my pastures.
> > Does ANYONE have experience with sheep eating HUGE amounts of this plant?
> > The ewes are being bred this month, which might make them more vulnerable
> > to toxins, and at any season, these girls are very important to me. They
> > my jhope and future. (They are Gulf Coast Natives, descendants of Spanish
> > sheep that went feral 500 years ago when some survived shipwrecks, and
> > the most parasite-resistant sheep in the world. They also have exquisite
> > wool and the local Muslims say their flavor is much better than any other
> > lamb for their special feasts.)
> > We have spent more money than we could spare to get this far (clearing
> > land to prepare for pastures and a place for me to live), and we need a
> > CHEMICAL solution to this.
> > This farm MUST be a chemical free environment (I am chemically sensitive
> > and will be living there, and many of my wool customers are even more
> > sensitive than I am). I plan to follow Fukuoka principles to maintain the
> > pastures and gardens, once the soil is balanced and planted to a
> > variety of desirable food plants.
> > Our plan is to feedlot the ewes this winter in one quadrant (the only
> > cross-fenced area on the land) on round bales of bahia grass hay and
> > perennial peanut hay - which I hope goes to seed! - commercial sheep
> > and sheep minerals, while getting the lime applied and seeds planted on
> > remainder of the land for spring and summer grazing.
> > However, as thick as these toxic plants are on the entire farm, allowing
> > them to go to seed would be DISASTROUS.
> > We had the soil tested last year. Phosphorus and magnesium levels are
> > high (almost too high), potassium is quite low. The ag office doesn't
> > nitrogen levels because availability can vary so much. I do not mind
> > lime or potassium, and can use manure from a nearby dairy farm for
> > or keep feeding the sheep and let their manure add the nitrogen.
> > For winter annual grasses and small grains such as ryes, the asg office
> > recommended adding 80 lbs of potassium and 1/2 ton of calcitic lime per
> > for a goal of 5.5 pH.
> > Micro-nutrient analysis showed NO copper, and the following (measured in
> > per kg): Mn 9.19, Zn 0.89, OM 1.88, and EC 0.04. (There was no legend to
> > explain what they were so I have no clue what OM and EC are.)
> > PLEASE HELP!
> > The ag agents' only recommendation so far is to spray Roundup or other
> > herbicides to kill everything, then blitz the ground with other chemicals
> > make other things grow. They seem to be in bed with the chemical sellers,
> > they ENCOURAGE manufacturers agents to speak at official ag office
> > and give out free samples of chemicals.
> > We learned in a recent class that herbicide changes the FLAVOR of toxic
> > plants, so that it FOOLS the animals into eating toxic plants because
> > don't RECOGNIZE them as toxic.
> > Even if we didn't MIND Roundup (we very much do), this alone would make
> > afraid to use it.
> > I repeat, these sheep are VERY important to us (and perhaps of value to
> > future of this extremely rare breed), and we need help fast!
> > We are VERY worried and scared!!!
> > laurie (Mother Mastiff)
> > Silk Hope Fiber Farm
> > North Florida USA
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