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gulf coast sheep

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  • Robert Ray
    HI Frank, THere is a gulf coast sheep group on Yahoo and a breeder s association. I hope this helps. Bobby Ray 951-764-1335 ... [Non-text portions of this
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2, 2009
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      HI Frank,

      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?
      > Thanks,
      >
      > Frank
      >
      > On Sat, Sep 26, 2009 at 11:27 AM, mothermastiff <mother@...<mother%40mothermastiff.com>
      > >wrote:
      >
      > >
      > >
      > > 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
      > (they
      > > 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
      > blackberries
      > > 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
      > as
      > > an attempt at green manure. But they are a BIG problem to ruminants.
      > >
      > > The agricultural extension office says what is growing is 90% sicklepod,
      > a
      > > toxic legume closely related to coffee senna, that the veterinary
      > references
      > > say is dangerous for sheep. I am not willing to risk even one of my
      > starter
      > > flock to see if it is true.
      > >
      > > Other names for sicklepod are Cassia Obtusifolia and Coffeepod. (The 90%
      > is
      > > 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
      > that
      > > 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
      > sicklepod,
      > > 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
      > they
      > > are crowding out the few quackgrasses that I would love to have growing
      > in
      > > 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
      > are
      > > my jhope and future. (They are Gulf Coast Natives, descendants of Spanish
      > > sheep that went feral 500 years ago when some survived shipwrecks, and
      > are
      > > 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
      > the
      > > land to prepare for pastures and a place for me to live), and we need a
      > NON
      > > 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
      > reasonable
      > > 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
      > feed,
      > > and sheep minerals, while getting the lime applied and seeds planted on
      > the
      > > 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
      > VERY
      > > high (almost too high), potassium is quite low. The ag office doesn't
      > test
      > > nitrogen levels because availability can vary so much. I do not mind
      > adding
      > > lime or potassium, and can use manure from a nearby dairy farm for
      > nitrogen,
      > > 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
      > acre
      > > for a goal of 5.5 pH.
      > >
      > > Micro-nutrient analysis showed NO copper, and the following (measured in
      > mg
      > > 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
      > to
      > > make other things grow. They seem to be in bed with the chemical sellers,
      > > they ENCOURAGE manufacturers agents to speak at official ag office
      > seminars
      > > 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
      > they
      > > don't RECOGNIZE them as toxic.
      > >
      > > Even if we didn't MIND Roundup (we very much do), this alone would make
      > me
      > > afraid to use it.
      > >
      > > I repeat, these sheep are VERY important to us (and perhaps of value to
      > the
      > > 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
      > >
      > >
      > >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >
      >


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