I thought it would be useful for me to share how we manage the rotational grazing of our sheep. We have a central, mobile shed for our sheep. This is a basic 2×4 frame with a plywood shell. It is on two 4×6 wood “skids” so I can drag it around with my pick-up truck (did I mention we don’t own a tractor!). We then set up a large square or rectangle of temporary, electric polybraid fencing with the shed at the dead center. We use a solar fence charger to charge the fence. We then subdivide the interior of the square/rectangle into pie-shaped or keyhole-shaped sections that are shifted every few days. there will be 8 paddock subdivisions.

The initial set up requires a few hours (roughly 3-4 hours with one person), and this initial set up will only be done once every 2 weeks, give or take a few days. Shifting the subdivisions takes about 15-30 minutes (at the most) every 2-3 days.

This system is what is currently working for us. I say “currently” and “for us”, because grazing management is so location and farm specific. We currently have 20 sheep (2 ewes that may be pregnant, 7 lactating ewes, 8 nursing lambs, and 3 weaned lambs… 20 total). It is Spring time, and pasture growth is good with rain about once a week right now. We have relatively poor pasture quality at this point since we are just getting started regenerating these pastures. This means we need to rotate faster than some other farms need to. In the photo, the pasture quality is significantly better at the top of the hill and just over the back of the ridge; the grass is thick and there is a nice mix of forbs. In the lower portion of the hill, which is steep, the land is more eroded, the grass is thin, and there are many bare spots. We will be able to keep the sheep on the upper paddocks for 2-3 days each and one the lower paddocks for 1-2 days each.

BK_Sheep_paddocks_01

Here is the entire paddock, ready to go for the first day.

 

We put up a 3-line perimeter fence around the area we plan to graze for the next 2 weeks.

We put up a 3-line perimeter fence around the area we plan to graze for the next 2 weeks. If we didn’t have such a good fence around our entire farm, I would put up a 4-5 line perimeter fence to keep predators out.

 

This is the first section to be grazed.

This is the first section to be grazed (in green). We use only a 2-line fence for the interior, division fencing. This is working for now since our sheep really respect the electric fencing.

 

This will be the next section to be grazed in 2-3 days. It is simply a matter of putting up a new fence line and taking down the previous one.

This will be the next section to be grazed in 2-3 days. It is simply a matter of putting up a new fence line and taking down the previous one.

 

All 8 paddocks to be grazed in the next 2 weeks.

All 8 paddocks to be grazed in the next 2 weeks. Note that we end up almost where we started. Our next paddock will be a square/rectangle off the the left.

 

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