It is a misconception that sheep will eat whatever is green and grows in the ground. This is what I thought, and many others I have come across think as well. Now all the shepherds out will know better, but I am still a shepherd in training.
When we first moved in we decided to give the old garden a rest and turn it into pasture. White clover was our choice after some research. It helped fix nitrogen for the soil, was a good ground cover, provided flowers for pollinators, and animals liked it. What a super plant! We bought a bag, tilled and then seeded the new pasture in white clover. It came up great last year. We were thrilled that it had taken hold. What a wonderful pasture we will have we thought. How pretty it is we thought. We could not have been more wrong.
Sheep are much pickier than we would of thought, at least our sheep are. When they eat the grass it is perfect, 2 inches and looks great. Their little fertilizer pellets melt away after a few days. Obviously I need to look more into the types of plants that sheep like to eat and modify our pastures and lawns for it. I have been watching what the sheep do like to eat and what they will go for first (not in a specific order):
- dandelions in flower and in seed
- lilac trees and it’s bark
- spruce trees and it’s bark
- raspberry leaves
- mountain mint
- solomons seal
- kentucky blue grass
- linden leaves
- sugar maple leaves but not the bark
- apple trees
This is by no means a comprehensive list, just some of the things they like. I am going to have to identify a type of grass they will not eat that I believe was a part of the pasture mix we put down.