Keep in mind that these trees are more than 15 years old and the sheep only stay in the same area as the trees for as long as there is grass. At Meeting Place Organic Farm we've been trying to figure out ways of managing our sheep flock to maximize the benefits and minimize the problems. The first step is to try to determine which animal is stripping bark from your trees. My dad used to tell stories about growing up on a homestead in the 1920's. Fencing off a path from the fruit trees is pretty standard, and you might have tried this already. The sheep are looking for fresh grazing in the winter, even thought there isn’t any until spring! When sheep run low on nutrients and minerals, they’ll eat bark to restore those levels. Brooklyn, Washington. To help avoid this, provide your sheep with a mineral block a few weeks prior to having them mow the orchard. Cages can be built around the fruit trees by using T-posts and connecting them with wire. The reason why sheep will eat the fruit tree’s bark is due to a mineral deficiency. When you have a sheep that’s behaving poorly and getting into everything, it might be best to separate it from the grazing herd. Sheep normally go for the leaves and fruit first, and then trunk’s bark second. Maybe someone else will have a good idea, but I know of no way to protect the lower limbs unless you fence off the trees. The soil also benefits from their manure. I was surprised to discover that sheep love both dandelion greens and flowers. Some homesteaders wrap chicken wire around the fruit trees’ trunks, but this can cause problems when the tree grows and the wire cuts into it. Don't know if it would work for goats. Do it sooner than later. It may be partly boredom, partly nutrient, and partly taste. The first year we had our kaffir lime tree, it only bore one fruit. That is only the case when your sheep have plenty of grass to choose from and are getting adequate minerals from their diet. I'm a sheep person, but heres what worked for us one year when the sheep got to eating the bark off our pine trees by the pond........fresh cow manure, or any other, spread on the tree trunks. Both our sheep and pigs eat the fresh growing cherry trees - bark, branches, leaves and all - with no ill effects. I can not possibly tell you how long your sheep can stay in one spot or how frequently you should move them. If your sheep don’t have enough minerals, they’ll likely go straight for the bark. The obvious answer to keeping sheep away from young trees is to physically put up a barrier to keep the sheep away from the tree. Until then here are some things you can do to keep your trees safe and graze the orchard at the same time.eval(ez_write_tag([[580,400],'familyfarmlivestock_com-medrectangle-3','ezslot_1',104,'0','0'])); The sheep in the picture above are around on of our Butternut trees and the picture below is of an apple tree they were pastured around earlier this summer. even with like 50 trees it should only cost about 20-40 bucks to wrap em. Couchtohomestead.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. So, is it possible to run them in orchards, or will they do too much damage? Do they... Hey, I'm Tyler Ziton. Why? With some trial and error, I learned that the best way to make sure food was fresh was to grow it myself. Installing sheep fencing around fruit trees can work, but can be expensive and might not look the best. If sheep are let into the orchards and are unsupervised, they’ll quickly eat all the fruit and leaves they can, especially the bushes and the newer growth. Will sheep really eat your fruit trees? Sheep are grazers, not browsers. ... of hard work can be ruined overnight by a single goat, sheep, pigs or cow. They’ll also rub their heads on the branches and trunks to scratch, causing breakage and damaging the fruit trees’ trunks.eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'couchtohomestead_com-large-leaderboard-2','ezslot_6',167,'0','0'])); As long as your fruit trees have a lot of upper growth that the sheep can’t reach, the trees should be fine. Remember that too much gum leaves are poisonous, so when the gums get bigger don't plan to use them for stock feed of any stock, to a large extent. When I used the WHITE paint and eggs, it kept the sheep off the trees but not the goats. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'couchtohomestead_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_5',179,'0','0'])); Sheep can graze in orchards, but will likely eat the leaves and fruit within reach. Sheep will eat young fruit trees. When they are looking around for something else to taste test, especially if the hay is not providing for all of their nutritional needs, this is when they will start getting after your trees. In many cases, deer will eat the bark off certain types of trees for nourishment. Standing on their hind legs, they cleared all the greenery within 4 feet or so of the ground. Sheep are particularly destructive anywhere near the top of a hill, where these trees are. You need to remove any trees that are poisonous to goats and fence off or goat-proof any others you don’t want destroyed. Unless, your fruit trees are well established with tougher bark, they will be an attractive food source for your sheep. If sheep are breaking lower branches and eating the fruit, leaves, and bark of off the trunk, the fruit tree will have a hard time surviving. Gun Dog Supply on LinkedIn. Deciduous Trees & Shrubs. What kind of trees are they eating the bark of? Sheep can eat grass too fast, especially if there’s a lot of them. If you’re uncertain of the exact culprit, there are clues that will help you narrow down the list of possible suspects. Range maggots will eat your trees. Tonight I have found that the sheep have chewed the bark on all but the 2 plum trees quite badly. You should also be noticing a lack of specifics here. While this isn’t a problem in the wilderness, it can be an issue if it happens in one’s backyard. Why mow it when the sheep can eat it? If you have been protecting the trunk, you at least have a chance of keeping the tree alive while it's growing, cause once they strip the trunk, it's only a matter of time before the tree … Sheep are really cool pets though. You’ll notice the problem is not the sheep heading straight for the trees and stripping leaves and bark. However, one of the only downsides is that sheep might also eat your fruit tree’s fruit, leaves, branches, and bark. All Rights Reserved. My cows like to eat on the young shoots of aspen, willow and Russian olive. If your sheep are eating your fruit trees, it’s probably time to either take them out of the orchard or put up some protective measures. Feb 29, 2008 #3 ... LOL, both sheep and goats will eat the bark which might kill the trees. Sheep have chewed the bark on my apple and pear tree I recently planted 3 apple, 2 plum and a pear tree that I bought from the ex Scotts Nureseries at Merriott. And yes it was the mothers that were eating the bark off the apples trees … Lastly, if you’ve tried just about everything, and can’t get your sheep to stop eating or damaging your fruit trees, consider using weeder geese instead. Thank you Fred. When the patch of bark is one-half or greater, the chances of tree death increase. Sheep are a very self-sufficient type of livestock to have on the homestead, and, like goats, they are excellent browsers. Another option is to do your best with portable fencing, like electric netting, run through the rows of trees. The only problem is that many orchards aren’t spaced for this and the trees are still within range of the sheep’s mouths. Help!!! Sheep normally go for the leaves and fruit first, and then trunk’s bark second. When your orchard is mature enough for sheep, keep the sheep moving through to keep them focused on grass rather than fruit trees! Sheep will also rub their heads and horns on the lower branches, which breaks them, and sometimes eat the trunk’s bark. The potential problem here is management. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'couchtohomestead_com-large-leaderboard-1','ezslot_9',156,'0','0']));report this ad. To me, it’s just not worth the risk. You can see the field tile that was used as rabbit protection for this tree has been outgrown. They even eat the bark off the trees as high as they can stand on their hind legs and reach. They are a good way to clear out the cherry from pastures. You’ve got sheep and you’ve got grass that you want mowed down in your new orchard. This depends upon your situation and management plan. eval(ez_write_tag([[300,250],'familyfarmlivestock_com-medrectangle-4','ezslot_3',105,'0','0'])); This could be a circle of fence, like hardware cloth or closely spaced welded wire, held in place with a support post. 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