The way we see it, 1 acre equals 43,650 square feet of solar collector. As good farmers, we try to use every ray of solar energy wisely. Grass and forbs grow well on our pastures on the side of Little Blacktail Mountain. Our sheep are extremely efficient users of solar energy and by grazing they happily transform the cellulose from the plants they eat into high quality animal protein.
OUR SHEEP LIVE THE GOOD LIFE
They graze naturally on fresh pasture each day. We tend to their needs for safety, shelter, good water and minerals, and the freedom to socialize with their buddies. As Spring Lambs (so cute, little and bouncy) they stay with their mothers enjoying mother’s milk for 2-3 months and nibbles of grass with their mothers. At 4-5 months they are adolescents and at 5-6 months they are young adults (think twenty-something) eager to start offspring of their own. By the end of the grazing season, as we approach autumn’s harvest, they have grown from 7-8 lbs. to 90-120 lbs. (not so cute or little). It is truly impressive what these sheep can do with a little sunlight and good pasture.
One of the most important practices we do at Bah Bah Blacktail Farm is rotational grazing. We divide our big pastures into multiple small grazing paddocks using portable electro-net fencing. Each 1-2 days our sheep joyfully run out to entirely clean fresh pasture. It’s like having a little Glee Club, jumping with ears flapping, “Oh Boy, Oh Boy…we’re going to the pasture…” Not only are the sheep much happier, they also stay healthier because this pattern disrupts the life cycle of nematodes that could otherwise require dewormer medications. After the grass has “rested” and regrown 28 days or more it can be grazed again.
This intensive shepherding also has significant benefits for animal nutrition. We see each acre as a big solar collector on which we can produce nutrient-dense foods. Grass is very good at photosynthesis but the result is too fibrous for humans to enjoy. Ruminants thrive on it and sheep are the most efficient at turning grass into high quality animal protein. As grass grows, the first products of photosythesis are wisely sent to grow roots. The next 5-6 inches of blade are the extremely nutritious part which our sheep harvest. Tall blades become more fibrous and less nutrient dense because the plant is preparing to seed. Our rotational grazing system lets the animals capture the grass at its most nutrient rich stage. When research studies describe the benefits of grass-fed meats, this is why it is so.
Rest assured that you are getting safe, wholesome meat when you purchase a lamb from Bah Bah Blacktail Farm. We raise top quality sheep of breeds such as Katahdin which demonstrate high natural resistance to parasites. Combined with our commitment to good pasture management by rotating them through clean pastures, we basically eliminate the need for pesticides/dewormers.
We never use growth hormones or growth stimulants. Our sheep are not fed antibiotics or other unnatural feed additives. Medications are only administered when absolutely essential for the health and wellbeing of the animal. Detailed records are kept on all treatments and withdrawal times are strictly followed. Though products are considered safe by the USDA and FDA, if you prefer a lamb that has never been treated with antibiotics, because of our recordkeeping, we can confidently offer you this assurance.
We are committed to raising our sheep as sustainably as possible, meaning we want our sheep to be good for the environment. Though they have excellent manure and mineral spreading abilities, not every area should be treated the same. Throughout the farm we maintain wildlife habitat by preserving habitat zones, including arranging our fencing to allow wildlife access to water, sheltering timber and wildlife corridors. As much as is practical we promote native plant species.
Our sheep do the weed control – no need to apply herbicides to our pastures. We use organic farming methods to replenish the soil. We try to give more back to the land than we take from it.