December 1, 2008

Rainy Winter Accommodations!

Winter in Normandy is .... well ..... dark, rainy, cold, rainy, windy, ... and did I mention rainy? LOL! You get the picture. Rain, Mud, Cold, Dark. Time for me to sit by the fireplace spinning and knitting. But what about the flock!
I know that some people supply no shelter for their sheep, some bring them in for the winter, and some do a little bit of both.
I essentially have an "open door policy". The sheep have open access to a shelter and can graze at will : they basically come and go as they please! This seems to work quite well. Generally speaking they are out grazing or ruminating under an apple tree. When it "really" starts raining (as opposed to just sprinkling!) they will head off to their shelter. They do use their shelter quite a bit & it would seem that they are very happy that they do have access to some protection from the nasty weather.

But that still leaves the problem of feeding hay! With all the rain that we get in Normandy, feeding hay becomes really problematic : wet hay is wasted hay. Here's a picture of the hay feeder that I just built. It's sitting on bricks. The hay stays dry. The feeder was designed with ouessant sheep in mind : It's quite short (less than 1 metre) and close to the ground. Also the "Spinning Shepherd" (that's me!), who isn't too keen on getting vegetable matter in the fleece, designed the feeder so that the sheep can easily access the feeder & the hay without pulling it all down into their fleeces! So far, so good.

RhumRaisin & TitBijou in their coats
In front of the hay feeder with their shelter in the background.

Nothing like lots of nice clean, dry hay, a bit of green grass, and a small handful of sheep nuts everyday!

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