Every evening just before dusk, The Farmer brings the lambs into the front fenced-in pasture for the night. All day long, the lambs have been grazing our overgrown orchard which isn't properly fenced in yet. There's plenty of good grass there but we haven't been able to patch together enough money to properly fence it in. Good permanent fencing is incredibly expensive and our goal is to someday have good fences, someday.
Sheep and lambs are creatures of habit. They know that when the sun is starting to get low in the sky then it's time for their little snack of the day. Some of the lambs come in early from the orchard, anticipating a bit of grain. Others wait until they hear the truck arrive home for the evening, knowing that there will be a few buckets of grain for the 100 lambs.
We feed a bit of grain to the lambs to help supplement the grass that they eat all day and night. Feeding a few buckets of grain is about the only way to coerce the lambs into the properly fenced front field or when they escape a unlatched gate. Grain helps to keep the lambs a bit tame. Growing lambs need a bit of extra protein which is available in grain. Grass has protein but not enough to really make a young animal grow quickly. Remember, the lambs are no longer getting any protein from their mama's milk because they have been weaned. Feeding a little grain to grazing sheep is nothing like grain fed to animals living in CAFO's (concentrated animal feeding operation).
If you buy meat from the grocery store, chances are the animal you are eating has been fed in a CAFO. We eat meat here too on our farm that I purchase at the local grocery store. My Farmer loves his protein and honestly we like to enjoy chicken, pork and beef along with our homegrown lamb. It's just the way it is in America -- A whole lot of people to feed who have come to expect some kind of protein on their dinner plate. I know I did when I was growing up and I honestly never even thought about where it came from. I know now and all of you do too. Until a few years ago, noone even thought about CAFO's and where their food came from. It's a good thing to know - even if you don't agree with all of America's industrialized food production systems.
What will be on your plate tonight? Just some food for thought today.....