Living in balance with Nature is a priority at Skyewood Farm. We incorporate symbiotic relationships between ourselves and our environment to create the lowest impact on our surroundings.
We rotate our sheep every few days through multiple pastures. This allows natural fertilization of the field and allows time for the grass to recover from grazing naturally. This also minimizes the buildup of insect larvae in the pasture.
The birds play an important role in our pest control. They follow behind the sheep and spread the manure evenly through the field dramatically decreasing the number of flies and insects in the pasture and in their shelters from the elements. They also serve as an alarm system for the sheep. Every night the ducks and geese sleep out with the sheep. If predators are close, the geese sound off a warning that gives the flock the extra time to evade coyotes and mountain lions. As the sheep sleep right below our bedroom window, we quickly rise to check out the situation. Motion activated solar lights around the farm serve as a warning to predators to stay away from our family.
We have several rescue dogs that serve different purposes around the farm:
Chloe, a fox terrier/saluki mix, patrols the field and seeks out sheep stuck in the fence or in the blackberries. She also has a keen ear for coyotes. Being a terrier, she loves to hunt for varmints that destroy the field. She sleeps with the flock as a guardian every night.
Cabe and Andy, Border Collies once abandoned by their previous owners, help to bring up the sheep in the evenings and instinctively mark the fence line with their scent. Coyotes and Mountain Lions smell this marker and avoid passing the imaginary line into our fields.
Chihuahuas, our little ones, alert us whenever the gander and Chloe sound the alarm from within the house. Just in case we don’t hear the gander’s first alarm.
We keep horses and llamas in the outer pastures to help eat the longer foliage. Sheep prefer the shorter clover and this helps to keep the danger of fire at a minimum. Short grasses do not provide any cover for predators to sneak up on the flock. Horses and llamas also naturally protect the flock from invading coyotes and mountain lions. We have NEVER had to resort to the use of guns to persuade the wildlife to stay safe in the forest.
We use goats to clear brush, like the tenacious blackberries. The goats prefer to patrol with the horses.
We do not dehorn our goats to allow them to be one more reason for the predators to go elsewhere.
Low voltage solar lines keep the sheep in and the predators out. They allow us to rotate the sheep easily and without electricity from the grid or permanent fencing materials.
We utilize excess rain water and is collected from the barns and house. We catch and filter the water into food grade barrels which allows us to conserve water for the flock and gardens.
We grow almost 95% of all our people food here on the farm. No grocery stores for this family (except for ice cream... we are human...). We always have an abundance of squash, greens, pumpkins, kale, apples, and cabbage. We feed out the excess vegetation to the sheep on a regular basis throughout the year to help the ewes be nutritionally more sound before breeding and to help provide added vitamins and minerals while they are nursing. We want our animals to have strong immune systems. We harvest and store only grass hay that is raised in a chemical free manner. We use these hay stores during the cold months to keep our flock well fed. We use natural and holistic methods like garlic and diatomaceous earth to keep sheep healthy and happy.