Sheep and cows together are a good thing. I’m currently grazing cattle in a planned rotation, moving them daily. I also have a herd of St. Croix hair sheep, which I allow them to graze at will. Couple of comments about this arrangement and my thinking behind it:
1. In nature the overriding principle is diversity – which creates stable ecosystems. The more diversity on my farm, the more stable and resistant to weather shocks (like drought, rain, etc).
2. Cattle and sheep are dead-end hosts for each other’s parasites. The cattle suck up a lot of sheep parasites in their grazing rotation, which help lessen the load in the sheep as they come behind and graze after the cows. The opposite is true with the sheep grazing and cattle parasites. Every little bit helps.
3. Sheep and cows eat different plants – thus utilizing more available forage and allowing for more animals (albeit different species) to graze ( and increasing farm income, btw). The key to grazing, however, is time of exposure and return. What I mean by this is the initial exposure of the plants to grazing pressure, how long the plants are exposed, and how long does the plant have to recover before being exposed to grazing pressure again.
Ultimately I’d like to have chickens, goats and maybe even pigs in my rotation. This would help diversify my operation even further, encourage different forages to grow, and focus my efforts on maximizing the farm’s potential as a revenue source without compromising my ecological goals.