Sheep

Katahdin Sheep
Photo by Old Homeplace Farm

At EcoFriendly Foods, all of our sheep are raised on pasture, in an environment that lets them be sheep. We simply give them what they need to be healthy and happy – fresh air, sunshine, and green pastures – and they handle the rest. Their diet consists of grass, medicinal wild plants and herbs, some supplemental hay, and free-choice salt and minerals.

Most farmers will tell you that sheep need lots of grain. This simply isn’t true. Sheep are ruminants, just like cows or deer. They’re designed to eat living plants. With proper management – i.e. planned rotational grazing – our farmers have been able to eliminate grain entirely. So what is planned rotational grazing? It’s a sophisticated system of observing pasture growth and appropriately timing the density and duration of each grazing. In English, that translates to “keep the paddocks small and move your animals a lot.”

The fact is, most sheep are raised in huge paddocks and moved rarely. This gives the pasture no time to rest, which depletes the soil and inhibits proper regrowth. This makes the nutrition of the grass very poor and also makes it prone to parasites, to which sheep (and goats) are extremely vulnerable. Within this kind of pasture management system, it’s no wonder why farmers think they’ve got to feed their animals grain (in order to get them to “grow out”) and antibiotics to kill the parasites they’re ingesting. The theory of managed grazing, on the other hand, is: “If you take care of your pasture, it will take care of your animals.” So, by managing our grass, we can raise a healthy, fat, nutritious animal with absolutely no grain – and absolutely no antibiotics.

To learn more about our sheep and how they are managed, click here.

Our Production Standards at a glance

What we ARE and what we ARE NOT?
  • We are not certified organic.
  • We use no herbicides or pesticides on the pastures where our sheep live.
  • We use no hormones or artificial growth stimulants.
  • Our sheep are free of antibiotics.
  • Our sheep are 100% grass-fed and pasture-raised.
  • Our sheep are regionally raised within either the Cheaspeake Bay or North Carolina Sounds watersheds.

We consider transparency to be one of the most critical elements in developing sustainable relationships with our customers. If you have any questions about our family of farmers, or about any other link in the EcoFriendly food chain, please feel free to contact us.

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