Sheep with Fruit Trees

Robin2020

Member
Livestock Farmer
I have some Stewardship capital to plant fruit trees. They will also pay towards tree protection (posts/wire etc). My original idea was to replenish an old apple orchard in a 6 acre field which has reduced to just one tree. Now that I have sheep I am wondering if they will get sick from eating the fallen fruit.... Should I avoid certain fruits? maybe it will be good for them? It will be 15 trees so not a huge quantity, especially for several years... I was thinking of a mix of plums, apples, cherry... If this is all a bit risky I guess they can be positioned elsewhere away from grazing ....

Another question would be where to buy the trees. The grant spec is very specific in terms of root stocks and everyone I have contacted so far, can't meet the requirements!!!

 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
They can get belly ache from gorging on windfall apples if they are just let into them, but I've never lost one. We have just such an (apple only) orchard here, that was replanted with 30 trees by the estate about 12 years ago. My sheep mop up the windfall apples (mostly 'heritage' varieties I think, and taste awful!), but I might grab the odd one from the quad too.

I wouldn't worry about the sheep eating the cherries or the plums, wasps and birds will see to most of them.
 

Quaddog

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Peak district
Not really a problem. Have planted about 20 trees in the orchard in the last ten years under stewardship and they’re producing now. Jackdaws seem to take a toll on the apples.
 

Robin2020

Member
Livestock Farmer
Cheers guys. The trees will be protected so it was just the windfall fruit I was concerned about. Looks like nothing much to worry about. I'm sure they munch far worse things!!!
 

HarryB97

Member
Mixed Farmer
My rams spend all summer and autumn till tupping in an orchard and it never causes and issues. When they hear an apple hit the floor they all run over and fight for it!
 

Wisconsonian

Member
Trade
The fruit won't hurt them, but the leaves of cherry and plum can be deadly if they're partly wilted. They're fine if fresh, or dried out, but part wilted cherry leaves are the problem. Plum is related to cherry. They'll love the apple leaves, bark, twigs, and have no problem for the sheep.
 

Robin2020

Member
Livestock Farmer
Not really a problem. Have planted about 20 trees in the orchard in the last ten years under stewardship and they’re producing now. Jackdaws seem to take a toll on the apples.
May I ask where you got the trees? Struggling to meet the spec...
 

Green farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
A few years back, I was finishing a batch of lambs at the side of my my house. I had a load of apples on the ground, so I chopped them up into little segments and throw them in to the meal troughs with the meal. Worked out fine for the first few days, but on day I did the same and came back a few minutes later. One of the store lambs was at the side of the trough with 4 legs sticking up, stone dead. Dont know if he choked on it or was overloaded with something in the apples. Anyway it was the last time I gave them apples.
 

___\0/___

Member
Location
SW Scotland
May I ask where you got the trees? Struggling to meet the spec...

Really tough year to get apple trees not sure if it is to do with people being at home more. I usually get my m25 trees from keepers nursery and mm111 from John Worle (now retired). Think it was @Old Boar that recommended Welsh mountain cider for apple trees but the guy was a bit slow replying.
 

Quaddog

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Peak district
I have sourced mine from several places over the years. It’s sometimes difficult to find M25 rootstock I know. Last place I went was ‘Adams apples’ you can hopefully google it.
 

Wooly

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Romney Marsh
I graze several acres of apple orchards........... none of the fruit is picked................ and the sheep clear every apple that drops onto the floor. They would eat at least 100 tonnes plus at a guess.

As yet I haven't had any problems due to it.
 

Kidds

Member
Horticulture
It will take a year but I am happy to grow any apple tree you like. I have plenty of MM106 and M26 rootstock and a very small amount of M25 but can source more if required.
Have dozens of varieties to hand for scion wood but no doubt you will want a variety I don't have. You supply the variety and I can make it into a tree.
I haven't yet had a success rate below 98% take.
 

Bogweevil

Member
Be wary when replanting apple orchards with apples as specific replant disease can be a problem: https://apples.ahdb.org.uk/apple-replant-disease.asp

Avoiding planting exactly where trees have previously been grown should be sufficient and using more vigorous stocks.

I have seen apple, perry pear and cherry orchards successfully grazed by sheep and even cows in the case of mature cider orchards. I have never heard of any hazard to livestock in the UK from cherry, damson or plum trees, after all the woods and hedges are full of similar Prunus species.

Blackmoors do good trees: https://www.blackmoor.co.uk/ and Southern Fruit Trees across the road: https://www.southernfruittrees.co.uk/
 

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