In 2014 we were very proud to supply Fair Game Farmers and the Landmark Leopard Foundation with customized field units for their “ethical animal husbandry and welfare” initiative in the Karoo. These Jetstream XTs were designed for complete off the grid usage with fitted solar panels and two single sleeping births in each trailer.
So, what is it that Fair Game farmers are doing that allows them to have this project as one of their core values?
They have cows and sheep in one big herd (about 2000 sheep and about 300 cattle). The herd has shepherds with it 24/7. There is a group of shepherds who work through a rotation of shifts and days off. One of the shifts includes sleeping in a teardrop trailer next to the kraals that house the animals at night.
The kraals – one for the sheep and one for the cattle – are portable, and are moved every 7 days. They are placed on degraded land, that will most benefit from the dung, urine and hoof impact of the animals. It is amazing to watch the mixed herd of cattle and sheep approach the kraals and, through a series of whistles and hand claps from the shepherds, happily separate into two herds, in preparation for their daily entry into the kraals. As they enter the kraals in the evening, and again when the exit them in the morning, each animal is individually handled and inspected for any signs of injury or sickness. This allows for early detection and treatment, ensuring each animal is strong and healthy.
When they leave the kraals in the mornings, they are then guided to graze an area specifically identified by the shepherds for that day. This is typically a loop which includes a watering site that the herd reaches at midday. The exact loop is determined by the shepherds with an estimate of the available forage in mind. At a high level, the grazing plan is developed to ensure that any given area of veld is only grazed by the herd once a year. A more detailed plan is determined every 2 months, including the kraal sites and watering sites. And each day the shepherds determine whether to move through an area faster than planned, or spend more time in an area, depending on the available forage and the vitality of the veld.