Our miniature Babydoll sheep have received a lot of attention since I first introduced them to the country a couple of years back.
Introduced to help reduce our diesel emissions by eliminating mowing, they continue to do well with stock numbers reaching in excess of 1,500. To eliminate all mowing from the vineyard, I estimate that we need about 10,000, so we are still a couple of years off.
Recently I became aware of a small breed of Kunekune pig that eats vegetation and doesn’t dig up the ground like other breeds. It is still very early days, but initial results look promising - we have about 50 running freely amongst the vines, in a fenced-off area of the vineyard. The only down side is that they don’t tend to graze the full block, preferring to stay close to their sties, in the event someone from the winery brings the food bucket down!
They can be trained, are clean and can come to the call (they are often used as pets) – so their introduction to the vineyard has been welcomed by many of the team and their families! A couple of runts from recent litters are being hand-reared by staff and a one of the team from the vineyard has one them trotting after them like a dog. Not the intended use, but creating a bit of interest nonetheless.