Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: orchids  (Read 2961 times)


  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Brendon Hills
« on: March 26, 2009, 09:41:23 am »
I have Wild orchids growing in my field. I would like to know if anyone knows whether my sheep will eat them when they come through or should we fence them off? We also have bracken growing in the fied is this poisonous to sheep?

Sharon   :sheep: :sheep: :sheep:


  • Joined Mar 2009
Re: orchids
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2009, 09:47:53 am »
Yes I am afraid our sheep ate the few orchids we had growing in one of our fields.
Bracken is poisonous to sheep, apparently it causes something called "bright blindness"
I think, but am not sure, they have to eat quite a bit and they only really do so if other food is sparse.


  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: orchids
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2009, 11:00:04 am »
They will not eat Bracken......unless starving, just look at exmoor, covered with sheep AND bracken
Orchids are another matter...........some are rare and protected and you should get a survey done to make sure you are not destroying a special one!!! They will not harm the sheep though!
www.berry land

Overall winner of the Devon Environmental Business Awards 2009


  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: orchids
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2009, 12:01:20 pm »
Hi I too have both bracken and wild orchids ( spotted)

the sheep won't eat the bracken but will eat the very young tips that come through I understand this isn't a problem and certainly I'e not had a problem with mine I found that by cutting the bracken by hand before it produces spores in the autumn has meant that I have basically kept on top of the bracken which was encroaching. mine won't eat the wild primroses but have eaten the orchids so either fence them off  or keep the sheep off until later in the year;

Ravelry Group: - Ouessants & Company


  • Joined Jan 2009
  • East Yorkshire
Re: orchids
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2009, 02:09:40 pm »
I have just posted a feed in "Sheep" as I have an SSSI, which is for chalk grassland and orchids (5 species recorded, including bee orchid, pyramid orchids and fragrant orchids)

Natural England have just been out to see me and have suggested that I put Hebridean sheep on the land (Quarry bottom - 4 acres) to help keep the orchids and grasses healthy.  They said that sheep do not harm the orchids and would in the long term be good for them by clearing the site and keeping the grasses down to allow the orchids to prosper.

They are going to let me know the optimum number for the area so that I can keep them there all year round.

I don't understand this fully as yet, as I have only just acquired the land, but this may help in your query.  (Hopefully)


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