This is the time of year to fill the barn with hay. I scan the want ads, looking for hay. I call up my local suppliers, to see what is available. We have a big barn, and I am happiest when it is full of hay, all types of hay. Grass hay, alfalfa hay, waterway hay, straw, etc. With our Icelandic sheep, we don't generally need (or want) high quality/high protein hay. These sheep were brought to Iceland by the Vikings, bred for thousands of years in a harsh environment...therefore, have become quite efficient herbivores. As a response to this environment, Icelandic sheep have developed a large and proficient rumen. They do well on what most consider poor hay. Even during gestation. Rich hay = difficult lambing, pizzle rot, and numerous other problems. Of course there are times when the sheep/lambs could use that extra nutrition. Times of heavy lactation, especially when there are twins and triplets involved. Lambs during weaning time, or sheep going to the fair. Often times, it feels like I'm walking a tight rope, trying to balance the feed requirements of my flock. Experience is the best teacher. Every year is different, but each year also gives many valuable lessons. Some good, some happy, some painful. It's always a learning experience. I am constantly tweaking my mineral rations. Sometimes adding protein blocks... always looking for that perfect balance! Small bales are easiest on my back, so I like those... Big round bales are easier on my husband's back, so he likes those...It's all a balancing act...Teenagers just think it's an excuse to goof off!