This year, we had first five cows, then seven sheep. Both herds complement one another. Benno Otter from the Goetheanum Nursery describes it as follows: "The cows wrap their tongues around the grass and tear it off. In contrast, the sheep bite off the grass with their teeth." To put it another way, the sheep do the fine-tuning. This also applies to the soil: Whilst the cows disturb the ground with their hooves, the sheep balance it out again. They also eat blackberry tendrils and young tree shoots, which makes the work of gardeners easier. However, sheep also like the bark of trees and shrubs. Paul Pieterse, one of the animal caretakers, has therefore protected them with wire and sheep manure.
For the Goetheanum Park, the cows have another purpose also: they supply cow patties and horns for the production of biodynamic preparations. Besides, everyone loves animals, whether cows, sheep or the two donkeys that are sometimes guests on the meadows.
The Engadine mountain sheep came to the Goetheanum site for the first time in 2016. In 2017, they gave birth to three lambs. This year there were twins for the first time. With the four twins and a single lamb, the flock of sheep has expanded to 16 animals. Meanwhile, the adult sheep were shorn; the wool was given away to those interested in it.
Animal husbandry also means a change in the vegetation, for example through the manure. "It is important that the sheep never stay too long on a meadow plot", Benno Otter adds, "otherwise they eat the meadow vegetation so low that the plants suffer". The usage of the sheep is monitored by the Goetheanum nursery over a three-year period and then evaluated.