Sheep roaming freely on open pasture

In Norway, most sheep graze freely on open pasture – often in the mountain areas – in the summer. As the areas where the sheep graze are also open for hiking and other outdoor activities for humans, this provides an opportunity for animals and humans to meet to a greater extent than when the sheep are inside the barn. My kids (aged 9 and 12) loved meeting sheep when we went to a cabin during the holidays, and the sheep seemed quite happy to meet us too! I’m not a sheep expert, but I assume that we met both Spælsau and the more common Norwegian White Sheep.

Spælsau greeting us. The gate is open so you can enter the sheep

Norwegian white sheep roaming freely

Later, I went to Trøndelag (Inland’s neighbouring county in the north), where I met more sheep – they are almost everywhere in the summer :smile:
Do sheep in Finland roam freely on open pastures? Do you see any pros and cons about this? In Norway, this is a great way of using natural resources in areas which cannot be used for other agriculture, but there is always some sheep lost to predators and accidents – which causes financial loss to the farmer and potential suffering for the animals.

Hey Ingrid!

Beautiful pictures and scenery!

In Finland, sheep often graze on cultivated pasture plots, especially in the case of growing animals. However, sheep are also used in Finland to maintain meadows, especially in “traditional biotopes” and the Urban Area. Sheep are also taken to the islands for grazing, both in the sea and in the lake area. @hannar will probably be able to tell about the pastoral owner’s experiences. Their sheeps are grazing in the meadows of different municipalities.

Metsähallitus (The Finnish Forest Agency) uses sheep, cows and horses in the area of ​​national parks. Metsähallitus has launched “Shepherd’s Holidays”, where those who want to can buy a holiday experience in the national park by herding animals. The pastors ’duties include providing clean drinking water to the animals, moving them from one grazing plot to another as needed, and taking care for the animals on a daily basis. Housing may be modest, depending on the destination, but people have been excited about herding and there has been more demand than supply.

Inspired by Metsähallitus’ shepherd’s holidays, there is now a “Pasture Bank” website on the Internet where people can offer pastures, animals or shepherd’s holidays to others. Laidunpankki website can be found here: (in Finnish)

Reindeer seem to be the only farm animals in Finland that graze freely. And so only in the reindeer husbandry area of the northern parts of Finland.

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