Posts tagged sheep care

Life Goes On: New Arrivals

On New Years  Day, we received a phone call from Sweetwater Farm that our lambs had arrived. We were both excited and nervous because we were not expecting them until March. The barn was not ready for them. Then we found out our lambs were already eight weeks old; they were born in November.  And what a surprise!  We made plans to bring them home the week of the March snowstorm. Of course our area received nine inches of snow, so their arrival was delayed. Our lambs finally came home on Good Friday.

Introducing Poppy and Leo: Olde English Babydoll Southdowns

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A Shepherd’s View: Book Recommendation

Whether you own sheep, spin, weave, knit or do anything fiber related, James Rebanks’ latest book “A Shepherd’s View: Modern Photographs from an Ancient Landscape” is worth a read. Rebanks disperses beautiful photographs throughout his collection of essays. He lives in Matterdale located in the English Lake District where he raises Herdwick sheep.

Here’s a peek into the daily life of James Rebanks:

 

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Sheep Musings

Since the arrival of our Shetlands and Soays, we have been busy getting everyone settled in,  learning about sheep care, waging a battle with an unwanted visitor, Mr. Vole and generally enjoying our sheep frolicking in pasture. Our first learning experience was deworming our sheep.  Of course, we were confident that we could accomplish this by gathering the sheep in one area with a bucket of grain.  After all, grain is a powerful motivator. We shook the bucket of grain and the sheep just looked at us. I am sure they new something was up because we kept them in the paddock. Next we tried to round them up by using a shepherd’s crook. This didn’t work either.  It looked like Ringling Bros. Circus and if you listened closely, you could hear the music. Our next attempt was to create a “funnel” with wire panels and gather everyone in the paddock.  That resulted in the sheep pushing the metal panels and both of us on our buts.  Finally, we made the “funnel” with wire panels and maneuvered the sheep into the barn and locked the door. Success!  The drenching part was no problem. The trick was to get the sheep in the barn.  Thankfully, our results are negative and we are good for another three to four months before we have to test again.  This method is preferred to regularly deworming your sheep.  The sheep can build up a resistance to the medicine, so we are following our vets recommendation.  In the meantime, we are monitoring the sheep for any signs of illness.

Our next adventure is trying to outwit Mr. Vole. He was trying to burrow under the barn in several places so we have placed cement all around the perimeter of the barn.  There is a bed of stone underneath but the cement is working. We make daily patrols to make sure he hasn’t burrowed anywhere else. This is one part of farm living I would like to avoid but I realize it is going to happen when you have livestock around.

The best part of our adventure so far is bringing the sheep in at night knowing they are happy and well.  Winnie (Shetland) does a great job bringing the sheep home as we walk to the barn each evening. And little Nettle (Shetland lamb) just makes you laugh; she loves to run and pronk and tries to chew on everything from shirt tales to the fence.  Nettle is Winnie’s lamb and she is really a mini Winnie.  The Soays are shy but they let us know when we are too slow opening the gate to pasture or feeding them some grain/beet pulp in the evening.  Sam (Soay) loves to stomp his feet and so does Olympic (tan Soay). The other day Sam was pronking in pasture; he was literally going sideways. The Soays are very expressive and each day we gain more trust and confidence with them.

Recently, someone asked me if I had any regrets and I said absolutely not. It is the best decision I/we ever made!

 

Sheep in Action

Sheep in Action

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Pasture: Full Access

Today, we removed the temporary fencing and gave the sheep full access to pasture.  Previously, the sheep had limited access to pasture until we were sure everyone would adjust without issue to their new home and pasture.

Abner, Winnie, Nettle, Sam, Olympic, Oregano and Parsley are very happy!

Sheep in Pasture

Sheep in Pasture

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Sheep Resources

Since we adopted Lil Abner, we thought we should learn more about sheep care. Here are two books worth checking out:

Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep by Paula Simmons & Carol Ekarius (a comprehensive guide to raising sheep, breeding, and overall care)

Sheep: Small-Scale Sheep Keeping for Pleasure and and Profit by Sue Weaver (an easy to read guide that includes color photos and advice from many shepherds)

 

 

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Introducing Lil Abner

As part of our ongoing fiber exploration, we are participating in a new program at  Feederbrook Farm called Lease a Sheep. The program runs from January-December and includes all aspects of sheep care.  On Sunday, we adopted a six month old, male  Shetland Sheep.  We are proud to introduce…….Lil Abner (little guy in the middle).

Lil Abner

Lil Abner

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