Sheep and Lambs
Last week, our farm entered a new chapter. We added to our farm eight ewe lambs.(Several people have misheard me and asked “Used lambs?”)
They are about 4 or 5 months old. We bought Khatadin sheep because we didn’t want to have to deal with shearing them. Instead of the familiar wooly coats of most sheep, Khatadins have hair. They shed their hair so there’s no need for shearing.
These sheep are largely raised for meat. While we’ve never eaten lamb or mutton, we’re not opposed to it. However, the biggest reason we bought sheep was to clean up weeds and broad-leafed plants on the farm.
Did you know that you can add a few sheep along with cattle in the same sized field because they tend to eat different plants? Sheep are also a good way to maximize poorer pastures that don’t grow enough grass for cattle.
Right now, we just have the eight ewes. In a month or two, we will buy a ram to breed these pretty ladies, and by April, if all goes well, we will have some lambs.
According to the people from whom we bought the sheep, yearling ewes tend to only have single lambs. However, in subsequent years, it is quite likely that they will have twins or even an occasional set of triplets. Apparently, it won’t take too long to build a flock of sheep.
I am excited about this new venture. However, I’ve learned from years on the farm not to get too excited about new animals until you see how things go. The old adage goes, “Don’t count your chicks before they’re hatched.” In our case, we can’t “Count our lambs before they’re even conceived!” I’m reserving judgment for the time being on whether the sheep will be a money maker or not.
However, I will say this: They are awfully cute!
Shear Your Own Sheep
Check out this advice from a professional shearer on the ins and outs of at-home wool removal, setting you up for a safe, humane experience every time.
Fiber Farms and Wool Farming
Shearing sheep, alpacas, or llamas can bring your small wool farming operation a tidy profit, without the fuss of breeding.
Building New Lambing Jugs
Last year, the lambing jugs were cobbled together from panels and gates that were on hand, but not meant for long-term use. This fall, we’re turning an unused area of the barn into the lambing area with custom-built pens that will be secure, as well as movable for easy clean-up after lambing season is over.