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saram
True Blue Farmgirl

421 Posts

Sara
Biggs CA
USA
421 Posts

Posted - Nov 04 2019 :  11:03:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have recently added sheep to my farm and I wonder if any of you have experience in this field? I purchased some St. Croix hair sheep, two ewe lambs and a ram lamb, with the plan of producing lamb for our freezer. So far they have been wonderful and I am ready to put them together for March lambing.

Any stories to share? Trials or tribulations? Advice? Iíd love to exchange adventures with you.

sherone_13
True Blue Farmgirl

2273 Posts

Sherone
Evanston WY
USA
2273 Posts

Posted - Nov 05 2019 :  09:08:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We raise registered Columbia sheep on our ranch. I have been dealing with sheep since I was a wee lass. Right now, we have culled our herd to around 30 head. We have had as many as 150. We used to lamb in lamb in the lambing sheds, but prefer to let them do it in nature if the weather cooperates. We lamb later than many because our winters in Wyoming last longer. We will eye and bag in late April and then lamb in early May. We belong to a Co-op that ships the lambs in October. We always save four weathers for the families freezers.

I would love to answer any questions you might have. I have pulled, turned, docked, cuddled and kissed little lambs. I've sheared, shipped, and butchered sheep. I think I can help. I have not done anything with the hair sheep. Can't help you there.....



Sherone

Farmgirl Sister #93
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saram
True Blue Farmgirl

421 Posts

Sara
Biggs CA
USA
421 Posts

Posted - Nov 06 2019 :  11:30:26 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Sherone! How wonderful to find you! What a charming childhood, to grow up with lambs! As a country girl, I envy you.

My intent is to have lambs for the family freezers too. I chose the hair sheep because I donít have to sheer, dehorn, or dock tails. They are also very naturally resistant to parasites and nearly always twin. Also, they say the flavor is more mild. But Iíve yet to see if I can actually butcher one!

I have a ďhow toĒ book about sheep but it doesnít tell me how to be sure if a ewe is bred or not. Any tips?
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sherone_13
True Blue Farmgirl

2273 Posts

Sherone
Evanston WY
USA
2273 Posts

Posted - Nov 06 2019 :  12:34:30 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In the beginning, it's difficult to tell on your own. On a production level, we have the vet do preg tests. For a small herd, we just use marking paint. This is attached to the buck and marks the ewes that he breeds. We assume she is pregnant if he has shown to be a good buck in the past. As she progresses, you can watch her bag for changes. Ever so slight changes start about halfway through the gestation. Later on, you will have no doubt, as her bag will fill up, her belly will get big and jolly and girlie parts will get swollen. That tells you that babies are coming soon.

Lambing season is so fun. I love to watch the babies run and play with each other. Hope this helps.

Sherone

Farmgirl Sister #93
My Blog

www.annapearlshomestead.wordpress.com

The Gourmet Cupboard

http://www.thegourmetcupboard.com/sites/sheronetaylor8622

Avon

www.youravon.com/sheronetaylor

Women are angels. When someone breaks our wings, we just jump on our broomsticks and fly! We are flexible that way!
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saram
True Blue Farmgirl

421 Posts

Sara
Biggs CA
USA
421 Posts

Posted - Nov 07 2019 :  11:04:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks Sherone.
I think I will turn the ram in with the ewes for a couple of weeks. They are all lambs, but I trust nature to tell them what to do. I hesitate to leave Ram lamb in there for too long, as he seems to get possessive of the girls.

I had alpacas in the past, and they were pretty simple: expose the male to the female, she goes down, they mate right away, and you take him back out again. Canít ask for anything simpler! But I can handle a challenge as well, as long as I know what indicators to look for.

Iíll let you know how it goes!
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saram
True Blue Farmgirl

421 Posts

Sara
Biggs CA
USA
421 Posts

Posted - Nov 19 2019 :  11:00:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Well I got the ram moved in with the two ewes. Heís already broken the grain bin off the fence! Heís such a pushy, aggressive guy, which is why I donít plan to just leave him in with the girls all the time. Hopefully theyíll figure out what theyíre supposed to do and next spring Iíll have lambs!
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windypines
True Blue Farmgirl

2835 Posts

Michele
Bruce Wisconsin
USA
2835 Posts

Posted - Nov 20 2019 :  01:26:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Good luck with the sheep adventure. I have had 2 sheep for 13 years now. I had them for wool, never breed the ewe. I call them the yard sheep, as they run loose in the yard. They stay right around the house and barn.

Farming in WI

Michele
FGOTM June2019

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saram
True Blue Farmgirl

421 Posts

Sara
Biggs CA
USA
421 Posts

Posted - Nov 21 2019 :  07:23:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
How fun Michele! What breed are they, and are you a spinner?
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windypines
True Blue Farmgirl

2835 Posts

Michele
Bruce Wisconsin
USA
2835 Posts

Posted - Nov 21 2019 :  3:01:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
They are shetland and border leichester cross. Jack and Jill. I do spin. I love using my own wool for projects.

Farming in WI

Michele
FGOTM June2019

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saram
True Blue Farmgirl

421 Posts

Sara
Biggs CA
USA
421 Posts

Posted - Nov 24 2019 :  10:58:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What great fun!
I had an alpaca breeding program some years back which led me to learn to spin. I have since decided to pare down my many projects and fiber arts was one I had to let go of. But I kept my wheel. I think some day I will return to its meditative virtues.
Having done the whole fiber thing already I was drawn to the hair sheep because I donít have to shear them and figure out what to do with those bags. Beyond that, I imagine these sheep are pretty much like any other: tasty!

I saw Mr. Ram doing what he was supposed to be doing yesterday. All three are lambs and just figuring this stuff out. Should I give them more than a couple of weeks before I separate them again?
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