Friday, February 27, 2009

Food fair and sheep shearing

On Saturday my Mom and I went to a local food fair (focusing on local food.) It was at Maywood nature center and I took these turkey pictures from the window. The turkeys were funny! We had lamb samples and many people had never tried lamb before-most liked it. There were a few people interested in buying some lambs in the fall. One was Greek and she was very excited. I also had roving and yarn and sold 2 skeins. Other vendors had CSAs, grass-fed beef, bison, herbs, apples, baked goods and more. Wagners were also there with lamb.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in the morning I went to Wagners Hidden Valley Woolen Mill to help with skirting fleeces. It normally takes 2 days for shearing, but on Tuesday it was cold and the sheep were harder to comb through as the lanoline was stiff. They sheared about 230 Coopworth sheep-all had BEAUTIFUL (jacketed) fleeces. It was fun to talk to every one and see all the fleeces. David the shear is very knowledgeable. He shears in Scotland every year and has shorn in other countries as well. He has a flock of Corriedales and Comebacks and he said that he culls his ewes by 6. (He used to keep them until mach older, but had more bottle lambs and lower weaning weights.) Ewes over 6 also have smaller fleeces. He said that once they get to 6 "it is down hill from there". So if you make 6 your cut-off you'll make more money and have much less work during lambing. David also does not breed his sheep as lambs(neither do Wagners) as he said it is actually MORE expensive to do so as you have to feed them really well so they are not stunted. That is something I'm going to think about!

David Keir shearing.
Coloreds in back waiting.
Who's next?
All white.
Daphne-Carol's pet. Daphne is a spotted Coopworth, but can't be bred ever as she has a hernia.

Yesterday afternoon I got my rams into their own pen. They had been with the ewes all winter and were starting to get bored as 3 of them decided to be acrobats-jumping over the hog panel. (They are in a cattle panel pen now.) I also had to get them out for lambing as I want to start grianing my ewes, but not the rams. Then I opened up the fence separating my ewes from the ewe lambs and mad a gate there. I will be able to lock all of the sheep in one half so I can put the grain down without having sheep in the way.


  1. Hello Laura! I am up late finishing off my story about the food fair for my deadline tomorrow. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me about your farm. I hope that more people will learn about you by reading my story. I admire what you are doing, and it was cool to see the pictures on your blog. Thank you for sharing it!

  2. Your welcome! Do you know Collen Hartlub by any chance?

  3. I've always wondered about the practice of breeding sheep and goats as yearlings. I've only had experience with dairy goats, but never had them bred till they were two years old. I never imagined that it could be good for an baby to produce a baby.