Saturday, April 2, 2011


I've been thinking...Next year I'm going to breed just 30-40 ewes and does to lamb/kid in the end of March. This group will have to be done by the second weekend in April. Then I will lamb out 20-30 more ewes in the second week in May. That should be enough time to get the first group out on pasture and get the second group shorn. This will give me more space. This year I had 53 ewes and does in the barn and it was way too crowded (I did use up some hay and kicked out 3 ewes and their lambs to the 3 1/2 sided shed. That did help a lot!)

The first group will be all the crossbred ewes as they don't get the rise and all of my Angora does. The Shetlands in this group will have to be the single coated ones as they definitely shear way better when not "ready". The first group will include the Shetland ewes bred to Shetland rams for purebred lambs. The Shetlands I will be purebreeding will mostly be single coated anyway as that is the fleece I need more of. (I'm thinking of doing around 12 Shetlands for purebred lambs next fall.)

The second group will probably be Shetland ewes bred for cross lambs and will include all of my double coated girls. I'm hoping they shear better at this time too. This should also give me an extended time to have lambs for sale for the ethnic market.

I'm also planning on direct marketing all of my lambs if possible. I have a truck now and if I have a full load I can drive down to Milwaukee and meet up will my customers. (I did not get a satisfactory price at all on my lambs that I took to Equity and I was given several different reasons why. My biggest guess is they don't like Shetlands #1 and #2 my LAMBS are bigger than many other breeders EWES. Reason-I fed my lambs well and they grew well. Some other Shetland breeders in my area don't feed their sheep enough or good enough quality feed and don't deworm enough-the result is a shrimpy, pot bellied, bony lamb. That is the kind of Shetland lamb that goes through Equity and when well fleshed, big ones come through they sell them as cull ewes.....I did sell 3 95# shorn Shetland/Coopworth lambs and they got a good price at Equity, but they did not look at all like Shetlands!)

I'm up to over 65 lambs and about 18 more to go. Lamb pictures soon!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Laura,
    Your "thoughts" look quite manageable to me! We are up to 117, and, after having to make stalls at 3 am this morning because 3 ewes have lambed and all the pens are full, I really like the idea of less ewes lambing!!

    I don't know whether I would want to do split lambing or just have less ewes lambing. I really don't have a way of separating out ewes for different lambing times. I think having less lambs, maybe around 75, would be a much more manageable number for me. Tori is a BIG help, but she has a lot of ewes in the flock! That way I can concentrate more on the wool end of it. I'll have to think on it more this summer.
    I hear you on the prices. But, I've lucked out and the place we take our lambs to now pay us pretty well for the Shetlands. Ours are well fleshed and good sized though. And, we get to talk to the guy buying and he can see and feel our sheep so knows that we bring good lambs. I don't understand others not feeding their sheep either.
    My chocolate cake is done and my tea is almost done so need to scoot to 2nd service! That is, after another barn check!