Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Catching up

The last babies were born yesterday! Yeah. Final lamb count and some individual pictures of purebred lambs to come on another post. I went to Stephenson County Fiber Event in IL on the 8'th and got back the 9'th late, then just enough time to repack and go to Greencastle Fiver Event in IN on the14'th early. I got back on the 17'th just half an hour before a doe had triplets. Someone did kid when I was gone, but the kid got stuck (both legs were back) and was stillborn. At least the doe is OK. She had acted "off" for a couple days. Now I just have to work on skirting and posting my fleeces and shear the rest of my boys. I got three done yesterday (plus the three yearling does), 11 to go!

A carpet of lambs! This year all of the lambs are tending to sleep in one or two big piles!More lamb carpet. I can't get the whole carpet in one picture. (There are both colored and white crossbred lambs and some colored and white pure Shetland lambs.)
This is what it looked like on the 19'th. 7 in. of heavy wet snow. A local farmer had a shed collapse under the weight of it. (These are my yearlings. The blue tarp is tied to a cattle panel and I locked all of the girls up as the snow was blowing right into their 3 1/2 sided shed, the tarp worked wonders!) It's raining today, again. This weather really is not good for anyone involved with agriculture. Normally farmers are plowing and starting to plant. They can't do that as the fields are pure mud. No grass for the grazers yet either. Now I just need to buy some more hay as I was counting on grazing after the first of May. That's not going to happen! Off to the hay auction...

(More on Greencastle later.)

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!