Wednesday, August 14, 2013

::just right - sheep::


I have so enjoyed learning about our little lambs this year.  The leaders of the club are so nice and they really helped us a great deal.  Lily told me that she likes showing sheep more than any other project.  

Perfect - because I couldn't agree more.  

I am feeling like maybe this breed is finally the one that I have been looking for.

I have been searching for a while to find what kind of animal it is that I want to breed and raise.  I came from a horse show background so I started with horses, but that was too expensive and it wasn't something I could do myself.  Then Emma showed rabbits in 4H and we bred them for awhile.  They were too easy and cheap.  I ended up with over 50 (first time I have ever admitted that), and ended up selling them all off.  Then I have played around with the pygmy goats.  That started off just right, but after the horrible year we had last year I don't have any joy in even trying.  I fell off that horse and I am not getting back on.

Then a little black lamb fell into my life.  This may finally be the "just right" in the Goldie Locks journey that I have been taking in the world of animal husbandry.  At fair I had at least 8 people ask me for my contact information to buy lambs from me, I referred them to the breeder I got my lamb from.  I had a really hard time finding a breeder for these little lambs.  There are not any in Indiana, or if there are they are hiding from me.  I love the look of these little creature - short and round.  They are cute like Pygmy goats are, but they bring fluffy to the table.  No one can resist fluffy!  They are known to be good at delivery their babies, unlike pygmy goats.  Baby Doll sheep are also very good mothers.  They are just the right sized adult animals for me to deal with easily.  If they need to go to the vet you can just throw them in a dog crate in the back of the van.  Since they are small they are less wear and tear on the farm and they are cheaper to feed.  Animals of breeding quality cost less than $500.  They are not free, but its not like horses.  They have babies once a year and not 10 at a time rabbits, so there is not a huge chance of a major population problem like rabbits.  If you can't sell the wethers then they can fill up the freezer.   

I am wise enough now to know that just because I want to go and buy an entire starter flock, that is not the right thing to do.  I need an actually plan and to think carefully about timing and costs.  For now I think that I will add two ewe lambs in the spring and maybe a ram in the fall.  Once I see how that goes I will see what the next step is.    

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