Monday, May 26, 2014

::one year of sheep::

When Lily was starting her first year of 4H she decided that she wanted to try sheep.  I looked into traditional breeds but them seems so commercial that I wasn't seeing a ton of fun personality.  Not much of that homestead feel was left.  After sifting through 100's of breeds and checking my go to source for livestock - The Livestock Conservancy.  We settled on Babydoll South Down Sheep.  We bought a baby wether (a neutered male) and ewe lamb.  Since they where our only two sheep I wanted them to have each other for company.  We ended up just showing the black ewe lamb.  She was a doll and ended up getting a champion ribbon for Lily.  After fair we brought her home and threw her and her buddy out in the pasture.  All I fed them all winter was hay.  They got fat as little meatballs.  We are keeping them as pets, but if we were real homesteaders and where planning on eating them we would have a very massive carcass for the size of the animal and for the small amount of feed we gave them.  They would be economical as a meat source - if you where breeding them your self.  They are fairly pricey to buy.  The wether was $150 - on clearance as a runt and as a package with his friend.  The ewe was $425 - I think.  The breeder raised her prices to reflect what most other breeders cost.  Market value on my fancy black ewe would run you about $500 - if you could find a breeder that would sell you something of her quality.    

After a winter of growing wool and getting fat on hay.  
I had hand cut their faces with garden scissors just so they could see.

Handsome smile from Oz the Great and Powerful 
He sure out grew his runt status.  
He is super friendly and loves his chin scratched.  

Princess Annabelle is my little doll.
I give her way too much attention and she is beyond spoiled.   

So when we took her to be sheered she was not entertained. 

If we were raising them for wool they would have be good providers.  We got an entire white trash bag just off of Annabelle.

Her wool was 4-5 inches thick!

And she kept giving me lots of looks...
You are letting them annoy me?  I am your favorite.  Get me off this table now!

But look how happy she looks all groomed up!!!!

Oz looked pretty handsome too.

So after one year of having these fat little meatballs I am in love.  I would buy 20 and start breeding them as a side gig.  They are wonderful.  They hardly waste any hay and they look at food and get fat.  They are wonderful in their temperament and easy to handle.  They can't jump at all.  As long as their backs are and their legs are so short - they can't even stand up on their hind legs.  If your fence was 2 feet tall it would hold them in no problem.  They are small enough that you can throw them in a dog crate in the back of the mini van and take them to the vet.  I love these little guys.  

So basically opposite of these little lunatics.


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