Monday, January 18, 2016

Meet the new sheep

I had never eaten lamb in my life until we found ourselves with too many Shetland wethers, and I discovered that it is very tasty. Although I have more than enough wool to last me a lifetime, and there was no reason for us to have wool sheep, I knew I would miss the lamb meat. So, I've been looking at hair breeds of sheep for a few years now. Unlike wool sheep, they shed, so they don't have to be shorn.

Once the Shetlands were gone (other than the four I decided to keep as pets), I started perusing the Facebook sheep groups, and within a week, I found three pregnant sheep for sale about 60 miles away. After asking lots of questions about biosecurity issues, I decided to buy them.

My daughter Katherine was visiting from Colorado over the holidays, so she and I drove to pick them up.

This is Starburst, a pregnant 3-year-old Katahdin ewe looking at me, and the back end of her daughter Izzy, who is half Dorper. The black sheep in the photos below is Poppy, who is a half-sister to Izzy through their sire.

Since we bought only three Shetland ewes back in 2003 and never added to the flock, we were not accustomed to seeing new sheep introduced to a flock. They were a lot more like dogs meeting each other than goats. Goats always do a lot of head butting, but dogs sniff each other, which is what the sheep were doing.

We put the new sheep into a field that was next to the field where the Shetlands were grazing. First they sniffed each other through the fence, then the Shetlands realized they could go through the gate to get up close and personal with the new additions. Oscar the llama just kept looking at them over the fence.

So, after much sniffing of each other, they all walked off together to graze, and they've been happily grazing together ever since. The ewes are due to lamb anytime after late February. Hopefully we'll have good weather whenever it happens.


MichelleH said...

I love eating lamb, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't raise my own sheep for meat - they're just too cute. :)

Michelle said...

Well, that introduction went swimmingly! I've seen a lot of head-butting between new sheep and old!


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