Saturday, October 30, 2010

The First Lamb

While our first ram (read previous post) was a dud, we did have a lamb that winter.  One of the ewes we had purchased pregnant gave birth to a ram lamb.  We kept them in the barn for a few days, then put the pair out in a small pen only for the days, prior to putting them with the rest of the sheep.

Shown here only a few hours old is our first lamb, and his mother.  You will note that with hair sheep the tails are often naturally shorter and are never docked.  This is January, winter time, so the ewe has some woolly hairs (white hairs) on her back which she will shed in the spring.

We kept this little guy to use as our ram for that year, and when he became a father, we named his mom "Grandma sheep".

Here is her ram lamb as pictured later, you will note he is shedding.

Learn more about the Barbado sheep, click here.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The First Ram

We learned more about sheep so by fall felt we were ready to get a ram for breeding.  We had learned all about the advantages of hair sheep and as there were many sheep being sold at an Odd and Unsual Livestock sale about 2 hours away, we felt this would be a good place to find a breeding ram.

They were being sold as Barbado sheep, of course this name seems to be under debate, but that is what they were called at the time, being brown and black hair sheep, with horns. 

We found a handsome ram, and bid on him, and loaded him up with a few other ewes we purchased including some bred ones.
He was a very friendly ram, which was good because it set us up to admire this breed, when many others in our area told us that all hair sheep are "wild" in nature. 

However... we waited all winter... looking forward to cute spring lambs.. and got none.. (well not from him anyhow).

Turns out the ram was sterile.  So much for that year!

Read More about Barbado Hair Sheep, click here.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Llamas too!

The petting zoo we bought the sheep from also had Llamas, we had heard that llamas make great guard animals for sheep.  There were only two for sale, Crystal, and Jade, we could not make up our mind which to get, so decided to get both, for $100 each. 

Later at an auction we decided to get them a mate, the males were cheap, $5 each, so we took two of them... and a younger female.

Well nature took its natural path and 11 months later both Jade and Crystal were mothers.  In the mean time we learned that with guard llamas, you do not want to get more than one.  When you have one llama it will stay with the sheep it is suppose to guard, if you get two or more, they form their own herd and do their own thing, as such we sold all the males, and the baby llamas, (called crias) and kept only Crystal.

The above photo are the two baby crias. 

To learn more about keeping pet Llamas, click here.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Our First Sheep

When we first moved to the country the 10 acre property had been badly neglected, overrun with grass and thistles.  It was so bad we had to walk through slowly or risk tripping on rolls of barbed wire hidden by overgrown grass.

The metal roof had blown off the shelter and was at risk of being blown by the strong winds, so a major clean up was due before gettting any types or animals.

The pasture was already fenced for sheep, and I had taken a short sheep course in college so thought sheep would be perfect.  Not knowing where to buy sheep in the area we bought our first sheep from a petting farm a short distance away.  We started with 4 ewe lambs, and along with them bought 2 llamas.

We soon learned that when you get a llama to guard your sheep - you should only get one, but that is another tale.. We had the four ewe lambs, and llamas, and thought we were set.  Of course not long after we realized that four sheep was too few, and we would need to get more.

Here are our four lambs in their new home... Teardrop in the front, then "Favorite" (she's the friendliest), Diamond next, and Speckle is hiding in behind.  As you can see they have their work cut out for them...