Lambing season has started on our homestead!

in #homesteading5 years ago

We have owned sheep for 5 years and I always enjoy lambing season. The breed we raise is the St. Croix. They are a white hair sheep so they don't require shearing. Someday we may look at wool sheep for wool but currently we are happy with the hair sheep.
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So why raise sheep? We were interested in them for meat and to sell any extra ewe's to help pay for winter feed. We also wanted an animal that we could butcher easy and since they are the same size as a deer they fit the bill!. (Some may suggest goats but at this time we are not interested for 2 reasons: climbers and smell of the bucks.) We typically butcher our ram lambs just before they reach 1 year old which is another benefit compared to cattle which require 2 years + if you grass feed them only.

Do sheep and cows compete for food? The short answer is no but they do enjoy some of the same grasses so yes also applies. In the summer to relieve pressure on our main pasture I will open some smaller areas that I let over grow on purpose. When I turn the cows and sheep into these 1/3 acre pens it is amazing to watch. The sheep it all the broad and woody stem plants/leave at eye level. The cows hit the ground and eat the bermuda and crab grass. After a full day in these pens they really do not compete for food at all. I know multi grazing is new buzz word but I can say it works well based on our experience from cows and sheep.

Benefits of raising a heritage breed of sheep. We have found this breed to be extremely resistant to parasites, in fact we do no worming in the spring or summer. This is typically when most animals have issues but ours do not. In the winter we give them natural wormers mixed in with the alfalfa pellets so they are clean and ready when the pastures are ready!
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Rachel (4) enjoyed watching the baby lamb and mom. Great time to talk and discuss!

I would love to hear what type of sheep you raise plus and 'tricks' you use to keep your sheep or cattle healthy on your homestead! Thanks for reading and commenting!

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No animals as of yet, not enough land for them, but thanks for sharing none the less. When it is time for animals I will certainly be looking for heritage breeds!

I have volunteered on one homestead with sheep that were seeding and incorporating wormwood into their pastures so that the sheep could have free choice access to the plant as needed. Another farm I volunteered on saved their dried garlic scapes and included those heads broken up in their goats' grain along with seaweed when they were being milked. The idea with the garlic was to help reduce parasites. I don't know if that would apply to sheep too, but it might be worth researching.

It sounds like you volunteered on a good homestead if they are using garlic and seaweed. We have done the research and currently use these on our homestead. I makes a big difference the only thing you need to watch with sheep is copper. Not sure if the same applies for goats? The two additional items we include with the alfalfa pellets are deametacious earth and apple or pear cider vinegar with the mother. It keeps them healthy and looking good all winter long. Thanks for commenting and sharing we love to hear what others are doing so we can learn more and help our food source!

Awesome! Thanks for sharing about the DE and vinegar. I hadn't heard of those before. Did you find this info in a particular book?

Is it just me or does Rachel look twice her age in this pic? How cute. :) Our sheep are Dorpers and we have this amazing ram named Haas that is a St. Croix. And, we have some mutts. :) We are also in the process of switching from wool to hair sheep. Tricks.... We use garlic/molasses/water blended in equal parts to worm. I think keeping them on fresh pastures, moving them around a lot keeps them healthy, as well. Congrats on your new baby! Happy lambing!

Rachel does look older, she really loved watching the mom and baby being born. She is quite the little farm girl, she wants to hold and carry all the animals. Thanks for sharing the tip on worming! We like the name of your ram...

We have thought about raising sheep, but are currently raising goats. So far we haven't had issues with climbers or buck smell. Even though your sheep shed the wool they have, can you not still use it for anything?

No - the hair you find is in small quantities and it the short in length. What type of goats do you raise?

Oh okay. That's good to know as hair sheep are what we had thought about getting. We have purebred Oberhasli and Nubian/Boer crosses.

Our Rams will weigh anywhere from 90-110 lbs at 11 months, how big are your sheep at that age?

Ours our primarily dairy goats and not meat, I'm guessing they're around 50-60 pounds at that age.

We love homesteaders and love sheep, especially long haired ones. Your lovely lucky daughter has some to cuddle as well, that's great. Happy Steeming!

New lambs! Yay! Rachel's cute, too!

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