Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Making Plans...

Farming has been a test of what works and what doesn't for us. We have decided our Blackbelly Sheep will be phased out. They are a fairly wild breed. Blackbellies are a hair sheep and bred for meat. They do not produce wool. The skittish ones can jump six feet in the air right over my head, and for the record, they have done so. An adjustment to the sheep pen by way of a catchment area has helped tremendously when we need to move or handle them, but they are still quite "crazy" for us. They are extremely graceful and beautiful animals and very low maintenance. After some consideration though, we have decided that all the crazy ones are on the freezer list.

If you feel up to the challenge to start your own herd, we will be selling our ram, Lucky, and two females: Braveheart and Baby Sheep #2, as they are the tamest. Braveheart is a sweetie and will come right up to you for pets and snacks. I feel these three Blackbelly Sheep deserve a chance to move on to another ranch where they can produce and raise more babies for another, more adventurous farmer.

Our very best sheep was our dearly departed Muffy. We believe she was a Tunis or some sort of crossbreed thereof. Although we did not eat her, she was a meaty sheep and her offspring were always meaty as well. At this time we have not decided if we want to keep breeding sheep. But over the next five months we will be downsizing to only woolies. I like to spin wool as a hobby, and am looking forward to working with the fleeces from Sugar, Pumpkin, Marshmallow and Ginger. DoeDoe will stay on as our herd matron. We believe she is a St. Croix or some derivation, but she is a hair sheep. She can retire here at the ranch.

Since wool is so much fun, and spinning a peacable hobby I can do in my spare time when I watch TV with my family, we are considering taking on some alpacas from a lady who needs to rehome some of hers. After doing some research, we found out that there is an alpaca ranch five minutes from us. We drove by and checked them out to see how they keep their animals. It looked simple enough, so we hope to bring home our own small flock sometime this week if all goes well.

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