Category Archives: Feeding/Nutrition

The human headgate

Like any other endeavor, shepherding has its own share of equipment, some things that are fairly necessary and others that can often be worked around — and which category any one item falls into is often dependent upon the shepherd. One tool that many shepherds find useful is something called the headgate. This is a […]

Shearing and skirting

We sheared our ewes on Saturday, January 27th, and I’ve been working on skirting and preparing the Winter Shearing fleeces ever since. With fifty-three fleeces to skirt, this will take some time. Skirting, evaluating, and photographing the fleeces is the final step in our year-long production of top-quality wool, and I honestly would have trouble […]

Feeding our ewes

Because we were gone for a total of about three of the past six weeks, we’re on a rather unusual-for-us feeding schedule right now, with late-day feeding. Although our sheep have been used to getting their daily ration in the late afternoon or early evening, our farm-sitters had to feed at the tail end of […]

Parasite control and sheep in Iowa’s cold

Regular readers might recall that the summer of 2016 was an unusual one for the bloom of parasites in our region: weather conditions were perfect for the dramatic rise of internal parasite larvae in our pastures which resulted in illness and death in many of our youngest flock members. We initiated a plan to reduce […]

Bred ewe lambs

At some point, nearly all shepherds find themselves in a situation where — due to planning or an “oops” — one or more of the ewe lambs end up bred and due to deliver around or before their first birthday. If the situation arises because of an accident, the shepherd may feel a bit of […]

The high-nutrition group and feeding grain

Immediately after breeding, we put a number of ewes into a high-nutrition group, without having any idea of how many lambs they carried — or whether they were even bred. I based my decision on what I saw and on the history of each ewe. Those ewes who looked and felt thin were put into […]

Shearing and cold weather

I got a question via email the other day from a younger shepherd who has purchased some of our breeding stock in the past year. I could tell when I delivered the sheep that he is dedicated to his flock, so I wasn’t surprised at his question — he is obviously dedicated to caring for […]

Ultrasounds

We ultrasound our ewes each December in order to learn the number of fetuses and their approximate gestational age. The cost of the procedure is far outweighed by the savings in feed costs (since we feed each ewe according to her gestational needs), so ultrasounding provides information regarding the lambing season to come as well […]

Auction day

Today officially ended the 2017 lambing year for Peeper Hollow Farm. Although auction day is a necessary part of what I do, it’s a usually somewhat depressing day. There are livestock auctions all over the Midwest, and our choice of the Kalona Sales Barn in the early years of our farm was based on many […]