Category Archives: Feeding/Nutrition

No markings plus unusual weight loss equals what?

Breeding season began for us this past Saturday. By 5 p.m. each of our ewes had been matched up with the appropriate ram, and each group was given a space where they will stay for the next six to seven weeks. This year we had six people (two teens and four adults) working to get […]

Unforgotten trauma

This is a big week, since we’ll be putting our breeding groups together on Saturday. In anticipation of the work involved, this entire week has been all about getting the sheep and equipment ready. I’ve checked out all of the marking harnesses and crayons, moved the rams into their winter lodgings, cleaned out all of […]

Aging sheep

Like every other living creature, sheep age, and I’m often asked how old sheep can get. Although this seems like a simple question, like many seemingly simple things, it isn’t. When I got our first sheep, I asked the Iowa Extension Sheep Specialist how long sheep can live. He answered, “Eight years.” I commented that […]

Big day of hay

When the growing season ends, sheep generally eat hay. You can buy “Sheep Chow” in a bag at the farm stores, but honestly, nobody who is serious about keeping sheep as a business would go that route; it is very expensive and not really what sheep were meant to eat. I don’t know many sheep […]

Surprise visitors

Each summer for many years, we’ve hosted adults and children who want to meet our sheep. Children and sheep are a natural combination; children generally love animals, and sheep are gentle and can be fed graham cracker pieces without worrying about nipped fingers. Besides, we find that many of these young kids grow into teenage […]

Buried in grass

Because of last year’s heavy parasite season, this year we kept our sheep off of most of our fields until about July 1. Of course, those fields didn’t stop growing simply because there were no animals to graze them. Keeping up with spring growth isn’t easy even in a normal year, and this year I’m […]

They’re out and free to graze!

It’s been a long spring for both the flock and for me. Rather than turning them out to graze in the early spring and rotating them through our many pastures through this entire growing season as in a typical year, we made the decision months ago to allow only the lambs and their mothers to […]