Category Archives: Feeding/Nutrition

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 […]


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 […]

Our shepherding calendar

A shepherd friend in Minnesota asked whether I’ve made a list of when we do what during the shepherding year. Over the years I have researched and studied all kinds of sheep-related things — the optimum time for breeding in our region, the best way to set up breeding for multiple lambs, the best time […]

The end of breeding season 2017

In the early days, I would set a start date and an end date (sometime in early September) for our breeding season. But I’ve found over the years that the start date is much easier to determine than the finish. The eventual end date ends up being a delicate balance between getting every ewe bred […]

One marking, two markings, red markings, blue markings…

So if I am honest, the title perhaps overstates the current marking situation of our breeding season since we have only gone through two different crayon colors at this point: yellow and orange. Yet things are looking up, with more markings in our groups every day. Regular readers might recall that we got a very […]

An unexpected slip

Keeping sheep is not generally considered to be a very dangerous activity. Of course, as with anything else, I’m aware of the possible dangers and keep my wits about me as I do my daily chores. Rams are in their breeding groups now, and so they’re particularly protective of their girls. When I enter any […]

More on lower weight ewes

On Monday I wrote about the unusual weight loss as our ewes go into this fall’s breeding groups. Within a few hours of that posting, my vet, Rik, returned my call and we came up with an idea of what might be unfolding and also a plan of attack. I’m so lucky to have found […]