Category Archives: Health

No markings plus unusual weight loss equals what?

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

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 […]

Head counts

One of the major responsibilities of any shepherd is the well-being of their flock. When a flock is small — say a half-dozen ewes — this is a relatively easy thing to accomplish. The shepherd calls the flock over with a tasty treat or finds a good vantage point from which to view the sheep […]

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 […]

Keeping enough rams

Not all farms keep a ram — and even fewer keep multiple rams. With breeding season coming in only a few weeks, however, those of us with rams have shifted our focus from the gals to the guys in our flocks. Here at Peeper Hollow Farm, we tend to keep 10 to 15 rams, which […]

Ewe pedicures

Shepherding is filled with tasks that few non-shepherds would recognize, and one of the biggest of these is the trimming of hooves. Hoof trimming isn’t required for sheep in the wild because of a perfect balance of environment and genetics: they have been selected by nature such that their normal hoof growth is easily worn […]