Category Archives: Lambing

A shearing date

For nearly 15 years, our shearing date has been the Saturday of the last full weekend of January — that would be January 27th this year. Our shearing date has been carefully selected based on the seasons and the production stage of the flock — late enough in gestation to increase the birth weights of […]

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 […]

Another question — this one about breeding

The other day I answered a question from a young shepherd about shearing in cold weather, and afterwards he had an additional question on an uncommon but not unheard-of situation regarding ultrasounding. Three of his ewes came up open in the scan, so he decided to put them back in with one of his rams […]

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 […]

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 […]

Selection and sheep

An online dictionary defines selection as “carefully choosing something as being the best or most suitable.” When it comes to sheep, there are many factors that go into the process and, in one way or another, some sheep are going to be selected for or against. A shepherd can’t avoid selection; the question is who […]

A distinct red glow

One of the exciting parts of feeding at this time of year is scanning the flock and finding the ewes that have been marked by the ram in the previous 24 hours. Red is the color this week, and I can’t help but imagine the coming lambs when I spy a new red marking on […]

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 […]