Category Archives: Nutrition

Gabby’s surprise

Gabby, our nearly eleven-year-old Romeldale/CVM ewe, is our oldest sheep. In her younger years, she produced multiple award-winning fleeces and numerous breeding-quality lambs, including four sets of triplets. I kept few of her offspring, since we often sell our very best lambs to customers who are just starting their flocks. We treat our customers the […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

A feeling of satisfaction

Because of Iowa’s climate and the limited acreage that we have for our flock, our sheep must eat harvested forage in the form of hay for about six months of every year. During that time of year, I haul hundreds of pounds of hay each day, moving it from our hay storage areas to the […]

A coming drought?

There have been rumblings for several months that we could very well expect a drought in this region this year. I’ve heard it from old-time farmers and from meteorologists, from hay producers and amateur forecasters. When we had such a very mild winter followed by a very wet spring, I recognized this pattern as the […]