Category Archives: Nutrition

Feeding our ewes

Because we were gone for a total of about three of the past six weeks, we’re on a rather unusual-for-us feeding schedule right now, with late-day feeding. Although our sheep have been used to getting their daily ration in the late afternoon or early evening, our farm-sitters had to feed at the tail end of […]

Parasite control and sheep in Iowa’s cold

Regular readers might recall that the summer of 2016 was an unusual one for the bloom of parasites in our region: weather conditions were perfect for the dramatic rise of internal parasite larvae in our pastures which resulted in illness and death in many of our youngest flock members. We initiated a plan to reduce […]

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 […]

The high-nutrition group and feeding grain

Immediately after breeding, we put a number of ewes into a high-nutrition group, without having any idea of how many lambs they carried — or whether they were even bred. I based my decision on what I saw and on the history of each ewe. Those ewes who looked and felt thin were put into […]

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 […]