Category Archives: Weather

Shearing 2018

My shearer called in the middle of last week to let us know that he was coming on Saturday, January 27th. My immediate reaction was relief, since I no longer had to worry about the many things that can go wrong when shearing is delayed until after lambing. That relief was quickly replaced by a […]

Melt and mush, wet and mud

As one would expect, the shepherding world is heavily intertwined with the seasons and the weather. The sheep graze when the weather is warm and grass grows, and they eat hay when the cold temperatures hit and the fields and vegetation go dormant. Breeding season is situated to avoid the heat of the summer and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Ram-bunctious

Rams and ewes are often very different in how they interact with the world, and today’s blog is about one of these differences. Our adult rams overwinter in a paddock that shares a fenceline and a shelter with the younger ram lambs. The young rams have an automatic waterer, but I must fill the water […]

Big flocks of birds

We’re at the time of year when many local birds avoid our harsh Iowa winters by flying south for fun in the sun. Those birds that overwinter will flock together and seek places that are a bit more sheltered than their usual nesting spots. Over the years, we have come to have a large flock […]

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 […]

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 […]