Tag Archives: cold

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Low birth weight lambs

In the shepherding world, not all lambs are created equal. When we first started our flock, our newborn lambs weighed an average of about eight pounds, with as many above that weight as below. As I began my shepherding journey, collecting data as we went, I soon realized that those lambs who weighed less than […]

When they don’t get up

I am out among the sheep every day, doling out their feed and checking on the flock. This welfare check looks for health issues that aren’t readily apparent. As prey animals, sheep have a very strong instinct to hide their pain or illness, knowing that any displayed weakness could bring them to the attention of […]

Wool blind

When I first heard the term wool blind, I had both a bit of confusion and a series of interesting images: Shepherds who couldn’t see wool? A small hut covered in wool to use for spying on sheep? As it turns out, it is the sheep who can become wool blind. It tends to occur […]