Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sheepy Aspirations

Alright if you know me, you know I've been babbling about my sheepy plans for over a year now. Unfortunately my plans were put on hold when a large tree fell into my prospective pasture, and not unfortunately my plans were put on hold for wedding planning and executing. :)

Now that the wedding is past, however, my brain has launched back into full fledged sheepdom and I'm staying up at night counting sheep - Literally!

It took me forever to figure out what I wanted to do. I finally decided on Icelandics because of their fiber, meat and milk production, not to mention their beautiful colors and fairly predictable color genetics; How could I not? The question then was how many of what gender?
Get two bred ewes and have the possibility of 2-6 lambs in spring? That's a possibility of lot of lambs for my first spring...
Get a bred ewe, an unbred ewe and a ram? Living adjacent to a golf course, I'm not ready for a ram; they're called rams for a reason.
Get a bred ewe and a wether? Closer... but as I am limited to the number of adult sheep I can have at a time, I really don't want to keep a wether unless it's temporary.. So I have a tentative plan.
This January I plan to bring home one bred ewe and a wether for a buddy. In the spring, she'll lamb, and theoretically I'll end up with 1-3 lambs, hopefully one of which will be a female. Then in late spring or summer I may sell my wether and bring home another ewe, bringing the final total to two or three ewes. My ewes will be pets, and ram lambs will be sold if breeding quality, otherwise they'll probably be culled.
My goal is to have two or three ewes and to find a stud-ram to come visit them next fall. Giving me the possibility of 3-9 lambs the following year that I can sell, keep or cull.
Hooray for math! I've been staying up late thinking this over for days. I thought counting sheep was supposed to be relaxing!
There are a couple of sheep I'm considering, though the more I think of it, the more I like polled (non-horned) Icelandics. It's an aesthetic preference, actually. Nothing more than that.
The Icelandics seem to have the most attractive color variations, with brown or black base coats, and grey, mouflon, badgerface and white colorations, and then spots or no spots... So cool!
I have to get my T-posts today and start driving them in. At the same time, while I've been planning my sheep fields, I've been planning my gardens for next year as well. It's pretty bad that I'm already in the planning that should be taking place two months from now.
I have plans for at least two cold frames, as well as several new raised beds and possibly a hoop house... Oh boy.
You'll hear more about that later. I'm out of control.


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