Sunday, April 10, 2011

Local Spotlight: Queso Cabeza Farm

If you've been following our sheepy endeavors, you've heard me talk about Queso Cabeza Farm, in Olivet, MI. When I first started researching sheep, I was really struck by the Icelandic breed. They're an ancient breed - hardy with independent and strong personalities. When I learned there were both horned and polled Icelandics, I was drawn to the polled. I'm honestly not sure why - maybe because I secretly also really like the traditional polled English sheep breeds. Anyway, it wasn't long before I was directed to the web site (and patient correspondence) of Laura Volkmann and Rick Boesan at Queso Cabeza. They were so amazingly helpful in assisting me with all of my tedious questions and newbie confusion.

They eventually sold me two beautiful ewes, Ingrid and Gertrude, and leased me a Ram, Herb. We ended up keeping Herb way past the point when the lady-sheep were bred simply because he got along with everybody so well. There was only a week or two of Herb butting into the ewes, probably working out his frustration with the fact that they were no longer cycling. After that he was a perfect gentleman, and actually became quite fond of Jeremy (and vice versa, as well).

This past Thursday, Jeremy and I returned Herb to his home at Queso Cabeza. It was a sad goodbye, but he will definitely enjoy his life over there with more sheep. We actually managed to load the crate, and then Herb, into our Subaru station wagon! I'm ceaselessly impressed by that vehicle. If it could pull a horse trailer, we'd never need a truck!

 When we arrived at Queso Cabeza, we loaded Herb into a trailer for safe keeping while Laura and Rick were at work. He was so polite about loading and unloading that we found ourselves waiting for something to go wrong. He didn't struggle at all when Jeremy lifted him in, and he marched right out of the station wagon and into the trailer like a pro. It was a big relief.

Of course after dealing with Herb we had to watch the QC lambs and their mothers in the barnyard. I cannot believe how adorable the lamb were! The best part was when we rounded the corner and realized we were watching the first steps of a just-born lamb, the mother nearby watching carefully over both the newborn, and it's slightly older sibling. I sent Laura a picture while she was at work and she later informed me the ewe's name is Kelly, and her lambs are a ram and ewe.

The whole experience of seeing the lambs has made me out-of-my-mind-crazy-excited for Ingrid's lambs to arrive. I am thinking they may come later rather than sooner based on the size of her udder, but I'll keep my eye out just in case! She is starting to get the relaxed-ligaments with the kind of sunken late pregnancy look.

I don't think the lamb on the right has the hang of where to suckle yet...
The barnyard was so peaceful and quiet; no lamb races today!

This little lamb was by far the most curious and outgoing in the yard. It even came right up and poked my hand with it's little nose, but only after mom said it was okay.

This is the sibling lamb of the one in the picture above. I got to watch this one jump off a 3' door stoop, try to fly, and do a near face plant on top of mom. Good luck with these lambs, Laura. They're sure to be escape artists!

Me and my shadow!

Mom has an itch. :)

There was one lamb and one ewe that I wish I had photos of. The lamb was playing hide-and-seek with the mother (both mouflan) and the mother was in a right panic. I felt so bad for her. The lamb would run and hide behind something, and the ewe would stress out and call and run around searching for her baby. When she got close to the lamb's hiding place, the lamb would jump out like "Gotcha!" and then tear across the barnyard to another hiding place. It was hilarious to watch, but you know the mother was freaking out. 

Anyway, if any of you are considering Icelandic sheep, I urge you to contact Queso Cabeza. They are a fantastically friendly couple of shepherds with some truly beautiful stock.

1 comment:

  1. The ewe with the "escape artist" lambs is Roni, Herb's mom! You are totally right about those lambs, too . . . they are rambunctious and mischievous, and they goad each other. So, don't be surprised if your lambs inherit some of that trouble-making personality, too.

    The mouflon ewe with the mouflon lamb is Shirley. She's a very good mom, but like many first-timers started out a little too attentive for her own peace of mind.

    Thank you for the very nice write-up. We do enjoy our sheep, and sharing them with others. :-)