Did I mention I have a lot of time on my hands? Doctor says taking it easy but my mind still races! I have rearranged my barn set up 7 times in 6 years......I got it right this time..Room for sheep, 3 permanent maternity pens, 3 walk-in chicken coops-- you know laying hens, half grown chicks, baby chicks, ya you get the idea. Hay and straw is in part of the barn, water hydrant inside, heated sheep watering tub. Easy Peasey.........
Recent sheep activity....Yes I have done a bit of lane changing. OK some major changes I bought and sold some.. but I like my Shetlands....I have my ideal ewe in mind. I received god advice from Cynthia, Nancy Ellison, Gail, Garrett and Sabrina. There have been a few bumps in the road. One seller said I was trading ewes like baseball cards and she wouldn't sell me any more sheep ever!.. hey, Rayna had 2 nice ewes I liked and I had 2 nice ewes she liked. We talked, agreed, so we are going to trade..on Monday We're happy
I settled on a Shetland ram on Shetland ewes.........then I read the stories of Shetland lambs slow their growth over winter with the lack of sun,,,some breeders keep their market lambs till near yearlings, Shetland market lambs going for good money or for little to nothing. I used to have Jerseys and stand there with hat in hand as my baby bull calves sold for $10 and the Holstein calves for $100.......My grandpa had Jerseys too.....in the 40-50s he would dispose of the bull calves at birth (I couldn't do that)......I didn't want to repeat the hat in hand with my lambs, walking away with pennies... A hobby yes -this is not a money maker----- but I would like to have them pay for part of their feed------ What ram to get and mind you he isn't needed till Fall!!!. Border Leicester -- too big,, Cheviot...ewes can be too "alert" Other breeds no...I want to keep the clean face. lags and fine fleece....hardiness. A Finn ram..soft fleece, easy lambing, docile. We have had Finns before---My wife says softly "I don't want Finns, remember all the multiple births of tiny lambs...bottle babies, older ewes with nutrition/health trouble during pregnancy...this is suppose to be fun not a lot of work.so please no Finns this time.." Yes" I say Remember I am suppose to take it slow and easy
I watch my favorite TV shows in the evening,,,Dish Network so I have prerecorded shows so I can fast forward through the commercials,,,I know TV but I am behaving myself by resting but I got to do something..till my "good eye" gets tired. Now the stations throw in reruns.........or have had season finales.....in March? So I sat looking out across our pasture.
I thinking of the neighbors through the trees we have known them for 15 years and 7 years ago bought our 5 acres from them........hilly pasture, oak trees and scrub cornfield.......its a farmstead now. Whoops back to the neighbor.....she has Icelandic sheep a bigger cousin to the Shetland.......Years ago.she had some Shetland ewes and used a Icelandic ram on them with no birthing troubles. First cross to Icelandic the lambs do not get the dual coat--just super soft/fine fleece, she has a few 3/4 Icelandic 1/4 Shetland who still have fine single coats. A really close friend she answers all my sheep questions.....she is tolerates of my run-on emails.. so I can get a polled Icelandic ram lamb each fall if I want, pay slaughter price, use him and ship him Or he can stay for a second Fall breeding if we really like him. First maybe a spotted ram if her flock produces one...she had 4 spotted lambs last year, as I have 5 ewes that carry spots. A few spotted lambs would be fun
So the flock is set 12 Shetland or Shetland crossed (with something) ewes and a polled Icelandic ram.
4 ewes to lamb in May and Shadow with Shade....and 7 Shetland ewes to come mid July
So if anyone got offended or shook their heads in wonderment/astonishment/disbelief/disgust as I found my way and assembled my flock I apologize. I do what I can,
Jerry Fletcher, Fergus Falls, MN
November 2011 I retired, sold my Shetland flock and moved to town.I live on the edge of Fergus Falls, pop 13,000. Its has been a great choice. My mother, sister, her family and my granddaughter live here. I have a garden shed that I converted into a chicken coop. Its also houses my granddaughter's pet Rabbit. My backyard will be flowers and shrubs.