Sheep And Lambs
Posted by admin | Filed under Sheep and Lambs
We raise sheep for schooling purposes — that is, to train our dogs and our student’s dogs how to herd. We also raise locker lambs for some of the best tasting meat around.
We run a small flock of crossbred ewes that are used both for producing our great tasting lamb and as dog-training sheep. Most of our ewes are North Country Cheviot crosses. Our ewes spend most of their time outdoors. This way they can exercise and spend as much time as they want in the fresh air and sunshine. They do have access to a barn, of course, and during lambing time they are locked up at night, both for their safety and to make it easier on the shepherdess during the middle-of-the-night “barn checks.”
Our lambs are typically born in mid March and are raised on locally grown hay and grain until turned out on pasture. We use a modified rotational grazing system to maximize pasture utilization and insure healthy sheep and lambs. Our pasture is rarely sprayed with any chemicals, but we spot spray against thistles when required. The lambs are allowed to grow at a natural pace, we don’t try to push their growth by artificial means, as we believe that produces the highest quality, best tasting meat. Besides, it’s much better for the animals.
Our lambs are raised naturally in that we use no hormones or antibiotics. They ARE vaccinated against the most common ailments that affect sheep to ensure their health and they are given anthelmintics (de-worming meds). Any lamb that has to be medicated beyond that for any reason is not sold as a locker lamb.
The sheep we use to train herding dogs range from the really heavy, “knee-knocker” kind to the really light and flighty kind. This way we can put together groups of sheep that are suitable for whatever we are trying to teach the dog during the lesson.
We occasionally have school sheep for sale or “rent.” You may want to consider renting a few sheep before you leap into full-fledged ownership. This way you will also have the option of switching the sheep so that you are not always training on the same three or five.