Why Do We Have Sheep For Sale?

Why are we selling our sheep? Finnsheep are the primary reason.  When we moved to the farm and I was researching sheep breeds, Finns were at the top of the list.  Some of their attributes include beautiful fiber highly sought after by handspinners, a gentle nature, a medium size, easy breeders, multiple births – including lambing quads and quintuplets…

Huh?!  Quints?  Now I became nervous!  Having never been a shepherd, or ever lived on a farm, I couldn’t wrap my mind around successfully handling multiple births.  So the breed moved down the list;  Shetlands and Mulesheep moved to the top.

We bought a small flock of Shetlands ewes and whethers.  That winter we added a ram and began our journey into breeding sheep.  Everything I had read about Shetlands and learned from Shetland breeders was true.  They are easy keepers, lamb easily, are excellent mothers, do well on rough pasture and browse, and due to their small size they are easy for a newbie shepherd to handle.  And the lambs!  They are so cute!

Finnsheep ram lamb Little Red Oak Eino (left) and Bluefaced Leicester ram Dougal (right)

A Bluefaced Leicester ram arrived next as we wanted to breed Mulesheep.  We are fortunate to have gained some clients who enjoy grass-fed lamb and we wanted to to raise a number of market lambs.  Beechtree Dougal came to our farm, purchased from Becky Utecht of River Oaks Farm.  Dougal is our gentle giant; he is a white BFL who carries color.  He has passed on his lustrous, purly locks to his progeny over the last two years.  He has sired five lovely Mulesheep ewes, four 3/4 BFL ewes and a number of rams – all with fabulous white or natural colored fleece.  With Dougal, I discovered that I really liked having a polled ram.  As Finnsheep rams are polled, we will now have polled rams.  Dougal is now For Sale.

Last year I bought a Finn fleece which came from Osmo, a brown Finn ram owned by Gail VonBargen of Little Red Oak Farm.  I loved the fleece and revisited the original idea of raising Finns on our farm.  We purchased Eino (sired by Osmo) in July.  He is a very mellow ram, like BFL Dougal.

Tim, the Farm Manager at Gale Woods weighed the ewes before they went into my vehicle. I didn't write down the numbers but as near as I remember, Emmi weighs 86 lb. and Elina weighs 78 lb. (at 7 months.)

Last fall we were able to buy two Finn ewe lambs, a black and white, from Tim Reese at Gale Woods Farm in Minnestrista.  His Finn stock has its roots in Wee Croft genetics –  very good genetics indeed.  The two ewes were in a group of sheep which were going to the sale barn.  Gail VonB. actually picked them out for me as she was at the farm looking at sheep and we live several hours away.

Gail selected two nice sheep for us.  Emmi, the black ewe, was sheared, and Elina, the white ewe, was still in full fleece.  I brought them home and they were bred to Little Red Oak Eino for April lambs.  This spring, we had four lambs from the two ewes; they all carry brown which is a rare color in Finns.  Emmi and Elina were very easy to work with in the jug and are steady girls when I approach them outside.

Greeting party in the nursery

So now we have about 35 sheep – which is more than we want to manage.  The Shetlands and Mules don’t really need any special management, just fresh water, minerals and good pasture; but the Finns and the 3/4 BFL ewes need some extra daily grain in their first year of life.  The management part is the amount of time and effort required on our farm to support the flock on “good pasture.”  We use a combination of field fence and electric with electronet fencing used to section of pastures for rotational grazing.  Eight llamas and 35 sheep are too much pressure for our pastures and we won’t be able to house that many come winter.

So our flock has grown! This is not a surprise, but now that we have more experience, we have a better idea of the numbers we want to keep.  My plan is to have 5-6 Finnsheep ewes and the 3/4 BFL ewe lambs, along with a few whethers and a Finn ram or two.

That means we need to sell Sheep.  Please check out our sale pages by clicking on the tabs at the top of the blog.  Leave a comment or email with any questions.  Thank you for looking!

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