Archive for the ‘Sheep shearing’ Category

Winter – Will it Ever End?

Mid-April snowstorm - about 8 inches on the ground with plenty of mud underneath

Mid-April snowstorm – about 8 inches on the ground with plenty of mud underneath

 

This is a photo of our dismal April.  We have received more snow this April than the previous 10 April’s combined.  We have had continuous snow, ice or mud on the ground with very few dry days.  The temperature has been mostly in the 30’s-40’s with freezing temps at night.  It is depressing and the fields are behind on greening up.

For fiber folks that have asked when I will get to skirting the spring shearing?  Sorry, but it will be awhile.   I do  not jacket my sheep so the spring fleeces have VM.  We still have some lovely fall 2012 fleeces available on the Fleece page.

 

 

LAMBING UPDATE – We are in full swing of lambing on the farm.  I will get photos loaded for the next post.  ALL LAMBS THIS YEAR WILL BE FOR SALE!

Our grandchildren holding a single 3/4 Finn black piebald ewe lamb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Baa, Baa Grey (?) Sheep

Our new Finnsheep ram lamb is from Gail VonBargen of  Little Red Oak Farm.  His mother is black piebald (wildly spotted) and sire is brown. So he BBBb with spots.  Or so we thought…  Last Saturday, as Knuut was being sheared, his fiber fell aside to reveal a beautiful silver grey.  Finnsheep genetics are not as well understood as Shetland genetics, but Shetland breeders would call this type of change “modified.”   I think it is beautiful, whatever it is called.

Finn ram Knuut

Finn ram Knuut

Fleeces

On Sunday, daughter-in-law Ashley helped me skirt 21 fleeces.  This is our first year shearing in autumn.  We will always shear twice annually from now on!  The fleeces were very clean and the six-month old lamb fleeces are luscious!  I am working on a Roundaboutacres Sales blog and will get photos and prices of sale fleeces online in the next few days.  In the meantime, here a few photos.

Bluefaced Leicester/Shetland Mulesheep Sasha

Finn/Shetland ram lamb

Shearing Day – Fleeces available!

Shearing Day!

Saturday is shearing day on the farm.  We are trying something new this year – we will shear in the fall and again in spring.  Many Finnsheep shepherds shear their sheep twice annually.  The fall clip is clean because the sheep have been on pasture with no hay to contaminate the fleece.  I have also noticed that with the Shetlands and the Shetland/BFL cross sheep, the staple is VERY long when sheared annually; at times it has been too long for the fiber mill.

Fleeces are available from $9-$16 per pound plus shipping.  Please email roundaboutacres AT gmail DOT com

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Breeding Groups

We have two breeding groups this year.  Our new Finn ram lamb is Little Red Oak Knuut.  He is BBBb (black, carries brown) with spots.  His mother is piebald.  On Oct. 7th, he was introduced to ten ewes and ewe lambs and everything appears to be going well.

The second breeding group consists of four ewe lambs and a ram lamb which we brought home from northern Minnesota.  They are Border Leicester crosses.  The ram is 3/4 BL, the ewes are Border Leicester,  BL/Columbia, or BL/Karakul crosses.  I am really curious to see what we get from this group.  We are hoping for lambs with a bit more size.

And I had to include this humorous photo of a ewe lamb who didn’t want to go into the breeding pen.  She flopped… and then she flipped.  Enjoy!

Haulin’ Water

It’s that time of year when it seems that I am always tired.  Physically, creatively, and mentally tired.  I’m tired of the snow, sick of the unending monotone of the landscape.  Watching the sheep and llamas has even lost it’s intrigue.  I just want to snuggle in bed, go to sleep and stay there until … spring! …  lambs!

At this time of year, I question myself on why I have so many sheep.  Each sheep and llama means additional water to haul to the trough in the barnyard or to each separate pen.  We don’t have a water hydrant near the barnyard.  We DO have an outside hydrant which is 75 paces from the nearest water troughs.   No, I don’t know how many feet.  I don’t want to know!

Approx. 15 gallons of water per trip are hauled to the barnyard in this mixing trough. The trough is very strong and glides nicely through the snow. I bought the gas can specifically for water. It works well through the fence.

Today, while I made four trips to the water hydrant, I reminded myself that spring will arrive soon and the sheep will hopefully be sheared in less than a month.  Then the udders will begin to swell and lambs start to arrive.

We are in the midst of more snowfall.  I am not complaining.  We aren’t getting much compared to other places in the country.  At least the gray will be replaced with some fluffy white.  Hmm…I’m tired of that also… .   At least the sheep enjoy the snow.  The ewelings and whethers have been running and kicking up their heels daily.  I DO enjoy watching them play!

Chester and Jester always greet me when I am in the barnyard. I think they are happy for the water and the new bales of hay!

How to Roo a Sheep

To Roo…

Several months ago I posted about TH and my experience rooing our two ram lambs.  You can read about it and see pictures here.  It was such a pleasant experience, I wanted to learn more about the “art of the roo.”  I had hopes of getting more research done on the subject, especially after I received an email from a gal who was interested in learning more.   On the Yahoo Shetland list there recently has been a thread about rooing. I thought it would be a great opportunity to respond to the email, but alas, I can’t find it.  Aargh!  I must have deleted the message.  My apologies.

Links That Are Worth Viewing

Please check out this wonderful information provided by members/Shetland breeders who are much more knowledgeable than me.

Eileen, a Shepherdess from Maine, provided these links.  There are great pictures and quite a lot of detail.   Enjoy!

Information about Rooing From Linda Wendelboe and Kathy Baker  There are detailed photos and two video clips.

Video clip Historic videos which chronicle life on the Shetland Isles.  A fascinating site to be sure!

Historic Shetland Photos The pictures on this post are just a few of many fantastic historic photos of life on Shetland.  The site is the Shetland Museum Archives.  They have a searchable database and thousands of photos.  You may want to bookmark this site!

…or Not to Roo?

So I don’t know if we will do any rooing this year.  We will most likely shear in March as the lambs will be due the beginning of April.  If I have sheep that are starting the rise, I will definitely put them in the headgate and hand roo.  The fleece from Abbott and Costello was very clean and quite lovely after rooing.  I don’t think my hands could take rooing the whole flock though.  I would rather save my hands for spinning, dyeing and knitting!

Shearing Day on the Farm

Yesterday was a busy day on the farm. We had hay feeders to fill, straw to place and 20 sheep to shear. Our shearer arrived, set up and got to work. We had penned the ewes in the barn the night before, so they were dry and close at hand. On the left is a picture of BFL Dougal.

Our girls aren’t due for another three weeks, at the earliest. Lambing will go until the end of May or early June. We intentionally bred a little later this year. We wanted to ensure that there was plenty of green grass for the ewes. It’s tough to wait for our lambies when other shepherds are posting lamb pics all over their blogs! Below is a picture of a few of our girls after shearing. Overall, I was very happy with the condition of the sheep. We have bought our hay from the same place the last two winters and the ewes have been in good condition in the spring. One less thing for this new shepherd to worry about! I will start graining the ewes though, as the lambs gain more weight during the last six weeks of gestation.

Below is a picture of our two polled rams, Bluefaced Leicester Dougal (right) and BFL X NC Cheviot ram lamb Doogie. They look just fine after spending a few months with their girls!

After all the barnyard work was done, I was rewarded with 20 colorful fleeces. While waiting for lambs to arrive, I can at least soothe my anxiety by playing with fleece, right? I have a nice variety this year – single and double coated Shetland in a variety of colors; a white Bluefaced Leicester fleece, white and black Mule sheep, a BFL X NC Cheviot, and two NC Cheviots. My goal is to produce fleeces for a variety of handspinners. To that end, I have crossbred most of our sheep this year with the BFL or BFL X NC Cheviot. I am hoping for purly or crimpy luster added to the Shetland color; and more crimp and luster added to the NC Cheviot.

I have much work to do with skirting. I will have a booth at Llama Magic this year on Mother’s Day weekend, May 9th & 10th. Llama Magic takes place at the same time/place as Shepherd’s Harvest in Lake Elmo, MN. I placed a link on the sidebar for you to check it out! I will post pictures of the fleeces as I skirt them. Most fleeces are available for sale. Call or email for more info.

And, of course, there was snow on the ground this morning! But it is now 1pm and the snow is already melted. Is it really spring?

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