Sheep on the Farmstead

The days prior to bringing Lemon (our Suffolk ewe) home, we were thinking of pulling the plug. I had been doing a lot of reading about sheep and honestly, I was spooked by all the info about worms and internal parasites. Even though I was trying to get ahead of any major health issues before they happened, I felt like maybe I was out of my element with ruminants and all that came along with them.

So we decided that we would just go and meet this baby lamb and make our decision then.

Note to everyone! NEVER a good idea! DUH!!! Who can say no to the face of ANY baby animal?

We brought Lemon home from our neighbours and settled her into our mini barn.

We were now in it! Sheep deep!

We fell in love. First with the adorable BAA-ING and sweet nature, the feel of her wool and the bounce in her step.

BUT after she started headbutting the pigs, we quickly learned that she needed a friend or friendssss.

Then came Gussy and Gordy the Southdown Babydoll sheep. We acquired Gussy because he was born with a deformed foot and no one really wanted a broken sheep. EXCEPT ME! So Gordy came along with Gussy.

Once you see a couple of babydoll sheep for the first time, you fall head over heals and that’s for damn sure what happened to us!

About the same time we brought the boys home, we discovered Lemon had brought tape worm with her. After letting our neighbour know so that he could treat his flock, it still took us a couple months of re-occurring worms popping up and different de-wormers to finally get rid of it. Funny thing with tape worm is that it’s probably not even gone, just laying dormant until we see it again. Lovely!

None the less, adding Gussy and Gordy really made me swoon over sheep. I would (and still do) stare at them in the yard for hours! They are truly the sweetest animals we have on the farm. Gordy LOVES head rubs and will stand at your side as long as he can just to soak it up. Lemon loves food of any kind but would rather you hold it for her as she eats instead of eating off the ground. She’s classy like that.

So, I wanted to keep our hearts open for the possibility of more! And sure enough a few months later, we found 3 more baby doll ewes that needed a forever home!

Enter, Gaga, Gracie and GG. We had finally made a flock of our own and to me that was just enough sheep to keep themselves warm in the barn and for me to maintain, shear and harvest wool in the spring. It is also the perfect number of grazers for our acreage that I do not need to cut grass anymore!!! Woohoo!!

I don’t know how we ever made it through life without sheep?! Yes, they come with their usual maintenance like any animal but the pros strongly outweigh any concerns I had about internal parasites. I haven’t had sheep long at all, I’m still quite the amateur but I wouldn’t trade them for anything! They each have their own sweet personalities and the BAA-ing has become beautiful music to my ears, so much so that we can even tell who is baa-ing without looking.

So why sheep?

They seriously have the sweetest temperaments! They are docile, trusting, calm and love attention. They are so curious and welcome to head rubs and snuggles. They graze the yard and keep the grass cut. They are a blast to watch at sunset when they get all frisky and start chasing each other around the yard. Once sheared in the spring, you can sell or use their wool to make sweaters! That’s my plan! They fertilize my pastures for better growth the next season and they clean up anything from the garden that I don’t sell or eat.

You will never see me endorse having animals for the production of food. I don’t throw shade on homesteaders who feed their families this way however we do NOT eat any of our animals here on Gilly Farm. So having sheep for meat will never be a good enough reason for me to add to this list. Plus, they are just way more fun alive then dismembered and decomposing inside your body.

They do require foot trims which I do about every month. Along with their hoof trims, I also trim the wool around their eyes because babydoll sheep grow wool on their faces and if not taken care of, it can grow over their eyes. They need to be dewormed, normally in spring and fall but everyone has a different worming schedule. I’m still learning this part and only trying to worm when they need it so as not to become too resistant to the dewormer. And then there is shearing. Ideally this is to be done in the spring or early summer. I plan to shear my sheep myself and can post a blog about that when the time comes. I also plan to use their wool for myself and to sell locally.

There are so many reasons to have sheep on your farm. Hopefully you take the jump and can realize for yourself just how wonderful they are!

Thanks for stopping by today!

De

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