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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We sheared our sheep

When we first got our Icelandic sheep, the ewes had not been shorn in over a year.  Icelandics should be shorn twice a year, spring and fall.  The fall fleece is more valuable because, by being on grass, it in generally cleaner and in better condition than a spring fleece that had been on straw and had hay in it during the winter.

These girls were carrying quite a bit of extra weight!  And we couldn't really tell what they looked like under all that wool.  Did they have a lot of muscle?  Were they deep bodied?  Skin and bones from nursing lambs on just grass?  

On Friday we had them sheared.  

And we got to see what was under all that wool.  To say I was happy would be an understatement, I was ecstatic!  Look at that long side, deep body, wide leg, and width over her top.  And she is in excellent condition for raising two big ram lambs.  She's built like a steel vault.  Trust me, I had to lift her into the back of our pickup!  

This is EXACTLY what I had dreamed about when I made the deal for these sheep.  They have never been fed grain in their lives.  Just grass.  And they are doing that well.  This flies in the face of all the conventional sheep raising literature and practices I was taught...and I LOVE IT!!

The farmer who was hosting the sheep shearer commented as they were being sheared, "Oh, so they'll be lambing in a couple of weeks?"  Since our ewes were in such good condition, he figured they were GOING to lamb.  "No sir, they all have lambs on.  The youngest is over 6 weeks old."  Having raised conventional sheep the conventional way, I knew exactly where he was coming from.  There is no way these ewes should look that good.  But they do and I'm so excited!

Speaking of that young lamb who joined us on Mother's day...
Here he is at two days old with is wooly mama.

And here he is today with his shorn mama!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting stuff - that ewe does indeed look awesome. Well they all do. It never occurred to me that they might not do well on grass - obviously I have more to learn. And I love the last picture - the woolly baby looks huge compared to his shorn mama.


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