The Fat Ewe Farm raises many animals. Sheep are the main industry, raised for the wool and goats, Angora, Pygmy and Nigerian Dwarf, are secondary. Then there are ducks, geese, chickens, pigs, alpacas, llamas, horses, cows, dogs, cats, and a rabbit. After two years, it is time to review the status of the economics.
The animals cost a great deal. For example, the veterinary fees alone for a single ram were over $800, while his initial purchase price was only $450, so he is now a $1250 ram. He bred about a dozen ewes this year and most produced twins, all healthy with no losses, except the first two to a predator, likely the ravens. He will stay because selling him would be a great financial loss now, but he is halter trained and easy to manage, plus he is a great breeder and worth his salt. The Jacob ram also did well this year with the ewes and next year will breed all the Jacob ewes except one, but there is a second Jacob ram for her. The other sheep are not profitable. Their lambs can only be sold for $100- $150 and their fleece for $30 dollars raw. Jacob fleece commands a higher price. So, it is worthwhile to keep the Jacobs.
The introduction of Babydoll sheep will be interesting. The cost of the lambs is $1000 each. There are 2 ram lambs and 4 ewe lambs, which can breed in one year. They are not known to have twins, but can, so let's assume that the 4 ewes produce 4 lambs the first year. The female babies will be kept and the males sold, and when the flock of Babydolls reaches 20 ewes, the profit from the lambs will be substantial at $800 to $1000 per lamb versus $100 - $150 per standard lambs. So, these sheep will actually make money for the farm. Their fleece is also valuable as an added bonus.
The horses are pasture ornaments. They have to be sold before winter or they are eating, literally, the farm profits up. The same goes for the llamas, though I will keep a few because they are the sweetest, gentlest creatures and a joy to have. The pigs do rototilling so they stay. The duck numbers can be reduced greatly as well as the chicken and goose numbers. The geese are sitting on nests and hopefully will hatch babies. If they sell, they are profitable. Chickens are valuable to the farm in the summer for pest control and they do provide eggs, so a small flock is worthwhile. The alpacas are useless, stupid and docile. They can go, even though they eat very little. If the rabbit, who is male, has a couple of girlfriends, he can produce copious numbers of offspring, so he stays.
The goat focus will change to crosses between the Angoras, who are terribly stupid compared to Pygmies and not hardy. The Pygmy/Angoras are Pygoras and are much more sturdy and hopefully smarter, plus their fiber is worth something for hand spinners and the babies can be sold for more than Pygmy babies.
Sheep and goats waste hay. They require second cut hay, but second cut hay, which is fine without straws, is twice the price. There is less waste, less to clean up, so the value is still worthwhile.This year, the farm will seek out second cut grass hay and second cut alfalfa hay. These bales can run around $100 per large round bale. Last year the animals went through 25 bales, but at least 70% was wasted, so that was a learning experience. Better hay should reduce the waste to a minimum.
The numbers will have to stay low as well. No more than 30 ewes, several rams, 15 goats and bucks, and smaller numbers of birds will help stabilize the costs. Winter feeding should be easier too, now that the farm owns a skid steer tractor to move large round bales.
This is a great learning experience. Farming is expensive and unless the economy changes to provide the farmer with a better profit, it will cease to exist on a small scale. Why should the large corporations get all the money when the farmer does all the work?