The sheep have eaten the available pasture. There is a lot more, but to set up the electric net fence would not be easy in those areas. The perimeter of an electric net fence must be mowed so no vegetation comes in contact with the wires. Where there is heavy shrubbery, this is not possible, so the sheep are eating some very excellent hay and getting fat at this time. The lambs are mostly ready to wean, too. The males that are in tact will have to go the bachelor pen with the other boys and the wethers can stay with the girls for three weeks or so, until the mothers' milk has dried up and they are no longer lactating. Then the lambs that are being kept for breeding will be returned to the flock, the wethers will be kept and fed for spring lamb and the males will be offered for sale. The males were selected for good quality conformation and hopefully will make excellent rams. There were three rams last year for breeding: the Jacob to the Jacob ewes, the Icelandic to the Icelandic ewes and two randoms and the Cotswold to the Cotswold ewes, E'st a Laine Merinos and a few other random ewes. Most sheep had twins and there were no triplets this year. Four lambs were lost to a predator of some sort within a day of birth. The Icelandic sheep, despite their hardiness, worm resistance and excellent ability to forage, plus their superior wool, are offered for sale. That will be a total of 12 sheep less over winter. Some of the other lambs and two ewes will also be offered for sale or taken to the organic farm for meat. The Southdown Babydoll lambs will join the adults by the end of summer as well, adding to the large number of overwintering sheep. Currently one big round bale only lasts about 10 days at 50 dollars a bale. It is more economical to sell some sheep that to continue to feed them hay. They will have an opportunity to go back out on pasture when it grows in enough again, but once September rolls around the quality of the grass begins to decline and the nutrients are sent to the roots readying for winter, at which time, the rich spring hay is a much better feed option. The sheep are the mainstay of the farm, though at this time, I am still experimenting with options for fleece and breeds to determine which, if any, are profitable. In the meantime, the ewes love the rich alfalfa and timothy hay they are being given and are getting nice and fat for winter. Yum!
Fluffy writes daily about the experiences on the farm and with the bed and breakfast patrons.