Becoming sheep owners
We’ve had a neighbour grazing his sheep on our property for the last few years but we’ve finally taken the plunge and are sheep owners! Taking on the responsibility for animals is big for us because we always want to do the right thing by them so we know we’ll end up doing more rather than less when it comes to their care. So far we’ve bought chickens, lambs and a duck inside escaping the weather or some peril and we’re not becoming any less hands on.
Having the sheep here has been a big learning curve – they are quite high maintenance really…. drenching, hoof trimming, lambing….However they keep the grass down and provide meat so ideally we’ll come out on top. Our land gets really wet in winter and cows on it previously filled the ground with holes which will take years to flatten out so we don’t want to get cows again. We also thought about goats but they are escape artists and we’re not that fond of goat meat (they are fun to watch though). The other option is pigs and we may get some Kune Kune pigs at some point as they eat alot of grass. So for now it’s the sheep.
The sheep we’ve been grazing are Wiltshires – a benefit to us block owners who only have a small flock as they self-shed. We often get comments from visitors about our motley sheep but they’re meant to look like they do. They rub up against the fence and trees to rub the wool off and end up looking nice and tidy with usually just a small piece left along the back. I know I should go and collect the wool but there’s not enough of it to sell and anywhere I put it in the garden the puppy finds it and eats it. Maybe I could try it under the fruit trees as mulch as he’s banned from the orchard/chicken run.
Our new flock consists of two of the ewe lambs born here in September 2015 and an unrelated Wiltshire ram of a similar age. A small beginning but we only have enough grass for about six anyway. As sheep do they’ve formed a gang who hang out together (the ram sticking with the girls for obvious reasons). We’ll be keeping an anxious eye on them and try to not get too attached. Their offspring (if we have any this year) are destined for the freezer after all.