Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What's your plan?

Good Morning, How are you doing?
Now that we have some little idea about who we are, let's find out what the plan is.
We have discussed picking rams and choosing who to keep and breed.
What are you doing with your lambs? Do you sell some and keep some?
I sure do....I'm pretty sure everyone who raises sheep does that. How big do you plan to be....not as big as me is a good plan. Are you going to raise pure-bred sheep? Any kind of pure-breds....you have to become as familiar as you can of the fine points of your breed...or breeds. How do they interact?
Little story about combining breeds. I chose to add Navajo Curros to my breeding program. They were supposed to be a little bigger, and the wool was different, so they should compliment each other. I put the little ram lamb in with my other shetland ram lambs. Now, the clue, I missed, was that the ram lamb could not walk in the fall....I had to carry him to his breeding group.
Over the winter, he got bigger, and gentler....he was a beauty.
I picked out the smallest shetland ram to put with him and then added the ram lambs from that spring....everyone was half the size of my gentle giant. As fall came, we missed our Navajo-churro ram one night....and went to look for him out in the pasture.
We finally found him....scared in a corner....blind.
Not knowing what could have caused the change from morning to night...we put the Navajo-churro girls in with him to keep him calm....and called the vet.
There were only a couple of things that could cause blindness....so we started pushing meds into our boy, and after a week, I noticed he staggered when he hit the fence. Seemed that it was not a medical problem....but a brain injury. We put him down, since we couldn't make him better. In February, my husband was shoveling snow and heard a lamb. After a while he went to see, knowing the ewes couldn't be having lambs. What he found, was a little lamb with a long tail, out in the snow with a shetland ewe. Husbands can be quite smart....When I reached the barn, there was one of the churro girls having a second lamb in the barn. We put up a jug and watched the other girl...sure enough in a couple of days she too, had twins. Our little boy, couldn't breed his girls the first year...but blind, the week he had them, he left his progeny....every one looked just like their sire. We hadn't noticed the girls were pregnant....they were so much bigger than the shetlands. Big Bertha....and her lambs, and the rest of the churros were sold as a group to a petting farm already raising churros.
So sometimes plans can go astray.
Don't try to add breeds unless you have enough penning to seperate anyone that doesn't get along....watch your shetland rams as fall come around....about a month before breeding time...the rams want to decide who gets all the ewes....don't let your breeds hurt each other.
So now....we all....have 20 or 30 ewe and lambs. ( I may have a few more than that.)What do we do now? Have you ever tried to market your sheep, your products? Who do you know with experience? Who do you know who gets excited about what they are doing? Who do you know thinking out-side the box?
The reason, I ask...is because I want to form a thinking group. A bunch of us...with or without experience....to bounce marketing ideas off each-other. I already have two folks, and will set up a yahoo group for us....this is just thinking stage right now....no committment needed.
Let me know if you want to join my group.
bopeep the lucky

2 Comments:

At 12:48 PM, Blogger sheperdchik said...

Sign me up Mary!

 
At 10:55 AM, Blogger Bill Stearman said...

Count me in as well Mary Ellen. For the past two years, my sheep sales has exceeded $15,000 ... but that has to increase for me to keep doing what I am doing! I'd welcome a chance to brainstorm!

 

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