Saturday, November 17, 2018

New Lambs -- Fresh Bloodlines

I picked up ten new lambs to add to my flock. The opportunity was there and I needed two things : fresh blood in the breeding flock and more mouths to graze down my excess grass. I actually didn't care if I got ewe or wether lambs (although I would like at least a few ewe lambs in the bunch) because I primarily wanted my grass under control. I figured that if they were wethers, I could just put them into the freezer when the task was done. But the seller was interested in keeping the wethers himself to grow on for meat, so I got all ewes. That was just as fine with me. So instead of slaughtering them, I'll just add them to the breeding flock. This gives me the opportunity to phase out the older ewes. Plus now I won't need to replace my rams since these new ewes aren't closely related to my current stock. 

For now they will be isolated from my other sheep until they adjust to the change. Sheep stress out fairly easily, and when stressed can come down sick. So best to let then adjust to their new home, new grass, new schedule before they meet the resident sheep. 

For now they are in the newly fenced rotational pastures up at the front of the farm. I'll let them work their way through the grass while I visit them several times a day, getting them use to my presence and a grain bucket. I'd like them to follow a grain bucket before I move them into the back pastures. These lambs are not bottled fed babies, so they are quite skittish around people. I don't expect them to be friendly, but I'd like to be able to control them easily without a lot of to-do. 


  1. Can't they be entirely grass fed? Why the grain? I went back to eating meat recently when I discovered I could buy grass fed only, also I buy "Grassmilk" and "pastured chicken/eggs".

  2. The sheep at 99.99% grass fed. The grain is only there to keep them friendly enough to follow a bucket when being moved to new pasture or when they need to be caught. Most only get a taste, or a small handful at the most. Stacy is the only exception. She is the flock leader and often snatches a couple handfuls a grain a day, simply because she is the pushy one who everyone else defers to. I don't grain feed my sheep, nor finish them off with grain. I don't see the need for that. But a few pellets of sweet mix or cracked corn sure makes moving them to fresh pasture easy, quick, and less stressful. And if they learn that the grain is in the blue bucket, they will even follow that blue bucket anywhere even if it happens to be empty or filled with gravel.