We have been agonising over the sheep these last few weeks. We feel we really must cut back on numbers, as last winter was difficult, and we just dont have enough grass growing now to see us through next winter with six – and fodder and feed will no doubt be more expensive, for the same reasons.. lack of rain = lack of hay etc.
The problem has been who to keep. This decision eventually boiled down to whether we are focusing on lambing and meat or wool.. we get both of course, but we need to choose. Because some of the ewes – eg Saffie, are ideal for lambing – brilliant last year, and oodles of milk, big lambs etc, but black wool.. was a mistake. Others are better for their wool..Betty has an interesting coat..Sharona has the best..
and the problem is we like them all and they all have their merits.
In the end though, we have decided, for now, to make it more about the wool and less about meat, because, for now, we enjoy playing with wool a lot. We enjoy lambs too, and certainly when the fields suddenly were full of them .. we thought we might go back to lambing afterall, but the winter not stressing over the condition of the ewes, and the lambing season being one in which we actually got sleep, had it’s advantages too.
Nothing is forever, but for now, this is what we are doing. If we can cover our costs involved with keeping the sheep by selling the wool, perfect. if we can cover the costs of buying in store lambs to raise for hogget or mutton, even better.
Bad news, unfortunately, for Saffie. Affable though she is, she is huge, we can’t turn her, and her wool though lovely, is black, which does limit it’s uses. And we have lots of it stashed. She is not ideal for wool.
I think she must have heard us, as she is clearly looking for a way to thwart our plans. Today I noticed she was sat apart from the others, although she looked content, and there were flies buzzing around her leg, which she had tucked under her. When I enticed them over, she came with the others, but with a slight limp. We pinned her against the fence and took a look, and she has a maggoty foot. Well not any more, as we cleaned it up and treated it. No obvious sign of footrot, I think maybe scald.
We checked her all over for any other infestations.. nothing showing.
Not wholly unexpected, it’s been warm, and the rain made everything humid and damp, it’s that time of year. Once again, I am so glad we have had them sheared.
Still plan to send Saffie off, once we have her sorted out, and some time clear.