Truly Local Lamb - Year Round
Health, Housing and Feed
Maintaining great nutrition and animal health/comfort lets us grow delicious lamb and have very productive ewes. Animal welfare is our biggest core value. A huge commitment to animal health, care and environment gives our animals the opportunity to be productive creatures. Our education and experience on farms and within the farming community gives us confidence to do the right thing for our sheep and our farm.
We grow most of the feed that animals eat. The feeds are tested and rations are balanced based on the stage of production a sheep is in for optimal health and production. Crops we grow include; hay, haylage, pea and oat forage, corn silage, grain corn and barley. Additional ingredients like protein and vitamins and minerals are purchased locally. A total mixed ration (TMR) is fed to the sheep to ensure an ideal bite each time. By using stored feeds year-round (instead of pasture) we ensure a consistent healthy diet every day. The sheep stomachs (the rumen and the bacteria that digest forages) are very susceptible change. Avoiding change is key to maintaining healthy sheep.
Lambs raised for meat are fed a grain ration (corn or barley) with a protein and mineral pellet.
We manage our land in an environmentally sustainable way by using, no-till, minimum till, crop rotations and manure. This maximizes crop production and limits the amount of commercial fertilizer applied. Healthy soils = quality crops = quality feeds = healthy sheep.
We use hormones & antibiotics on our farm in a responsible and respectable manner in consultation with a vet and even an animal nutritionist.
Antibiotics are used if a sheep gets sick and needs treatment. Hormones may be used to help a sheep get pregnant and synchronize a group (so they lamb in a narrow window of time to manage for feeding or breeding). We also use some feed additives (kind of like probiotics in your yogurt) to help ensure stomach health of the sheep.
Our animals are housed indoors or in a dry-lot type yard with a shelter. This helps us manage our sheep in a number of ways. Keeping the sheep indoors helps protect them for predators like coyotes and we can also greatly limit exposure to intestinal parasites. Good ventilation and lighting in our barns makes them very comfortable ... warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The sheep always have access to fresh clean water.
Technology is also a tool we use to manage our sheep. When a lamb is born it gets an ear tag which is then scanned into a computer program. Each time this animal is handled or treated (weights, breeding, health events) we can enter the information. We are then able to monitor weight gains, productivity and even determine which ram to put with which ewe based on each animals history.
Scientific name is Ovis aries.
A group of sheep is called a flock.
Sheep have 4 stomachs ... rumen, reticulum, omasum, abomasum
Sheep are very smart and can recognize and remember faces and people.
Pregnancy in a ewe is 5 months.
Sheep don't have top front teeth. They only have teeth on the bottom and you can tell how old they are by how many bottom teeth they have.
Sheep have good memories! Scientists believe that sheep can memorize the faces of up to 50 different humans and sheep throughout their life time.
Sheep produce fleece or wool, which is then used to make various items like yarn and felt.
Sheep can produce anywhere from 2-30lbs of wool per year!
Lamb - baby sheep, less than a year old
Whether - castrated male sheep
Ewe lamb - young female sheep kept for breeding, a sheep that hasn't lambed yet
Ram lamb - young male sheep
Hoggot - meat from lamb 1-2 years
Mutton - meat from sheep older than 2 years