A farmer friend told us “just take on one animal a year, and you should be fine.” How about five?
In addition to the chickens, ducks and guineas we currently have in residence, and the piglets that were born last week (and should be arriving in mid September), we just agreed to purchase 5 Cheviot lamb ewes.
Honestly, it was just a coincidence… a good friend of ours knows the shepherd, and she was looking to get rid of some lambs. And Will is sick of mowing the pasture. And I ordered this book, Living with Sheep, which is so far absolutely amazing… super informative but still conversational… the kind of book that makes you think, “gosh, we could totally raise sheep.” And so we went to visit the flock this past Sunday.
The shepherd is amazing. She was so kind, offering to drop off the sheep, and telling us we can give her a call at any time for help… that the people she bought her original flock from offered the same thing and she couldn’t have done it without them, so she wanted to be that resource for us. Can I mention I love farmers like this? The community of it all! Then her border collie rounded up the sheep, in a manner that can only be described as professional, and while I can’t speak for my husband, one look at those lambs and I was sold. I want to wake up and see that in my backyard. I want to figure out what one earth to do with all the wool. And yes, I want to breed these girls and have an ample supply of fresh lamb meat in my freezer.
So this Sunday, Will gets to pick out our five girls. Meaning this Saturday it’s off to Southern States (we go there a lot now) to buy a water trough, a mineral feeder and minerals. And that should be it for now. At some point we’ll need to buy alfalfa hay for the winter, and construct a small three-sided run in shed (to block the wind, but more to house the hay), and maybe some movable fencing so we can do some serious pasture rotation, but we’re going to start gear-light on this undertaking.
And yes, we are absolutely crazy to be taking on so much at once. Our new favorite rationalization: if we decide we don’t want to raise any particular species anymore, we’ll just eat them.