Marty the Master of Sheep

Marty is a farmer whom I met through his daughter, Monica.  She is a PA like me.  I told her we were considering sheep and she offered her dad as a resource.  He has been very helpful.  We spent thirty minutes on the phone before we even met him.  You can tell Marty has the gift of teaching and is passionate about what he does.  He started raising sheep at age 14 after a man paid him for working with lambs.  He has continued raising sheep for over 40 years.  I asked him why he farms sheep and he says “I enjoy it.  If you don’t enjoy it, get out of it quick!”.  We’re excited to see what experiences it brings for our family.  Monica was able to buy her first car by showing sheep.  How cool is that?

On a Saturday morning, we loaded up the girls and my great Uncle Lewis and his son and headed to Liberal.  I must say, everyone needs a great Uncle Lewis.  He lives just down the road.  I can always call him with farming questions and he has ran up to our house more than once to look over an animal or to give us a hand.  He is also our transporter of animals.  You’d never know he is in his late seventies.  Anyways, back to the tour.

Marty farms more than sheep, but we only picked his brain on sheep for this visit.

A few of Marty's sheep hanging out in the barn.

A few of Marty’s sheep hanging out in the barn.

The llama to be reckoned with if you dare.

The llama to be reckoned with if you dare.

Marty relies on his llama to protect his herd.  He has had a few llamas over the years.  One lived to be thirty years old!  Another lived to be twenty five.  This young llama is only two.  See that fence?  The llama can easily jump over the fence.  Marty has seen coyote approach his property only to stop when in range of the llama.  Apparently llamas get riled up when predators get close.  You could tell she took notice of us.  I love learning how animals guard one another.

Homemade hay holder for sheep

Homemade hay holder for sheep

Putting your hay in a holder like the one above helps cut down on waste.  Marty built the one pictured above.

Corralling the sheep into the trailer to bring them home.

Corralling the sheep into the trailer to bring them home.

My second cousin Shane backed the trailer up like a pro.  Sorry I didn’t get pics of that Shane!
Above you can see the men herding the sheep into trailer.  Uncle Lewis is running after them like he herds sheep in his sleep.  Quite impressive!

Thanks to Marty and his daughter Monica for all their time and energy sharing sheep (not shearing-these are hair sheep!).   Marty even called make sure the sheep were settling in and Monica has given me emotional support after our first herding experience.  Great people!  I’m sure we’ll be bothering them both with more questions in the near future.

Did I mention these precious sheep are bred?  We are expecting our first lambs and first birth on our farm in the next 60-90 days.  You who know me know I am passionate about birth.  This will be fun!