Visiting a Shepard of Sheep

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We are considering raising sheep, specifically hair sheep.  Hair sheep shed like a dog, so you don’t have to shear their wool.  There isn’t much of a market for wool these days and it takes a lot of time to shear them.  Hence, we are thinking of raising hair sheep.

We found Thousand Oaks Ranch and called to ask about their sheep.  Kevin and Toni invited us to visit their farm and 400 sheep.  We were happy to check things out in person.  Reading a book just doesn’t compare to a farm visit.  An hour and a half sped by quickly before we had to leave due to a fussy baby.   Both Kevin and Toni were gracious and willing to teach us about the sheep business.

I love the speckled face!

I love the speckled face!

Sheep have four stomach compartments, like cows.  They eat grass.  Some people supplement them with grain to make the meat fattier.  They need minerals, but not copper.  Lastly they need fresh water.

You have to tag your sheep in order to identify them, USDA required.

You have to tag your sheep in order to identify them, USDA required.

Lambing time will peak in the next two weeks and we hope to make it back to witness a birth.

This lady was due the day we visited.

This lady was due the day we visited.

Toni taught me about conformation-the desirable shapes to look for and to avoid.  She also discussed vaccines and healthcare they provide for their sheep when necessary.

Elsie got to meet their pet rabbit.

Our eldest got to meet their pet rabbit.

Sheep need to rotate pasture every few days, depending on how many sheep you have.  This is important so that the pasture doesn’t turn into a dust bowl and the sheep have optimal nutrition.  This particular farm had thirty separate paddocks to rotate the sheep thru!

A picture of the pasture and fences separating the paddocks.

A picture of the pasture and fences separating the paddocks.

We want to thank Kevin and Toni for their wealth of information and their willingness to let us interrupt a Saturday morning.  Maybe we can trade some pork for mutton?!