We started our flock with Romney, Lincoln and Corriedale sheep in 1997. Now we have introduced Finnsheep, for the softness of their wool, and Border Leicester Crosses, for the sheen and length of their wool. Our goal is to keep about 30 breeding ewes and one or two resident rams.
Thirty six lambs were born in spring of 2011, 23 in 2012, and 22 in 2013 during March and April. It is fun to watch the lambs grow and frolic in the pastures. We spend time with them when they are very young so they will be friendly.
Our sheep are shorn about every eight months to maximize the quality and length of the wool. Our sheep are primarily bred for their fiber, which is soft and long with a variety of colors from white to silver gray to shades of brown. We also breed for a friendly temperament, good mothering, and healthiness.
More about our sheep and wool
We choose our rams as dual purpose breeds to improve the quality of the fleeces. Our sheep are primarily bred for their fiber, which is soft and long with a variety of colors from white to silver gray to shades of brown.
We have had pure-bred rams that were Romney, Corriedale, and Border Leicester. We also had a ¾ Finn and ¼ Romney ram. Most first time mothers have only one lamb. In subsequent years ewes usually have twins, except for Finnsheep, which can have up to six babies. The most we have had with the Finnsheep is quadruplets.
Romney wool is very soft and lustrous; it hangs in separate locks, is high yielding and easily spun. Uniformity of crimp from the butt to the tip of a lock is also typical of the breed. The C’s come from Ben, a Romney ram.
Lester, our gray purebred ram has now moved on to greener pastures. His fleece was long and lustrous and falls in well defined locks. Being a longwool breed he needed to be shorn twice a year. Many of the A’s and B’s are Border Leicester Crosses from Lester.
Corriedale wool is very soft with a beautiful luster. Blackberry was a colored pure bred Corriedale ram that sired Alice and Anita.
Our Finnsheep crosses have incredibly soft fleece perfect for blending with angora bunny fiber for 25% angora yarn. People like the softness and halo from the angora blend for babies and angora-lined hats. Trixie, Annika, Anise, some of the D’s, and the E’s are all Finn crosses.
Lambing time is an exciting and challenging time. It is amazing that ewes know what to do. In most cases, there is no midwife assistance required, though it can be difficult to stand back and wait for nature to do its work. Often the first signs that labor is coming is that the ewe is not interested in grain and hay. Shortly after that, you may begin to see the ewe frequently lying down and alternately standing up, like she cannot quite get comfortable. She paws the ground, picking a spot to have her lambs, which hopefully is a clean area in the barn. You eventually see two little feet and a nose, indicating the position of the lamb is good for an easy birth. Within 10 minutes or so the lamb is born. Soon after birth the lamb will stand and begin to nurse.
Bubba came to live on our farm in the winter of 2001 at the age of six. He had previously lived on another farm in Sumner, and his prior owner taught us how to drive him and use him to pull logs. He is three-quarters European-Belgian and one quarter American-Belgian which gives him short, stocky legs and a massive frame. He is very helpful during maple sugaring season when he pulls our pung loaded with sap in from the fields.
Our sheep dog, Meg, is a border collie with good herding instincts. She joined the farm in 2007 as a puppy and is well-loved by Mary Ann and Marty. She loves to run, and works with us when we do chores and when we move the sheep from pasture to pasture.
Mrs. Whatsit is our black barn cat who came to us in 2010. Jack joined us in 2013 from our daughter in New York. Both Meg and Mrs. Whatsit are named after characters in the novel, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle.
We have a small flock of laying hens of Bard Rock, Rhode Island Reds, and other unknown breeds. We also own a few guinea fowl who serve as guard animals, pest control, and also lay small eggs. We have enough eggs to feed ourselves, Fare Share Market and a few local customers.