I am contemplating my sheep situation over the last handful of days. Currently, my space is too small for how much we’ve grown – so we’re expanding that. Literally, like working our butts off in the sun yesterday. I would say we’re about 1/2 way done but I’m not sure what J would say to that. I think we are. Anyway, it’s quite an expansion project and here’s the dilemma.
I have the offer of a couple of sheep unrelated to my flock right now, as well as this new ram. Do I go for it this year, add a few unrelated ewes and close the flock for the next couple of years? My duplicates (those who have the same genetic material as the ones I’m keeping) could be sold as bred ewes. Or, do I wait? I seem to be in the middle of a limbo sort of area where I don’t have the genetic diversity I’d like or for people to buy from but… I’m really breeding to have fibre right now so does that really matter?
Feeding these guys is not cheap, especially given the price of hay. We have very little good forage – although we’re working on that. So, do I keep two or three or even four extra sheep this year (we’re just a small flock) and have bred ewes or mums with babies beside them, to sell -or just pair down right now.
I think the trouble is that you do get attached- not just personality wise but for fleece or conformation etc. There’s always a reason to keep one! Especially the sweet ones. Right now my plan is to have a colour spectrum and fleece quality spectrum. As I am breeding for fleece I have a couple who just don’t fit the bill – but temperament wise they’re lovely and extremely milky. The milkiness makes them desirable if for no other reason than being a wet nurse to other lambs!
Of course, I also have the share cropping option and possibly a line on really cheap – but good -hay from a friend who was going to get into livestock (especially horses) and hasn’t yet.
I guess it’s not decision time so much as get the pen and paper and lineage charts out and get planning.