Monday, August 3, 2015

The New Sheep

When I was first looking into getting sheep I was leery of wool breeds since I didn't know if it would be hard to find someone to shear the sheep and the market for wool is not that great. So we came upon the Royal Whites. I learned a lot about sheep management and how to buy sheep (mostly what not to do.) When I learned about the wool market for hand spinners and the great fleece the Coopworth breed has I was intrigued. There are also quite a few shearers in our area. When we went to the MD Sheep and Wool Festival in May I bought some Coopworth roving and loved the softness and feel of the wool.

Finding Coopworths, especially an adult breeding ram proved to be harder. I also wanted to buy from a breeder that I respected. We ended up finding just such a breeder, but five hours away. Martha at Deer Run Farm participates in the National Sheep Improvement Program which tracks the sheep on a nationwide database to improve genetics. Martha had some impressive stats on her sheep and seemed very knowledgeable. Just the sort of person from whom I should have bought my first sheep.

The drive through the mountains of Virginia/West Virginia was absolutely lovely. And if I wasn't worried about hauling sheep in a trailer I could have enjoyed it more.

We picked the sheep up early Sunday morning, trying to drive through the cooler morning hours, but we had such a great time talking to Martha and her husband it was hard to leave. I learned so much in the couple hours we were at their farm. She gave the lambs a copper wire bolus to help with worms before we left. I need to get more info together on using the copper wire. The brief search I did while driving home was very interesting. There is some great research out there from very reputable institutions.

Elwood was featured prominently in yesterday's post so I will introduce the ewe lambs. The older one, by only a month, is Hazel.
Hazel is white but carries color genes. It will be interesting to see what her lambs look like. She was born in mid-March and hopefully will breed in the late fall.

Ruth was born in mid-April and also carries color genes.
The fields they came from had woven wire fencing and electric netting. I tried to put up our electric netting but realized I prefer my electric rope fencing. Today the new sheep learned all about the electric rope and did very well with it.

Right now the new sheep are in quarantine for a few weeks. By then I hope to have the older ram lambs at the butcher. Then Elwood will spend some time in with the younger ram lambs until his services are needed with the ewes. I am more worried about integrating the ewe lambs in with the other ewes.  Well, at least I have a little time before that happens.


  1. I love Coops! I think they'll make nice sheep for you :-).

  2. I love Coops! I think they'll make nice sheep for you :-).