Livestock Tradin’…


One way to build up a lovely flock of animals is to trade.  And barter.  We got a lovely pair of Angora goats that way, working for some artwork and logo designs and such.  And then we have gotten two lovely sheep for a trade of two cute little pigs!  Pretty darn good trade if you ask me!

The only snafu was that we needed to catch the two pigs… two male piglets from the first litter called shoats.  From Miss Ebony’s litter of pigs!  Well…  easier said then done when you have 11 piglets and three protective adults!

So first things first, we decided to distract the main flock with some lovely hay to munch.

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Huldur and Henrick knew we were up to something.   They are very aware for little lambs.

Okay, naw, they just like to follow us around hoping we have bottles of milk or snacks.


Well, la tee dah!  One of the boy piggies was out of the pen!  With another, but that was okay,  it really made it super easy!  We just set our little dog crate right against the fence line and Maggie just walked behind him and he ran right in!   They have never seen a dog cage before, so there is no reason to be wary of it.  Talk about luck!


Problem was, the other was in the middle of the pen and we tried to just snatch him, but it was not happening.  So we knew that we needed something more enticing.  And to a pig, that means FOOD.   So Maggie went to get a bucket of grain.


And here, we made our first mistake.  Because the flock was loose and they saw the bucket and Maggie, the food gal, and well, then they swarmed her.  Which made Maggie angry.  And that led to more difficulties.


Like darn goats leaping over into the pig pen!!!

Okay, next time we do this, we need to lock up the flock in their paddock!   Remember this, we will…

Well, we baited the adults with corn in the far corner of the pen.  And then we called the babies over to the far other side with some corn.  And believe it or not, it worked!  They separated!  Maggie just waited quietly and as soon as she spied the right piglet, she just reached in and grabbed a back leg and she had her pig!

Of course, he let out the most alarming piggie squeal that would wake the dead!  And she had to work fast because the three adults all rose up and turned to see what was up and they were not happy.  She hopped the fence as fast as she could and got the little fella in the crate with his brother!  Mission accomplished!


Buttercup is saying farewell to the little nippers.  Maggie put a bunch of corn in there and they were quite happy to eat it all up and not worry one bit about the cage!  We knew our friends were due any minute, so we moved them to the shade and got a little water for their wait.


And sure, enough, Dan and Kristina were there and had our new Finn sheep!  Yahoo!   Our trade has been months in the making and it was finally here!  They came out to visit and that was lovely.  And they brought sweet little Finn ewe, Lydia…   she is just a year and we hope that in the fall she will find romance and motherhood for the spring!  Finn sheep can have up to 9 baby lambs!  Unbelievable!  Not likely so many from this girl but her mother just had quints this year!  So, one can never tell!

And then, this is Lukas, our young ram lamb for the next few years we hope!  He will be breeding a select little group of ewes late this fall and I think he is more than ready to do so!  He is a good sized young man and already pretty good with the sniffing and herding of the girls!  He will run with the flock for another few weeks until our other boys are old enough to be away from the flock and then they will all live in the front pasture for a month or two.  It’s a delicate dance, but one needs to “flush” your breeding ewes, which is to separate from any potential suitors and then give them a high calorie feed for a few weeks to get them into a happy girl sheepie way, ready and longing for the man of their dreams…  Mr. Lucas the Finn Ram!

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As you can see, he’s a nice big boy already!  He is the one in the front…  with the brown fleece and cute white back pants!  DSC_0602

Lydia was just sheared of her maiden fleece, so she is a little on the naked side!  They stuck together and that is very common for animals who come from other farms and are a pair.  It seems that when they go through something scary like separation from their birth flock and a car ride, they are bonded once they arrive.  I guess it’s about all that they have to cling to, from their own homeplace.  DSC_0603

Everyone welcomed the newcomers fairly well.  Only Buttercup was a little antagonistic.  But then she is the queen of the herd and these new comers had to be put in their place.  DSC_0606

Finn sheep are closely related to Shetlands, being from a lot of the same area and ancient bloodlines.  However, they are a little different.  They get a little bit bigger, stockier.  And their fleece is a bit finer and just a little more crimpy.  I can’t wait to spin some, it should be very interesting.  And many Finn are naturally polled, meaning no horns.  As you notice, Lukas does not have horns.  All my Shetland and Icelandic ram lambs have horns.  Lydia is still a young ewe, she will fill out a bit more as she matures.  She was born in July of 2014 I believe.  A late baby!  I love how both of their coats are brown…  that is not a super common Finn color, but a lovely thing!  I do love the brown shades of fleece.  Not sure why, just do!

Now, my plan is that 2016 lambs will be Finn Shetland crosses.  The Finn side will produce hopefully more twinning and triplets, and improve their fleeces a bit with some more crimp.  And produce some slightly heftier ram lambs for freezer camps in the fall of 2016.  And Finn rams are very very laid back.  So, unlike the Shetland rams that can get a little, well, rammy, I hope that Lucas will be able to service the flock for 3 to 4 years and then retire as a comfortable old man!  That is the goal.  We shall see!


Kris really loved the little Viking lads!  How can you not love a pair of little orphaned cuties!


This is Fennel, he is one ram lamb that I am retaining this year.  He was considered as a stud ram for a friend’s farm, but then he started to change color.  And lighten up considerably.  I still think he is adorable and he will be staying as a whether friend for Angus.  (Whethers are fixed males…)  He has a date with destiny soon…  He and the Icelandic boys are going to go to the vets soon…  Just waiting for the twins to get a wee bit bigger.   DSC_10571

Basil was going to be staying here, but then he turned out to be a simply stunning young ram lamb, bigger and a little more perfect for stud.  So my friend decided he would be a better choice and I had to agree.  He has a beautiful solid brown fleece and it looks like it will stay that way, like his mother Emma.  Basil left a few days later this past week with three more piglets to their new home!  :-)


Well, another good trade and the last one of our season.  I think we have enough sheep at the moment.  And goats.  It’s all good.  We have 21 hoofies right now.  Considering that we sold out of all our fleece early this year, and only had 10 from this spring, I think doubling the flock is a good thing.  And with such beautiful animals, how can it be wrong?  I can’t wait to see what Lukas and Lydia bring to the fold as well as Huldur and Henrick!  Such a lovely little variety in our flock now.  Beautiful fleeces for spinning and weaving!  I just can’t wait…

And look!  Henrick is trying to be part of the flock!   That is so cool!  Yah, little Viking boy!  Yah!

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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.

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