I am getting a little excited. I know we have about a month to six weeks left before our ewes start lambing, but still, it’s very fun to wait for those first newborns. I can see baby bumps through the heavy fleece of the girls… all those ladies in waiting are getting a little plumper and it’s not just hay. I am having a little trouble finding shearers! Hopefully soon, the weather is getting warmer this week and I like to shear a good month before the mommas are due so it doesn’t put too much pressure on their growing tummies. Hopefully, this week we will secure a booking. Apparently, sheep shearing is a lucrative occupation around here and in high demand!
We have eight ewes that are in the maternity group this year. Sweet Iris, our super mom… her daughters Emma and Galadriel. Beulah and Pearl. Our new Finn ewe, Lydia. And Bonnie’s big yearling daughters, Willow and Laurel. Should be an interesting mixup since we have bred everyone to our new Finn ram, Lukkas. Only Lydia will be having purebred Finn babies… (we hope twins or more!) But the crosses are a lovely variety, and I can’t wait to see what happens! Finn wool is a very close relative of Shetland and they are both similar sized and very related breeds. The Finn wool is a little finer, denser and can give Shetland a lovely hand and texture. Since our girls are not fancy or registered, it’s a good thing and we are on our way to developing our own Windhaven signature fleeces! (That is one way of looking at crossbreeding!)
Actually, part of the reason that I am making a slight deviation from my beloved Shetlands is that in our area, there are WAY too many Shetland people! Just down the road a mile or two is a family with a huge breeding group and then there are a lot of them in the lower Michigan area as well. So Shetlands are not selling well for us. They make beautiful wool and are wonderful little sheep, but i think I will be moving towards a slight variety to my spinner’s flock.
Finn sheep are known for the large birth groups. The record is nine lambs from ONE mother! Finn sheep have litters! Twins and triplets are an easy thing! Now my Shetland moms will not necessarily take after their Finn sire, but I have been told that twins should be easy. We have had about a 50/50 twining rate. so it might be cool if that gets pushed up a wee bit. And I would be super excited to see triplets! Just have to wait and see. Waiting is just so hard!!!
Well, we could always breed earlier in the fall, but to be honest, it’s just no fun tromping back and forth through the cold and mud and worrying about babies freezing and all. By waiting until the first week of April, we are pretty sure to have decent enough weather and a bit of lovely green grass for everyone to enjoy! And it does make for very cute photos, don’t you think?Pin It