New Ewes…


Did you ever wonder how many adult ewes could fit comfortably into a 1990’s Ford conversion van?

Well, the answer is four.

Maybe five if you served snacks.

Actually, our new ewes rode very calmly and politely in the back of the van.  We did have to ask them nicely not to pull insulation from the back door panel and to leave the trash can alone.  Like, how were they to know van riding etiquette on their first ride?  And they were not very good at staying on the plastic tarp when nature called, but hey, they tried.  And it was a short ride.


We welcomed four new ewes to our little flock this week.  Starting from the far left in the picture above…   Holly, Pearl, Cinnamon and Angel.

Kind of a fun little story.  See, our friends Bob, Terry and Stephen bought Holly and Pearl from us last year.  They wanted to start a little spinner’s flock of lawn mowers for their homestead.   They loved the Shetlands, and our Welsh Mountain Sheep crosses, so they bought two from us and two from a Shetland breeder a few miles down the road.  (Cinnamon and Angel)  Everything was going just fine and they had a very lovely life there with cookies and all the grass they could eat!  Holly was the herd queen and the three younger gals were all a perfect little flock.

After this super hard winter, Bob and Terry just decided, enough is enough.   They wanted to move down south to get away from these awful winters and to be closer to their family!  So, they began to pack up and get ready to auction off the things they were not taking, including their homestead!  They had the sheep up for sale as well, through our local homesteading clan, Craigslist and of course, just word of mouth and such.   Well, as time got closer…  they were not having any good bites on the sheep!  I would have loved to buy them in the first place, but just couldn’t swing it.

Well, rather than sell them through the auction process, where it could be not so advantageous…   we struck a deal and we are actually buying the four ewes on a payment plan.  :-)  IMG_3311

Cody and Shadow are annoyed that we have let EVEN more of these little hairy hay eaters into the homestead.  Don’t we have enough???

Yes, we do have enough, but I just didn’t want to see these lovely, special ewes get separated or sold to who knows who.  And they have such lovely fleeces…  the colors are very nice.   And I’ve seen some of their yearling fleeces being processed and they are very nice.

So…   we now have a few more ewes!

I don’t mind too much.   I know that before the snow flies we will be selling a few lambs and maybe a few sheep, just not totally sure yet.  My goal for the Windhaven flock is to have a lovely selection of colors as well as our own bred young ewes.  Right now, we will have 10 ewes that can be bred in the fall.  And we have 3 yearling ewes that we will wait until the fall of 2015 to breed.  I think I would like to give Momma Noel and Iris a break from babies.   Those ladies are excellent moms, but their age is unknown.  I know they are older, and have earned a break from lambs.  I may breed them once more in 2015, but that will probably be it.  I may consider selling off my Black Welsh Mountain sheep as I find that I really prefer spinning and working with the Shetland.   Just not totally sure of the group that will be available and not…   It’s sort of like Fantasy Football teams.   You need a while to consider, think, plan and decide for the future when you are a shepherd…


Once we let them into the middle yard, they were funny to watch.   I wonder if Holly and Pearl remember the place.   Probably.   They walked around in their little sub herd group, checking this out and that out, visiting and meeting new friends.   Cinnamon and Pearl have never seen ponies or hogs or goats!   Perhaps a few chickens, but that was it.   They were all so pleasantly curious and not skittish or anything.  Terry, she knows how to gentle her sheep!   All it took was one or two good sniffings and a cookie and they were our pals in no time!

IMG_3325Shadow loves that the picket is missing from the courtyard gate.  It’s the perfect height for him to be a nosey old lady and watch what is going on.  He’s a funny little man.   He was interested in the sheep for about ten minutes, just watching and following them around, but then he gave up.  Sheep are not that interesting to him.  He wants a girl pony!  (hahaha….  no such luck, Buddy!)

Right now, four additional sheep equals about a bale of hay a week, or $4-$5, depending on where we get our hay.  That means overall, even at a bale a week, or 52 bales a year, a little over $230 a year to feed them.  There are other costs, such as worming and vaccines, but these are not expensive costs.  Sheep are relatively easy keepers!  Especially on good years when they can be raised mostly on grass and pasture!    With their fleece and lambs, they will more than earn their keep.  As our finishing process continues to improve we should see even more of a return on fleeces.  (Meaning, as we further process the fleece into more and more unique and advanced products, such as finished yarn and rugs, rather than just raw fleece, we should see a higher return on the actual keeping and raising of the animals.)

I feel as a breeder of animals, any animals, when your animals need to be rehomed and brought back into the fold, you should do what you can to help.  Sure, you can’t always do so, sometimes you are just not able to bring in more animals, or in some cases, you have a closed herd status where no new animals come in for health and medical reasons, but I do think you have a responsibility to at least try and help, to offer possible solutions other than auction or slaughter.  These are beautiful young ewes with a good future of lambs and fleeces ahead.   They will increase the value of our own herd and be a joy to include in our plans.


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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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