When we started our operation all our sheep were boarded in Oregon on the farm of Martin and Joy. Martin is our AI expert and valued consultant. Our Shetland ewes were acquired from farms near our Oregon location and inseminated in the fall of 2008. We visited during Spring lambing in April 2009 to watch and assist in bringing in our first crop of 50% Ouessant lambs. One of the features of using AI is that, because all the sheep are (typically) inseminated on one day, all the births happen within a few days of each other.
The summer of 2009 inflicted a severe heat wave on Oregon and our sheep there. Temperatures one day reach 114 degrees and one of our male sheep succumbed as did two or three other sheep. The summer also featured attacks by coyote and mountain lion.
We had hoped that our first crop of 50% Ouessant ewe lambs would be ready for insemination in the Fall of 2009. But, they showed no interest in a teaser ram so they were not inseminated. The Shetland ewes were inseminated again, this time in two batches because of a last minute change in plans. Again we visited Oregon in April for the second crop of 50% Ouessant lambs.
Despite the apparent lack of interest, one of the 50% ewes produced a lamb. Unfortunately, we don’t know who the father is. The chances are that it was one of the 50% rams so the lamb is also 50%, but the parentage is questionable.
Once we acquired our property in Lincoln Massachusetts, we gradually moved our sheep to Massachusetts. We started with six wethers delivered to us by way of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival in May 2010. These were followed later that year by 9 more wethers. These “practice” sheep constituted our Massachusetts flock until 2012.
Meanwhile, operations continued in Oregon with lambs born in 2011 and 2012. The first ewes were transported from Oregon to Massachusetts in late summer of 2011. The remainder were brought to Massachusetts a year later in 2012. We no longer have any sheep in Oregon.