We held our first sheep-shearing on April 23rd and it went well. We invited our neighbors and Betty and Ellen who also have sheep in Lincoln. Having no barn, we decided to do the shearing in our garage. Rain was forecast so we moved our sheep into the garage the day before to keep them dry. The forecast was fulfilled, but seemed to dampen only the driveway and not the sheep or the spirits of our guests.
Bruce, who shears sheep for Betty and Ellen, did the shearing. He provided welcome commentary to the onlookers as he did so. Our guests who were not familiar with sheep shearing appreciated the extra information.
We set up panels to contain the sheep on their way to and from the garage. We took advantage of this set up a chute for weighing a few of the sheep before we returned them to the pasture. The arrangement was not perfect, but worked well enough to get some ballpark numbers. The largest ram (the white ram) weighed in at 78 pounds. The other two year old sheep ranged from 65 to 70 pounds. The yearlings were mostly 45–50 pounds except one that weighed 60 pounds.
The grass is growing again and the sheep love it. We have begun to move them around again, but the quickly ate the available grass so we decided to move them across the street again. This time we are using a larger area both because there are more sheep and we want to reduce the chance that the sheep will be startled and run into the fence.
Lambing in Oregon
Early May found us traveling to Oregon to help with our third crop of lambs. Our timing was off by one day. We arrived to find that six lambs had been born while we were in the air. The good news is that there were lots of 75% Ouessant ewe lambs. Over the course of the next few days we reached a total of eight 75% ewe lambs were born. There were also some 50% ewes that been bred to 50% rams that produced additional 50% lambs.
Our overall percentage of ewe lambs was considerably higher than the 30% expected. This will give a good boost to our upbreeding program.
More lambing photos appear below.