Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Few Less Animals

I decided to sell some of the sheep.  First I had to get them up to the barn in order for them to be easy to catch when the buyers come.  That's not always an easy task.  I went to the feed store and purchased a bale of alfalfa.  It cost $16! The hay was absolutely beautiful but very expensive.   I put some into the barn and a little in the run leading to the barn.  Girl gathered them up from the very back and got them to the closest pasture to the barn.  They saw me with some alfalfa and were intrigued but weren't going to come up on their own.  Boy hopped the fence and between Girl and Boy they got the sheep running away from them and toward the fenced run that goes into the barn.  Success!  Then we were able to separate the big ram from the rest of the sheep.  He got put into a different pen from the rest. 

My first buyer showed up yesterday evening.  He took the four young rams.  This is only leaving me with my main ram and he is getting old.  He is healthy enough for this upcoming season and if something happens to him I have friends who have sheep and they are always trying to get rid of some.  I have seven ewes.  I am going to sell some of them as well.  The second buyer didn't get back to me after his initial inquiry.  Perhaps he is not in the market for ewes. 

Even if I don't sell them that will be OK.  Between now having four less sheep and money in my pocket, I made enough money to buy hay for the rest of them for the winter.  If I keep the seven ewes, next spring I will have about 10-12 lambs.  If it's a wet winter and spring then I can raise them, otherwise they will go into the freezer.  I'd rather sell three or four of the ewes.  We'll see.  But four of the eleven sheep are gone.  I've got money in my pocket to support the rest.  Self sustaining venture and the ability to put food in the freezer.  I like it!

If you ever think about getting some sheep different breeds have different values.  I don't want to shear sheep.  Maybe someday I'll change my mind but for the busy life I have now, that would be a burden.  There are several breeds that don't need shearing.  Their wool is more like the coat of a dog.  It does get thick during the winter and then sheds off during the spring and summer. 

Because I don't have an irrigated pasture my sheep don't get worms so I don't have to deworm them.  That is an expense that I'm saving as well as having healthier animals.  I also don't buy animals from the auction.  Everyone around here who has bought animals from the auction says that while they look good in the ring, a week or two after they get mixed with the rest of their flocks the rest get sick with runny eyes and noses, or worse.  So if I wanted to buy more animals I'd search on the internet, or better yet, drive around and find someone in the neighborhood who also raises animals. 

I'm looking for some goats.  I really haven't seen any around; all I've noticed is sheep.  But I'm sure there are people around raising goats.  I need to start paying attention for them now, even if I don't plan on buying them until next year.


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