Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Sheep Have Arrived!

The sheep pen is 99.9% finished! All it needs is to have the tops of the posts cut off to make it look nice. And I need to hook up the electric wire running on the inside of the fence, but that won't take any time at all.





Here's the little shelter my dad and I built last weekend. It went up really quickly!


I hung a hay feeder inside so when it's rainy the sheep can eat under cover.


They also have the big hay feeder out in the open.


What's left to add?





The sheep! Meet Clarabell (left) and Calvin. They are both Katadins. Katadins are hair sheep, meaning they don't grow a normal fleece like a wool type sheep. They get a wooly coat for the winter, but actually shed it out on their own in the spring, unlike most breeds of sheep. This breed is great for meat production, and very low maintenance. They tend to be very parasite resistant, don't need shearing, don't need their tails docked, typically are foot-rot resistant, and they're excellent mothers. I believe Calvin is partially mixed with Dorper...maybe 25% Dorper if I remember correctly? Dorpers are another hair breed and tend to be slightly more stocky than Katahdins.




Clarabell


Calvin


Calvin is wearing a marking harness. Marking harnesses are used during breeding season to keep track of when a ewe is bred. There is a wax "crayon" that clips into the harness right under his chest, so when he mounts Clarabell he'll leave a mark on her rump. He's got an orange crayon in now, and in 17 days (the length of the ewe's estrus cycle), I'll change the crayon to a blue one. The different colors make it easier to see if she's been re-bred (in case she didn't settle (conceive) the first time).


Clarabell is showing early signs of heat, and I suspect she'll be marked tomorrow.

7 comments:

Becky said...

SHEEP!!!!! Yay!!! Their field, fence, and shelter looks awesome!!!! I'm so excited for you! So, which one are you boarding? are you keeping one?

katiegirl said...

Thanks Becky!

I'm boarding both really. Clarabell will go back to her home in November, and Calvin is being sold at a sale in late October.

I'll be getting my goat sometime in a few weeks and my sheep in October probably.

Dad said...

wahoooooooooooooo sheep!! That's awesome sweetie. congratulations. What a wonderful sound to wake up to.

raysuf said...

Make sure you cut those posts off on a slant. If you cut them flat water and snow will sit on top and work it's way into the grain, shorting the life of the posts.

katiegirl said...

Thanks Ray, we've definitely been cutting them at a slant. We've cut a few of them so far, but still waiting to get around to the rest.

debajohnson said...

Did you paint the posts black? I didn't know if there was a reason for the two colors on the posts? I love your set up and I know you must feel at home now that you have your menagerie! Congrats dear girl! Love you, Momma

katiegirl said...

Hey Momma, yep, the posts are painted black. They're only two colors until the tops get chopped off, then I can paint the top surface and they'll be all black. The black is actually driveway sealer. We were just going to do the part underground, but I figured I'd paint the whole post so they'd last longer.

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