We have had such beautiful weather this winter. The little lambs spent almost no time in the barn, and were able to get out onto fresh pasture every week since mid-January. Here’s one flirting with our bossy little yorkie, who is blessing it with a rare kiss…
We have had zero losses so far this lambing season– and more than half of our ewes had twins, so we are very happy shepherds. This has been so much better than last year when we missed a couple who died at birth and lost one to barn overcrowding in the snowy weather.
We have made our first meat sales in the past few months, and while we are not quite “profitable” yet, we can at least fund our feed purchases with the sale of the latest lambs.
Doing taxes this week, our chicken business gives you an idea of how close we come to making any money… We made $294 in egg sales, and feed cost us $300.52. That’s with half of the feed coming from pasture and table scraps, mind you! But the store-bought half is fully organic now, so it’s pretty spendy. I have been sprouting barley for the chickens for a whole year now, without ceasing, and this month I’ve been adding lentils to the sprout jars to add a little more protein. Organic lentils aren’t cheap, but the chickens and the lambs both love the little sprouted discs. Sprouting really seems to unlock the nutrients inside of grain and legumes.
We topped out at 29 sheep this January, including lambs, and we have just started to scale down. Jimmy slaughtered two lambs and two yearling ewes this past weekend–the eldest of the younger ones. Thanks to our friends and neighbors who love lamb meat, we now have a waiting list, and we didn’t even have any trouble finding buyers for the stronger flavored, fattier yearling meat. Now we are at 25, and as the little ones wean, we will be selling some of our dear mama ewes for the first time. It will be hard to see them go, but we just don’t have enough pasture for all of them to enjoy “the good life” of a pastured animal. My dad will have a fit if we sell his favorite, “Tink,” though she is our smallest–she’s just too sweet to let go. I’m even upset about slaughtering her sweet daughter “Belle” next month when she reaches the prime age for slaughter. I’m praying I can find someone to buy her as a pet. She’s the friendliest darned sheep that I’ve ever met, and too small to bring much meat. Tell me if you know anyone that wants a lamb! She’d need a friend, probably. Sheep do best in pairs.
Those with kids who are planning on visiting us, you’d better make it soon! These little lambies are growing up fast!