It’s lambing season for anyone owning Shetland sheep. My first set of twins was born to Two-Step Wednesday morning just after dawn. I was greeted by the wondrous site of new life when I went out to feed. The first lamb was already dry and up while the other was still being cleaned. I sat to one side to watch as Two-Step administered lick after lick of the tongue bath to clean the little lamb. It never gets old to me.
The first lamb is solid black and the second turned out to be Moorit brown with a little with star directly on top of it’s head. I was very pleased with a pair of ewe lambs to start out the lambing season. I can’t wait to see the new babies coming this year. It doesn’t really bother me to sell them after they’re weaned because I know I can’t keep them all and I know that the very next year, my girls will offer me a new batch of ‘kids’ to raise and watch grow.
Shetland sheep ewes are wonderful moms. They are easy birthers and very attentive. It is normal for them to have twins and they always seem to have plenty of milk to raise them and let them nurse as long as they want to nurse. This is one of the qualities that makes them ideal for my little homestead farm. Shetlands are very adaptable and require little attention to maintain which keeps them from being so labor intensive as are some breeds.
With a small flock of 7 ewes and one ram, I can count on an average of 11 lambs per year but could easily be 14. This allows me to sell the ewe lambs, maybe a ram or two, but allows me several rams to raise for the freezer. Each year I shear the the flock for the wool. So far I have been selling my fiber but I hope to have a spinning wheel this year so that I can start spinning my own yarn.
By selling the lambs and fiber, I pay the costs for my flock so they mow my backyard, put meat in my freezer and give me fiber while costing me nothing or giving me a little pocket change back. To me, it’s a win win situation for a small homestead.