Breeding and Shearing

Soon it was time to start our breeding.  Upon the recommendation of our breeder, Richard, we would rotate each of the rams in with the ewes for 17 days with 5 days between each ram.  That way we would be able to tell which ram bred with which ewe.

Ibsen was our starter ram this year, followed by Gunter and Gilbert would be our clean up crew.

Breeding went well, we had our vet out to ultrasound the ewes and found that all were pregnant, and two were expecting twins!  Yeah!

Our next big adventure would be the shearing.  We wanted to shear them about a month before the first ewe was due at the end of March.  So February 28, Pete Hoffman from Top Knot Shearing up in Greeley came to shear our sheep.  I had never seen a shearing done, but Pete took great care of the sheep, despite some protests from our biggest ram, Gunter.

 The girls were more than ready to be sheared for the very first time.

The girls were more than ready to be sheared for the very first time.

 Ibsen, before he lost his darling topknot.  

Ibsen, before he lost his darling topknot.  

 The rams, looking very put out after the fact.  You can see their beautiful color differences.

The rams, looking very put out after the fact.  You can see their beautiful color differences.

 The ewes, wondering why they lost their coats while we still had snow.  Just so you know, it only takes about a 1/4 inch of fleece to keep the sheep warm, and Pete made sure he used a comb that left a good amount.  :-)

The ewes, wondering why they lost their coats while we still had snow.  Just so you know, it only takes about a 1/4 inch of fleece to keep the sheep warm, and Pete made sure he used a comb that left a good amount.  :-)

The shearing went very well, the fleeces averaged about 12-13 pounds each.  The fleeces were a little damp so we took them to the basement to lay them out to dry and prep them for skirting.  A good friend, Judy, came to the shearing that day and was immensely helpful in getting the fleeces spread out to dry.

 Beautiful fleeces laid out to dry.

Beautiful fleeces laid out to dry.

We are now getting ready to start processing the fleeces.  Learning the best way to wash the fleece, saving some locks for specialty dyeing, and ordered a drum carder to process into beautiful roving.  Keep an eye on the website as we will be offering a variety of products in the future.