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Fur & Sheep



Feb 19, 2013 | 17:54 31 This spring will be my first lambing, but from what I've heard, other than maybe with a first lambing, twins are the goal. The first lamb pays the expenses, and the second lamb is the profit.

The lambs I started with were all triplets. They came from a big flock where twins were never taken from the ewe, only triplets, and then only if the mother couldn't handle them. Some breeds, like Finn's can have up to four lambs on a pretty regular basis.

Some people creep feed their lambs, some wean early, and some just let them be. I guess it depends on your marketing plans. Reply With Quote
Feb 24, 2013 | 08:38 32 I've been interested in sheep for quite some time and was wondering if we could run them with our cows? or would that be a disaster. I was thinking that if the cows were fine with it maybe they would help with predator control?. Is it possible to bale graze sheep? as I have been getting used to this method with our cattle. One last question is fencing..as we have only 4 strand barbwire fences I doubt this will hold in any sheep?...am I better off the just install page wire fencing? or can I repurpose the barbwire fencing some how?. Is there any introductory sheep raising courses/classes offered anywhere in Eastern Sask/ Manitoba?. Reply With Quote
Feb 25, 2013 | 08:42 33 Guys are running sheep with cattle,the only problem i see is when you have to handle either one it meens extra sorting.Also i think sheep would adapt to bale grazing as long as they have no extra pressure from the cattle.AS for fencing i use the 37 inch field fence and two barb wires above this and have had good success,and for schools the sheep board has a good beginners school in march i think in saskatoon that i would recommend taking. Reply With Quote
Feb 25, 2013 | 14:11 34 just have to be careful to keep the sheep out of the cattle minerals Reply With Quote
Feb 26, 2013 | 19:03 35 I think if you had some of those wire feeders for the bales, that it would work.

The first thing mine want to do is climb. As high as they can. We've been using a converted round bale feeder, and it's been just a plain old mess. Even though there are extra bars on it, they climb in and proceed to stomp all over it, which makes what's under them really tasty, if you know what I mean. Their fleece gets full of hay too, which knocks down it's value.

I just finally found a feeder made out of pieces of wire panels that goes around the bale. I can hardly wait until they finish what they're working on so I can use it.

The fellow I got the feeder from had set out his bales in a row, and moved the sheep down the line bale by bale. He had fence beside it so they could only reach one bale at a time. It seemed to work very well. Hardly any waste at all. Reply With Quote
Feb 26, 2013 | 21:22 36 We use five bar cattle panels as a section of our sheep fence and fork hay against it. A little labour intensive but it keeps fleeces clean and lets you control what they are eating. We use one 12' section per 8 sheep.
As far as making barb wire fences sheep proof we had one section of 4 wire we added 5 strands to and if it is kept tight it does contain them. We also have one pasture with 6 strand (hot) high tensile that they pretty much walk though without even trying Reply With Quote
Mar 1, 2013 | 12:31 37 Kato or anyone I have been hearing rumors of sheep being trucked to alta fron around winnipeg because of feed costs ? Any truth to that you know of? Mabey some one just trying to make a buck? Reply With Quote
Mar 2, 2013 | 11:27 38 I'm not sure why that would be, since I think hay is cheaper here than in Alberta. And for the amount of grain a sheep would eat, I doubt if grain prices would make it worthwhile to send them west for feeding.

I've heard that same rumour about American sheep though. That would make more sense. Reply With Quote
Mar 2, 2013 | 20:33 39 There might be MB Sheep and lambs going to SunGold in Innisfail. Yes there were US lambs coming north, but not nearly as many as most think. If it takes someones else s lambs to keep the packers in Canada busy, then thats what is necessary.

If you start sending workers home without something to do, then they will start to look else where for work. For those producers that bitch about the US lambs coming north, then they better produce and sell the lambs that the plants need.

The price of feed out in Alberta are higher than MB. Reply With Quote
Mar 3, 2013 | 10:54 40 I agree with keeping the packers busy we need those guys in Canada and for us to produce more lambs.We are not even close to suppling Canada and i hope this bodes well for our industry;we are going to agressively expand. Reply With Quote
Mar 3, 2013 | 15:11 41 I agree as well. Far too few people take
the sheep industry seriously. Here we
have an item that we are a net importer
of, yet our average flock size is what?
Something like 30 ewes. For such an easy
to grow into stock option, the
stagnation is holding us back. I too am
planning on expanding big time. lol I
have 7 ewes right now, but need more
fences. I figure I have the room for 5
or 6 hundred in the long term, just
using existing pasture and rough areas
on my farm.

We need more lambs!!! That is without a
doubt. Reply With Quote
Mar 3, 2013 | 17:02 42 Agree. On our place, the flock will grow as the fence does. Reply With Quote
Mar 3, 2013 | 21:55 43 There are too many flocks out there that have too many different breeds. There is too much variation between each lambs. How does a producer put together a package of lambs, of a sufficient quantity to get a good price from any buyer. Having consistency across the whole flock is going to make the producer more change in the long run. Reply With Quote
Mar 3, 2013 | 22:54 44 Good point, dogpatch. Too many
icelandics crossed with dorpers crossed
with shetlands, crossed with ramboullet.
So true.

It just seems to me that sheep
production is a cottage industry almost,
where retirees, "pet people", and the
"sheep are cute" people have a large
stake in the production of western lamb
in Canada. There are too few commercial
operations that take it seriously. Not
knocking those that want sheep, this is
all great, but we simply need more
serious producers. For whatever reason,
cattle are king, and sheep are seen as a
poor alternative.

Why is this? How can it be fixed? How do
we grow the industry? How do we get more
commercial flocks? Why are there so few?

I know for me, when people find out we
are getting into sheep, the first
question usually is either, "for wool?"
Or else it is about coyotes.

IMO regarding coyotes, a lot of the
answer is not fiddling around with cheap
and low and crappy fences. A fence is a
30 year investment, so put something
into it!!! Build it tall, build it
tight, build it strong! Compared to
grain farming, throwing up a decent
fence is pocket change relative to the
input costs, and the machinery costs in
the grain industry. So many balk at the
costs of a flipping fence! yet a fence
is a long term investment, the heart and
soul of a sheep operation, in my view.
you are not ever going to keep EVERY
coyote out, but if people would not
chince out on fencing, coyote losses
could be drastically reduced. Guard dogs
as well.

To my mind, predator control is a major
reason more do not enter the industry.

Any other reasons you all see? Reply With Quote
Mar 4, 2013 | 07:31 45 One other reason people will not get into sheep is still the stigma that it isn't manly and your no 'rancher' unless your just a cattleman,i am into both now but when i first got sheep i was the brunt of many jokes and allmost one fist fight or two.People are taking me seriously now as we grow bigger and we are constantly promoting the industry and oh ya i sold all of my butcher lambs locally,mostly to the people who laughed at sheep. Reply With Quote
Mar 7, 2013 | 22:37 46 My husband, cattle guy through and through, was not convinced when I said I wanted sheep. He humoured me though, mainly because we have a lot of wasted potential grazing around the yard, and he saw the benefit of making use of it. We were amazed when we measured the farm yard, and it was 13 acres. And that's without even looking for pasture that the cows were using. Lots of room to expand around here. This first year is small in order to find out if we even like having them.

What surprised him the most was that he actually likes the sheep. He was prepared, and planning not to, but the little critters won him over. If I can turn a profit with this crop of lambs, then he will be convinced totally. Then the flock can grow.

Coyotes are not a worry with five donkeys (my other sideline) in the yard. The local coyotes know where the fences are, and stay on their own side. My jack has them trained. LOL Reply With Quote
Mar 9, 2013 | 08:14 47 Kato... I keep getting asked by my wife when can
we get some sheep by reading some of the posts
on here I think we can proceed... Just need to
attend a sheep class? And throw up some fence.
As I read the posts about fencing I'm guessing
just spend he money and put up page wire
fence?. I think I would have the sheep separate
from our cows ...could only imagine what the area
folks would say...lol....they thought I was crazy for
bale grazing this winter...so ya back to the sheep
an cows together... Na I'm thinking it would be
one big shit show.....cows and sheep doing figure
eights around the wife and I...and her yelling at
me....separate pastures is the plan.. Reply With Quote
Apr 26, 2013 | 09:06 48 Breeds - well, we run a main family of Rideau Arcotts. These are pure bred registered. Familiy #1

We cross them with registered Dorsett to get the second family (F1) - We keep all the females out of this group to provide replacements and we sell the ram lambs. Once we get to where we want to be - somewhere around 400 breeding ewes, we will sell everything except the replacements. Family #2

We keep the F1 girls and breed them to Texel. We sell everything we get from this family. Family #3

While I do not care what breed you run, I do believe you need to count upon a multiple birth scenario or you will simply carry on and not make the profit you would like to make.

We do breed out of season and for that reason we went with Arcott - known for that ability. There are others that do this as well. If you do want to make money in sheep, I believe you need to have this ability - it allows you to have anuimals for sale year round.

We routinely have triplets and sometimes we have quads. This does mean a little more management - but (ducking!) what are wives and kids for anyways? LOL

If a first timer gives us a single - she gets a diagonal line drawn through the box beside her number. If she gives us a twin or better the next time around she is forgiven. If she gives a single the second breeding the next diagonal line means she goes to the big pasture in the sky.

Breed for multiples and you will make money

Finally - they go well with cows. We run them together at times with no trouble at all. When we want to catch them we go and put a pail of grain in the middle of a panel pen and they all come in through an opening that is too small for the cattle to enter - we cut the bottom off of one panel - run them into the trailer and away we go.

Best to all

Bez Reply With Quote