Ask the Shepherd-Scrapie Disease and Testing for Susceptibility

Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats. There is no cure and there is no treatment for scrapie, though scientists around the world are searching hard for one. Scrapie is classified as a transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). Both scrapie and bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE; a.k.a. “Mad Cow” disease) are TSEs, as is … Read More

The Challenge of Keeping Two Breeds of Sheep

About 18 months ago, we made the decision to transition over from raising Romney sheep to raising Gotland sheep. A little over a year ago, our small starter flock of Gotland sheep arrived to our farm. Looking back, it was, and still is, an extremely difficult process, and I am learning the challenges of keeping two breeds of sheep. Selling … Read More

Recycling Christmas Trees on the Farm

Almost all signs of Christmas have been packed away. All the ornaments are stored away in the attic, the window lights put away, the baby Jesus carefully wrapped in the Christmas creche for another year, and all the kids have gone back to college. Only a small pile of pine needles, sprinkled on the porch, remains of the Christmas decor … Read More

Ask the Shepherd – How to Calculate Hay Usage

  When the crickets chirp all day in the grass, and the sun begins to set by eight o’clock in the evening, I know that fall is lurking just around the corner. By the beginning of September, I want my winter hay for the sheep in the barn, A common question that new shepherds often ask is, “How do you … Read More

Dandelions, Lambs and Grazing~Transitioning to Pasture

Dandelion blossoms fill the field across the road, leaving yellow faces on our Romney and Gotland sheep. In the early spring, we use this field to reintroduce the sheep to grazing after the long winter of eating hay. It takes about two weeks of going back and forth from the barn to the field, eating the lush grass a little … Read More

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