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My crazy sheep idea- 50 sheep!

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My crazy sheep idea- 50 sheep!

Post Number:#1  Unread postby ohiogoatgirl » Thu Jul 02, 2015 1:09 am


I have posted here a bit about my crafts and other animal interests. one of the main ones being spinning yarn and needlefelting.

HOMESTEAD NOWHERE SHEEP

GOALS
1) fiber wethers for wool production
2) a couple ewes for breeding meat lambs to eat/sell
3) graze on otherwise unutilized sections of the farm

PLAN OVERVIEW

1) WOOL WETHERS
...A) Do good on pasture and mineral with some hay and little grain ration in winter
...B) Sell wool
...C) Sell wool finished products

2) MEAT EWES
...A) Do good on pasture and mineral with hay and small grain ration in winter
...B) Sell meat lambs
...C) Sell breed stock
...D) Possibly sell milk products

3) SALES
...A) going meat price/lb:
...B) going raw wool price/lb: $15-25
...C) going breed stock price ewe: $250-300
...D) going breed stock price ram: $200

4) RAISING
...A) a couple pastures on Dad's land
...B) herd flock on not hayable sections of the farm
...C) fence estimated cost: $650
...D) posts estimated cost: $600
...E) wool wethers $100 each (from one source for sure)
...F) meat breeding ewes $ (still pricing local breeders)
...G) breeding ram $ (still pricing local breeders)


Things I am looking up to add on:
*driving distance fiber festivals and bigger craft shows/fairs
*going price/lb processed wools and cost of having it commercially processed
*going meat prices. I emailed the teacher of the food processing class I took at the career center to see about pricing if I took meat lambs whole carcass in there and he estimated probably around $40 per lamb with wrapping etc. I will need to email him again once school is actually in though for sure.
*stop by the FDA building and see if there's actually anyone there with some knowledge about anything or the laws/permits/etc of possible selling, if any. Maybe to butcher shops or publicly if the career center thing would work.

Also side note somewhat related... Mom said she will pay for two dairy goats if I keep em and do everything but give her some milk and cheese. They don't drink that much milk and she will probably want more cheese, which is fine with me. plus all the other milk and cheese I can start selling at the spinners meetings again. I used to sell a lot there. Gallon ice cream tubs of cheese! Gallons and gallons of milk!

I will need to be investing in the fence and putting it up section at a time. start with the first section, put it up, bring in a couple goats (I am pondering a few Nigerians or mini breeds) for the future milkers to start clearing out the bulk of the brush. then when I can fence the next section I could move the goats to it and work on clearing the unwanted junk from the first pasture section. Working the goats back and forth with the two sections and expanding as I can buy and put up fence. then once I have at least three sections I should be able to bring in a few sheep to start on them. goats in a section, sheep in a section, and a section resting. this would go on as I expanded more sections. I will add a doodle of my sections idea for the area I would likely be allowed to do this.

I will probably ramble more in this thread later. I am too full of ideas!
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Re: My crazy sheep idea

Post Number:#2  Unread postby skysthelimit » Thu Jul 02, 2015 5:57 pm


Sounds like a plan.

There are quite a few fiber festivals within a two hour driving radius from Columbus, if that helps. One near Ashland, right off I can't remember where, but that is the general idea, then Wooster. There are also at least three fiber mills in Ohio, and don't forget people like me who spin for trade on Facebook groups.

Ravelry and Etsy are prime places for selling fiber, I've done better on eBay though, and of course the FB groups. What kind of sheep are you thinking, and what kind of goats? Angora and pygora are another avenue for spinners. For wool I'm pretty partial to Finn, they are hardy and dual purpose. You can get some Finn fiber that is as soft as Merino, another would be Jacob. Nice medium fiber breeds where they are in demand, but not as hard to care for coat wise as Merino and Merino X breeds.
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Re: My crazy sheep idea

Post Number:#3  Unread postby Miss M » Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:29 pm


Wow, you've done a lot of research and thinking on this! :P

All I know is I want some dairy sheep. :roll:
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Re: My crazy sheep idea

Post Number:#4  Unread postby mystang89 » Thu Jul 02, 2015 6:52 pm


Sorry, didn't read it all but I didn't see anything about milk. They have some of the healthiest milk around just not in the volume of a cow.

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Re: My crazy sheep idea

Post Number:#5  Unread postby ohiogoatgirl » Fri Jul 03, 2015 10:15 pm


skysthelimit wrote:Sounds like a plan.

There are quite a few fiber festivals within a two hour driving radius from Columbus, if that helps. One near Ashland, right off I can't remember where, but that is the general idea, then Wooster. There are also at least three fiber mills in Ohio, and don't forget people like me who spin for trade on Facebook groups.
yup I just need to make a big list of close enough fairs to sell at and a list of online sources to sell. I am on several of the FB groups as well so that's for sure.

Ravelry and Etsy are prime places for selling fiber, I've done better on eBay though, and of course the FB groups. I didn't know ravelry did wool sales, will have to look at that. ebay sales seem to be crappy-yard-sale-ish but I haven't looked there in a few yrs so I will look again. never know. What kind of sheep are you thinking, and what kind of goats? Angora and pygora are another avenue for spinners. I had three angora goats a few years ago and had to get out of them due to certain things. they are very expensive. I wasn't very particular to the fiber so it depends. I would probably consider a pygora. the goats would be milk goats though. mom wants milk and cheese and said she would pay for two good does for a share of the milk and cheese.For wool I'm pretty partial to Finn, they are hardy and dual purpose. You can get some Finn fiber that is as soft as Merino, another would be Jacob. Nice medium fiber breeds where they are in demand, but not as hard to care for coat wise as Merino and Merino X breeds.
Definitely a few Shetland wethers. I know a local guy in the spinners guild that has great stock and I have gotten wool from him before. really lovely. he doesn't ever sell off his wethers that fast and I could buy up several at only $100 each. also another person in the guild has icelandics and a few crosses (Icelandic crosses mostly from what she said) as well as a few random breed like a Lincoln etc. I bought about a lb of some of her dyed wool (because it was cool neon-like green and orange!) that was pretty nice. and if nothing else I could get a few Icelandic ewes for rug yarn and breed them to a meatier ram for cross meat lambs. icelandics are known for triple purpose and good hardiness on more forage-y land. Plus depending if I got some cheap bottle lambs at auction or off CL etc I could end up with a lot of variety.


__________ Fri Jul 03, 2015 10:15 pm __________

Miss M wrote:Wow, you've done a lot of research and thinking on this! :P

All I know is I want some dairy sheep. :roll:


mystang89 wrote:Sorry, didn't read it all but I didn't see anything about milk. They have some of the healthiest milk around just not in the volume of a cow.


Yup its in there.
Ya actually there is a CL ad for some dairy breed and dairy crosses sheep out past Pittsburgh PA area for not much more than local sheep price ($275 I think it was for ewes) and of course I don't have anything setup for them to be in right now ): and not the money for it right now :cry: But some of the other breeds are known for alright milk ability.
Can I get back all that spare time I used to have?

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Re: My crazy sheep idea

Post Number:#6  Unread postby skysthelimit » Sat Jul 04, 2015 8:43 am


Shetlands are very nice. And the fiber comes in a variety of wonderful natural colors.
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Re: My crazy sheep idea

Post Number:#7  Unread postby imajpm » Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:18 pm


Good quality spinning fleeces are selling really well right now, 35+ per pound. Fiber ewes with meat ram might be a nice combination.

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Re: My crazy sheep idea

Post Number:#8  Unread postby funnies50 » Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:01 pm


Wow, you musta done a lot of thinking on this! :P
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Re: My crazy sheep idea

Post Number:#9  Unread postby ohiogoatgirl » Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:20 am


funnies50 wrote:Wow, you musta done a lot of thinking on this! :P


Ehhh not too much :roll: just off and on for about 4 years or so :popcorn: With actually getting into being able to spin and having my wheel and into felting its all very cool and a lot to think about. Just talked with dad about movable electric netting. its a bit pricey but I think for first getting into things I could have one paddock with good o wire fence and get a couple section of electronet for moving em around the yard. Or just try and train them to follow me and be able to herd them around.. hm.. Then I could invest the money into more wire fencing paddocks.
I dunno I think the electronet looks neat for larger herds with more acreage of constant rotation grazing. but for just me and a small flock right now I think investment lies in wire fence and permanent paddocks for rotating. I could always add on more paddocks and train them to follow me so I wont have to mow so much! :P

__________ Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:51 pm __________

I am plotting a kickstarter. let me know what yall think!

I would like to start a sheep business. If funded I would make daily vlog videos.
If you donate $5 you get a weekly email of my adventures.
If you donate $10 you get your name will be in my vlog videos as supporters.
If you donate $20 you get to be 'director' of one video, with name and credits in the vlog video and ask me a question to be answered in the video.
If you donate $50 you get to be 'director' of three videos and ask me a question to be answered in the videos or a topic for the video.
If you donate $100 you get to be 'associate producer' of first 100 videos and be 'director' of ten videos.
If you donate $200 you get to be 'producer' of first 250 videos and be 'director' of ten videos.
If you donate $400 you get to be 'supreme executive producer with bacon, cheese, and sparkles' of the first 365 videos and be 'director' of fifteen videos.
In the vlogs directors, associate producer, producer, and supreme executive producer will all be credited at the opening credits. Supporters names will be listed in the closing credits.


working script for the kickstarter video:
I'm Katie. I have alot of farm experience and I want to start a small business with sheep. I would sell raw fleeces, prepared rovings and batts, wether stock, and eventually meat. Not only that, but I want to see more videos about it. Not just one or two videos. I want to see hundreds of videos of the things I am hearing about and want to learn. And I know I'm not the only one. So I have an idea. I will make these videos myself. I propose to share a video per day for 365 days. The only thing stopping me is some initial startup costs. So kickstarter is the perfect route to trying this. If I get funded, I will be able to buy materials and stock and get started. I will then produce one video a day for a year. Topics will include: sheep care, fencing, daily management, hoof trimming, breeds of sheep, pasture management, shearing, wool, spinning, felting, washing fleeces, wool prep, and more. I also want to give you the power to determine the topics that I put into the videos, so I've created rewards where you are the director, and you choose what the topic is, or what question I might put to somebody. Now is the time to present the critical question: are there a few hundred people like me that would like to see these videos? I'm willing to do the legwork - are you willing to support my kickstarter?

and I am plotting out costs of everything. that seems huge. really it is a crapload of money to me.

__________ Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:56 pm __________

adding what I have doodled out so far for the area I will be proposing to the family for the paddocks. plus extras like suggested rabbits and chicken coop placement. working on another doodle adding in proposed running water hoses etc.

__________ Sun Jul 10, 2016 12:20 am __________

I have done the math and if by my averaging I will need 50 sheep to be able to sustain myself with an income. With my current setup and starting amount of sheep I should be able to breed up to that many animals within five years. That is from keeping all or nearly all the lambs and with work I still need to do to be able to sustain that many on the current amount of land available to me.

At the point of having this many sheep I would par down the ones that had the 'least nice' fleeces or temperament issues etc. of course anything really bad like illness or totally bonkers temperament would be straightened out asap. I don't do crazy animals or animals that have to have pampering.
So I would be starting with my current 3 ewes and ram lamb. and hopefully at least two more ewes which I need to get back to the woman's farm but it's been darned hot and busy here. That would put me at 5 ewes, ram lamb, and I have my eyes on a ram from a different farm that would be old enough to breed the ewes this fall. I really don't know that the ram lamb will be old enough to be interested.

As said above if I am not able to buy any more sheep to bring in I *could* breed up to 50 within several years. but I really hope to be able to sell off a few lambs and buy some more older sheep. which shouldn't be a problem, I have my ears open to the people with sheep in the guild and will be interested in sheep from them for sure. I am SOOO excited at the breeding prospects and figuring out more of the colors and patterns and genetics. not to mention fleece qualities! :mrgreen:
I think at best I could get to 50, reasonably and without wearing myself down, within two years.

~Starting with breeding my ewes this fall ('16) and lambs in the spring ('17)... making it: 5 ewes, 2 rams, and up to 10 lambs though I expect some singles. Maybe buying some more ewe lambs from people in the guild, 2-4 more ewes or ewe lambs?
~Breeding the grown ewes and maybe a couple yearlings depending on size (fall '17) and lambs in the spring ('18)... making it 5 ewes, 4-10 ewe yearlings, 2 rams, any wethers that had nice fleeces, and up to about 15 lambs.
Sell wethers with not as nice fleeces and any culls. maybe buy a couple nice ewe lambs?
~Breeding ewes in the fall ('18) and lambs in the spring ('19)... making it: 9-18 ewes, 4-10 ewe yearlings, 2 rams, good fleeced wethers, and up to about 35 lambs.

That would have me at 13-28 ewes, 2 rams, several wethers, and many lambs to pick from to keep on going. Total sheep would be around 60. And if I keep some 'extra' wethers I can sell them later on for meat and have the fleeces from them while they feed out.

I have more rambling about this all but I'm tired... :? More tomorrow hopefully...
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Can I get back all that spare time I used to have?

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Re: My crazy sheep idea- 50 sheep!

Post Number:#10  Unread postby IdealAcresMiniPlush » Fri Sep 23, 2016 6:04 pm


We are raising katahdin hair sheep for meat, to sell for breeding stock, and to sell at the sale barn. They taste pretty good! Just took more rams to the locker for butcher.

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Re: My crazy sheep idea- 50 sheep!

Post Number:#11  Unread postby ohiogoatgirl » Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:54 pm


Where does the time go?!
Clearly somewhere far away the moment I'm not looking...

It's one thing after another. Early spring was nice weather and now we've been dropped into a week of rain. Tomorrow is supposed to be clear and I'm hoping to get lambs sorted from ewes, weigh them all, and get them moved to another paddock away from the ewes (moms). Then ewes get their own feed and lambs get their own feed. Then soon as I can get this section of fence on the posts I can move the ewes into a new paddock with chest high grass. I'm sure if they knew, they'd be chomping at the bit for me to hurry it up! Lucky for me, they don't know.

I am currently at 20 ewes, 19 lambs, 2 rams, and 1 goober of a wether.
This year I lambed 17 ewes, 21 lambs with 2 losses. I'm trying to keep from plotting before I get the lamb weights in... But at this point I am thinking I'll be culling 3 ewes and keeping 6 ewe lambs. I have 2 ram lambs I'm keeping an eye on as possible keepers for breeding. That I'll decide which one after I get weights, to see who gained more. But it'll be held back as a maybe, because I have someone coming to buy several lambs then I'll be going to look at some ram lambs at another farm. If I find one better than my ram lamb, I'll buy.

That will leave me with 23 ewes (25 if I don't sell the 3 culls :roll: ) and 2 rams.
Right now the rams are:
*Spot, a shetland who is moorit (brown) spotted.
+ He has a lovely quite fine fleece and I'd love to have more spotted genetics.
- But he's a tiny shetland.
- His fleece has a short length and is small (1.3#)
*Bingley, the ram I kept back last year, born here. His mom is a mutt, his dad was a shetland/cormo.
+ He is a hefty boy.
+ Heavy fleece (5.3#). Nice length, nice softness.
- He is half brother to 3 of the 7 ewes I kept back, also his twin sister. Of this year's ewe lambs I'm keeping 3 that he sired, 2 his dad sired.
- His mom is dual coated and based on some of the fleece on his offspring it may be popping up. Which isn't bad necessarily, just not what I'm aiming for.
Both will have girlfriends here this year but then will be available for sale. They are lovely but I don't want to stall the flock here when I have much bigger plans. To widen the genetics and play the odds of traits I'll be putting Spot with 5 shetland ewes for pure shetlands, one of my spotted cross ewes, and 2 ewe lambs (*if I breed ewe lambs this year). So if I keep a couple nice ewes from him, I'll get the spotting genetics in the flock, as well as fine fleece, but then I can breed those ewes to others and get more of what I want. Bingley will get 5 ewes and 3 ewe lambs*. These are strategic to see what happens with the offspring as far as fleece (fine? dual coated?) and color/pattern. And hopefully some real nice hefty ones as well.
If I keep the ram lamb to use he'll get 3 shetland ewes, 2 mutt ewes, and 1 ewe lamb*. If I end up buying a ram lamb I may juggle this and Bingley's groups a little depending on traits. I want to optimize his genes if I sell him, but I don't want to get a lot of lambs that aren't what I want either. It's a balancing act for sure.
If I end up not selling the 3 'cull' ewes and for some reason decide against taking them to the auction with the remainder of the lambs, then I will pop them in different groups to even out numbers. But I need to get rid of at least 2 of the 3. I told myself I'd only keep 2 or 3 ewe lambs if they were thee best... So of course here I am with 6 :countsheep:

When the person comes to buy lambs I'll get about $400.. unless I can talk him into some more :mrgreen: ...
Then I need to get feed and mineral, mail in wool samples for micron testing, and a few bucks I owe dad... $200
Then if I buy a ram lamb... $50...
To get me until I take the remainder of the lambs to the auction, where I can expect to get $50-80 each. Depending on what the prices do I'm estimating $300-550.. minus fees and paying dad gas..
Depending on how things go, from that I could get 3 months of feed.. Getting me through until breeding groups in October maybe.. If I have enough I could send the wool to the mill! If I send it soon as I get the lamb check, then it should be finishing up and ready by the time I need feed again. I should be able to sell some for feed money. I have a few people who've said they'd buy when I got it done but not enough to pre-sale it to cover sending it now. And I have someone who does a lot of shows who'll buy up whole lots if she likes them, but she won't buy without seeing/feeling first. Which I understand. So if I could get things sorted through then, I'll be better set once I have roving to sell.

:lol: If things could go at least somewhat along those lines I should be pretty good. Things rarely go according to plan.. I keep trying anyway..

I'll try to sort some time later to link pics of the sheep.

__________ Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:54 pm __________

Lambs are weaned and in new paddock, and ewes are in new paddock. I managed to get the lambs all weighed as well! Huzzah, just in time for a solid week of rain... So I have ADGs to look at now. (average daily gain)

I'm going to cull 3 ewes and the wether.
And keep 7 ewe lambs, possibly 1 ram lamb. There is one more ewe that I could have considered keeping but she is one of those wild eyed crazy ones, and the person wanting 3 or 4 ewe lambs.. And this leaves me 4 ewe lambs for him to look at. I'm going to have him look at the 'cull' ewes as well and hope he is interested. He is into the wool only from what I know at the moment, and these ewes would still be real nice, just not the best of my flock for what I'm doing.

ADGs...
1 ram lamb hit .5#
4 lambs hit .4#
9 lambs hit .3#
4 lambs hit .2#
1 lamb was under 1#
The smallest two are a set of ram twins that the ewe was not that big, smaller birth weights, and in hindsight they'd have grown better if I pulled one and left her one. I had a small bag of milk replacer and was giving them a bottle in the mornings until it ran out, to give them a boost. She just didn't have the milk for twins. She is in the list of cull ewes.
Total 19 lambs, group avg .337#

That one lamb hit .5# was really exciting for me since alot of these lambs are 60s% and 80s% shetland crosses. However of the two ram lambs I was looking at as keeper considerations, he and the next biggest, I decided on the other lamb who was the third best gaining lamb at .438#. The lambs look near identical standing together. Both look well put together and have real nice fleece. Both sired by Bingley, my cross ram I retained last year, 25% shetland 25% cormo, 50% mutt.
The .5# one's dam is a 3-6y/o, shetland ewe. Single lamb. The .438# one's dam is a 1y/o, bred as a ewe lamb, half shetland half border cheviot. Single lamb.
The pure shetland ewes I just got in the fall so I don't have lambing history on them. But my gut says 'ehh why is a proven ewe single lambing' and I won't want a ram from a ewe who always single lambs. My gut also says, 'hey look how great the first time ewe raised this ram lamb, and she should go on to twin next year, and this ram lamb is 25% border cheviot to add frame to his lambs'.
The ewe lambs are the top 7 ADGs of the ewe lambs. 3 are .4#s and 4 are .3#s ADGs.

I had 4 sets of twins: EE, RR, RE, RR. And of course the RE twins are the crazy ones and I'm not keeping that ewe. I was curious the total lamb weight that those ewes weaned, respectively: 67.7#, 50#, 53.4#, 29.3#. So the EE twins were terrific, that ewe twinned last year and singled her first time, and the ADGs are .414# & .409#. The last set of twins are the ones I supplemented and the ewe on the cull list.
From the adjusted weaning weights (60 day) I did a performance ratio. The lambs I'm retaining are all the best ones as well. From +3 to +45!

Then I pulled up fleece weights from the spring and did a performance ratio as well. Avg fleece weight 3.1#. Heaviest fleece 5.6#, lightest fleece 1.3#. Of course the pure shetlands that are fine and first shearing, scored big negatives. The biggest positives were one of the mutt ewes and several of the sheep born last year that I retained. With keeping the best lambs I'm really curious to see how this compares next year.
Can I get back all that spare time I used to have?

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Re: My crazy sheep idea- 50 sheep!

Post Number:#12  Unread postby michaels4gardens » Tue Jun 18, 2019 5:59 am


although I know almost nothing about sheep, thanks for posting ..
meat-mutt rabbits, a few laying hens.

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Re: My crazy sheep idea- 50 sheep!

Post Number:#13  Unread postby ladysown » Tue Jun 18, 2019 7:53 pm


interesting to see how your plans are progressing.
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Re: My crazy sheep idea- 50 sheep!

Post Number:#14  Unread postby ohiogoatgirl » Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:04 pm


Thanks for reading :popcorn: I can get 'decision overload' and I find that posting in the forums helps me really explain things and I end up making things less complicated for myself, and then while I'm typing I find I've made decisions I'd been mulling over for a while. :roll: Somehow writing out a forum post I end up changing some wording here or there and realize I've probably mostly just explained it more to myself maybe than anyone reading it :lol: But I'm glad if anyone else finds my posts useful. I search a ton of forums when I'm researching and find it helps to read other people's mulling over things.
Can I get back all that spare time I used to have?

https://www.instagram.com/girlwalkswithgoats/

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michaels4gardens

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