My Sheep...

I have East Friesian Sheep and Gotland Sheep. The East Friesians are one of, if not the, best dairy sheep. They are friendly and calm, curious and a bonus is they have nice, versatile fleeces.

I love to make soap and cheese and raw milk mocha cappuccinos so naturally the East Friesians -

Gotland are also milky and have wonderful fleeces, prized by the fiber arts crowd. The ancient breed, a descendent of Gute landrace sheep, traces back to the Isle of Gotland off the coast of Sweden. The Gotland pelt is prized for its unique metallic silver grey color, soft curling locks ("purling") and high luster. It is the only known truly grey fleeced breed.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Progress With The EF Girls

Because my East Friesians ewe lambs are calmed down and know this is home now, I have moved from just a daily grain treat with me in a stall while they eat it, to letting them eat out of my hands. They are still very cautious and suspicious- so unlike my dairy goats. 
We are now up to the point that I let them out with the dairy goats in the corral, and now the past couple days on the 10 acre pasture. They come when I call them, "sheep sheep sheep!" and follow me around. They still won't stand for me approaching them and petting them. I'm learning to be patient, and that for a sheep to really trust and bond takes almost a year in my experience. But when they do, it's thrilling and worth the wait. 
They are curious, and joyful even. It's a pleasure to be outside with them around my legs.
This morning I worked with them, allowing them into the barn isleway and bringing their grain to the  milking stanchion. Once Francesca realized there is an entire bowl of delicious muesli -like grain with brazil nuts up there, she just jumped up, put her head through, and ate. Progress!

I'll keep doing this several times a week for practice until after they lamb next year and we really get to milk.
The Icelandic girls left Wednesday with a wonderful couple who are starting their farm adventure in Oregon. It was bittersweet because I hated seeing them go, but was so grateful that they got to go to a home and stay together.
The Gotland sheep will settle in the barn on Sunday afternoon. I'll be in Seattle with our oldest son, but I'll get to come home to them and I'm pretty excited. Now, to learn to spin.

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