With today’s ice and tomorrow’s snow forecast, we are grateful for a shed full of hay and enough room for the flock to wait out the weather in a dry shelter. Preparations began months ago, and we continue to work to keep everyone as comfortable as possible. Last night was spent unrolling hay and stacking it in the shed to maximize bedding area and simplify feeding.
Hair, not Wool
When you think of sheep, you probably think of wooly sheep that need to be sheared, but not all sheep grow wool! Our sheep are referred to as “hair” sheep, but all sheep have hair and wool. Hair sheep just have more hair than wool. This means that like many dog breeds, their coat grows thicker during the winter and is shed in the spring. Their hair/wool is also covered in lanolin oil that keeps their skin protected and their coat dry. Hair sheep breeds also come with many more positive qualities, including lower maintenance (no shearing), high level of reproduction, are more resistant to internal parasites (worms), and more tolerant to heat and humidity.
As any livestock guardian knows, water is probably the most troublesome issue during colder weather. We have long been unable to use our outdoor faucets due to the temperatures, so we now carry very warm water twice a day to maximize fresh water availability to the flock. Sheep can go for weeks with little to no water when their forage is fresh, but when feeding on hay, they tend to drink more because of the dry hay.
All this talk of winter maintenance has me dreaming of spring. I’ll probably go browse some greener pictures over on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MiddleEden/
Also, if you missed our special newsletter update today, make sure to sign up now, so you get all our future newsletters!