Friday, April 09, 2010
Comeback Farms :: Chapters 15-16 Book Report
In chapter fifteen Greg Judy writes about the flock of hair sheep he began with and how he suggests going about beginning your own herd. On his farm they started out with purebred St. Croix hair sheep from a small herd that had never been wormed. The gentleman that Mr. Judy purchased his sheep from had been building his parasite resistant flock for some time and had already gone through the struggle of severe culling and loss of sheep to build the genetics he needed. I've got to admit that I think that is a great way to go ... especially if you are going to start out with a small flock like I would like to.
The small flock of St. Croix's was not all that Mr. Judy wanted for his farm. In fact he mentioned that he would like to have a flock of 500 ewes. After searching all over for more St. Croix hair sheep he found that they were hard to come by ... or as much as $500 for ewe lambs. As you might guess that would be a bit too much to pay if you wanted to build a large production flock, so he moved on to "Plan B". That plan involved buying a flock of Barbados hair sheep. What they are doing now on his farm is using the St. Croix rams to breed to the Barbados ewes in hopes of building up their parasite resistant flock. It sounds like a good idea ...
Along with parasite resistance Mr. Judy has a few other goals for the type of sheep that are part of his flock. His goal, "is to build a flock that needs no wormer, no lambing assistance, no feed, no hay, no shelter. They must have extreme flocking instinct, lamb on pasture, get no shots of any kind, wean their own lambs, shed off every spring, lamb every year, require no hoof trimming, and have good mothering instincts." As you can see that is a pretty lofty goal, but once it is reached they will have a flock that fits perfectly into their system and that uses very few inputs!
Chapter sixteen deals with developing the parasite-resistant flock. I can sum it up pretty quickly. Cull ruthlessly ... get sheep from your area ... find sheep being raised the way you want to raise them ... and ... cull ruthlessly! Of course he adds a bit more, but I think that's a good summery.