Thursday, August 30, 2012
Virtual Farm Tour :: Katahdin Hair Sheep
Now, why do I call them a work in progress? Well ... let me just say that they are not exactly trained to the electric fence yet (including the electric netting). This is our second year with the sheep and I can't exactly say that we have been rotationally grazing them, but I can say they cover the acres very well and do graze on different species of forage than the cows normally do. From reading other people's accounts on raising sheep I think I just need to really focus on getting them used to the hot wires.
As I mentioned the demand has been fairly high for lamb meat and we have not had any problem selling what few cuts we have. In fact I've had quite a few people interested in ordering whole lambs and that will probably be something we begin in the next year or so, but for now I like the idea of getting as many people hooked on our lamb meat as possible! The downside though is that the way we raise our lambs it is very seasonal market. With our spring born lambs and fall processing we really only have them available for a couple months each year.
One option to spread the availability out a little bit would be to have fall born lambs and winter them over on hay, but I'm not sure if I like that idea because there would be extra hay costs incurred that don't exist with spring lambing. Which makes me think that selling whole lambs and taking reservations throughout the year for the fall would be the best possible market strategy for the farm.
I am pretty sure that there will be sheep and lambs on the farm for years to come (as long as we get all the wrinkles ironed out), but there are a few things I would like to try/explore. As I mentioned I may try some different breeding schedules, but I would also like to look more closely into the St. Croix breed if I can find some. I will also admit that I need to learn quite a bit more about the different cuts and how to prepare them! All in all though I'm pleased with the sheep.