Learn How to Care For Sheep
With all of us involved with busy schedules, the Shetland's self-sufficiency is very welcome. They can manage with little guidance, but they thrive on attention. A real joy can be had with these animals just by sitting with them. They will be more than willing to come for scratching and loving.
Raising Your New Lambs
As mentioned, we learned as we went. Our first five sheep survived our ignorance, much as our children did... not much the worse for the wear. We did learn that it's very important to buy from reputable breeders. A good breeder is concerned that the new owner succeed in their endeavor.
Sheep Husbandry is Easy
Remember, these sheep are not hot house roses. As previously mentioned, this breed of sheep does not need a lot of specialized care. Just like any pet, they need yearly shots and veterinary care. There are vets in all areas that can come to your home for a very reasonable fee. Also, we can put the sheep in a dog kennel in the back of our station wagon and take them to the vets' office.
Shearing, Sheltering and Fencing Your Sheep
As for shearing, you can try your hand, or have a local shearer do the job. We do our own shearing on a goat milking stand so as not to kill our backs. The sheep also need their hooves trimmed once or twice a year. The housing for our first sheep managed nicely in a 14' x 8' enclosure in our barn. We erected a temporary electric net fence powered by a portable charger. In time (before winter ice and snow which would "short-out" our fence) we put up a more permanent perimeter fence in place.
Learning to Care for Sheep with Iris
Early on, we had a "smart" sheep. You don't want a really smart sheep... her name was Iris. Our 3 foot perimeter fence at the time probably would have sufficed had not Iris been about. Admittedly, she was the bane of our new farmer existence. She taught us many lessons, mostly those of patience. Fortunately for her, she had some of the most beautiful of fleeces, and gorgeous lambs. Firstly, Iris could jump anything up to approximately 5'5". When feeling trapped, all sheep will jump a great deal higher than one might imagine. All sheep, when approached rapidly, will immediately assume everyone is a hungry wolf looking for a meal, but if approached in a slow and gentle manner, they will gladly not behave as though you are an axe murderer. I'm pleased Iris has retired to a family with small children.
Raising "Trouble" – Another Smart Sheep
Our current Einstein is "Trouble". Trouble is like Iris, a smart sheep. She has sunned herself on shed roofs, chased sheepdogs who come to round up the flock, and tries any and all possible escape routes. At one point, we were concerned she might try to land when on top of a roof... so far, she has not done that.
Contact us for any information on how to arrange purchase of our ovine characters.