2024 Yule & Yarn Advent Calendar is ready for pre-order!

Come, Meet the Flock

Come, Meet the Flock
Open the gate and step inside our pasture and you can meet the sheep who miraculously transform grass into fleece!
Posey is my sidekick, if a girl can have a sheep for a sidekick.  When I appear over the bridge and approach the sheep pen, she is the first to greet me.  When I walk by the fence, she trots over to baaaa a hello.  When the rams get annoyed with my presence, she quietly comes and positions herself between myself and the boys.  Lately, she has taken to leaning on me with all her weight, looking for massages and chin scratches.  The kids and I discovered years ago that if we are extra quiet when we pet her, she seems to fall asleep standing up as we rub her shoulders or her hind legs. 
Posey (Debouillet Merino)
Posey is our alpha ewe, and the rest of the sheep follow her lead.  If she trusts you, the others will....well, flock around you.  Posey is a triplet born in 2014 to a Delaine merino dam and sired by a Rambouillet merino...making her a Debouillet merino.  Her fleece is consistently beautiful and prolific...at least 9 lbs a shearing!  In 2016 she easily lambed Yarrow, our first newborn on the farm, and has given us a total of six lambs over the years.  Posey is a wonderful mama and took to her duties with admirable devotion.  She has officially earned granny status on the farm and will spend the rest of her days grazing the pastures, minding her grandchildren, and receiving gentle massages.
Huckleberry (CVM)
The CVMs are almost all descendants of Posey and her sister, Flora.  A CVM is a California Variegated Mutant....a funny name for a gorgeous breed!  Essentially, CVMs are the result of Merinos crossed with Romneys and their babies are either solid coloured or have facial markings.  An all coloured lamb is a Romeldale, while lambs with facial markings are CVMs.  The gogeous fibre grown by CVMs is remarkable in its staple length (Romney trait) as well as its softness (Merino genes) ~ often, CVMs will grow 9 to 10 lbs of wool!  We have three CVMs including Delilah and the wethers (neutered rams), Huckleberry and Bubba
Bubba (CVM) on the right, with some Shetland ewes
We also have three white Romeldales, including Lilac, Poppy, and Cassidy.  They all have prized fleeces and gentle personalities...some of my favourite sheep of all time.
Lilac (Romeldale)
A popular handspinner's choice hailing from Sweden, Gotland sheep grow silky, lustrous locks that spin up into a fine, shimmery yarn. 
Astrid (registered Gotland)
Aurora (Gotland x Shetland)
We have four Gotland sheep (and one Gotland x Shetland) that are all the most personable and endearing of the flock.  Gotlands are known to be clever and inquisitive, and certainly Stella Blue, Little Luna, Aurora, Astrid and Bjork are a favourite with visitors. 
Stella Blue (Gotland cross)
Stella is also one of the matriarchs of the flock, and Posey's bestie.  She is equally loving and fierce and doesn't hesitate to step right up to danger (ie. barking dogs) and stamp her foot in indignation...yet she is also very affectionate and will gently nudge my hands for chin scratches every chance she gets.  This year we are bringing in a purebred Gotland ram named Dirk for these ewes.  While only Astrid is registered purebred, Dirk's genes will provide some nearly purebred lambs for Stella and Bjork.
Finally, we have a small purebred Shetland flock that includes Bonnie, Dorrie and Edie.  These three are mother and daughters who are an excellent representation of exquisite Shetland wool. 
Bonnie (registered Shetland)
Soft and strong, Shetland wool is one of the original, primitive wool breeds and has a wide range of colours.  My three girls give me a rich, deep chocolate brown (Bonnie) while her daughters are both gingery fawn coloured. 
Shetlands are very sweet-natured and take a little bit of work to earn your trust.  But once they know you are no threat, they will collect around your feet in a cuddle puddle of adoration.  My daughter likes to train them to do obstacle courses and their diminutive size allows for people of all ages to wrap arms around them in affection.
Since we began our flock in 2014, the total number of sheep has ebbed and flowed.  Currently we have a flock of twelve sheep and five lambs.  Given the current cost of hay and given that our small pastureland is shared with my daughter's horses, this size feels manageable for the time being.  We are careful in selecting who will be bred and it is always an exciting surprise as to what the possible outcomes may be!

Leave a comment