North Country Cheviot Sheep
Also referred to as: Fuzzy-butts, Fluffy-butts, Sheepies, or Sheeple.
In the summer of 2017 I acquired my first flock of largely purebred North Country Cheviot sheep. A hardy animal with superior mothering instincts, the North Country also lamb easily.
For the first few months of their stay the sheepies stayed in a field shelter I’ve used for other animals over the years (most recently, pigs) while work progressed as time allowed on the Sheep Barn.
Built on skids to make it easy to relocate using the tractor, the Field Shelter has enough of a an overhang on the roof to provide shade during the height of the day as well as two doors – one of which closes during period of high winds, rain, or cold.
A series of movable eight by four panels helped keep the newly arrived lambs close to the shelter until they started thinking of it as home. At that point they were given free range of their pasture and rapidly learned to come running to the sight of a bucket full of feed.
Built as time allowed during the summer, the Sheep Barn was finished in November as the last of the chickens were processed and the greenhouse and garden emptied out.
I learned quite a bit building the Goat Barn and I tried to incorporate those lessons into the Sheep Barn. A smaller hatch in the ‘sheep’ door allows the critters to have access to the field on windy or snowy days while preventing their bedding from getting soaked. I used transparent roofing panels to create windows in the peaks of the building to allow in more natural light then just a single window.
Sheep are by nature avid and dedicated grazers and will take advantage of almost any opportunity for fresh grass. With constant access to fresh water and hay, the sheepies receive a mix of whole barley and Purina Ewe Chow twice a day.
Although they do not receive any treats (like the alfalfa cubes the goats love) per se, they do enjoy being hand fed whole barley whenever possible.
My sheep are being raised primarily for market lambs with wool being an added bonus. Eventually I will be looking into providing a small quantity of wool products each year (but not quite yet!).
Although I have yet to breed my sheeple (that will have to wait until 2018 when they are old enough), one of the goals is to breed to not only expand the flock but the sale of lambs. While lamb meat is in high demand and market lambs generally command a much higher price today then they have in past years, the lambs themselves are sought after by hobbyists, sheep farmers, and mixed livestock operations.
It’s one of the things that sheep do constantly, growing wool – and they do it very well.
Wool can be sold uncarded and raw for hobbyists to use or it can be processed at a mill.
Typically, wool processed at a mill is exchanged for a quantity of finished products (blankets, socks, mittens, yarn, felt, etc.) that has been made from not just the wool any one farmer sends in but all of the wool submitted. So although the products will have some of my sheep wool in them, they will not be 100% made from Simply Ducky Farm wool.