Spring can be quite an exciting time on a farm. There are new babies being born and its also planting season. I jump at the chance to get back home for the weekend, especially in the springtime.
Back in 2008, my parents and I purchased our first Shetland Sheep. We had always purchased 4-H lambs in the spring from another farm and I was excited for the first time we would have our own lambs. It didn’t take us long to go from having a few sheep to over twenty at times.
This year has been extra fun because I had more time to be involved than I have the past few years.
Each year, when it’s close to being time for lambs, we move our pregnant ewes (momma sheep) into a smaller individual pen where we can keep a better eye on them. We watch over them for signs of pregnancy complications or babies that struggle when they are born. This is just precautionary because a majority of the time the lambs are born without any issues. Shetland sheep come in a wide variety of colors and patterns. This one below, born this year, is one of the more unique patterned one that we’ve had.
This spring we’ve had some odd weather. We had spring like temperatures in February and in April and May we had some cooler than normal temperatures. These sheep are originally from the Shetland Isles and are hearty animals in cold weather, but we tend to spoil our lambs a little. This year we had twins born on one of the freezing cold days that we had in April and so my mom put them in wool sweaters. They have a little wool when they are born, but this gave them an extra layer in a natural way so they didn’t have to spend as much energy on staying warm.
Once the ewe’s and lambs are ready we move them back outside to a bigger area with pasture. Their first time outside they often like to stretch their legs and jump around playfully.
Shetland sheep are raised for the wool that they produce. We shear them only once a year and this also happens in the springtime once the temperatures are a little warmer.
While sheep are the main thing that we raise on our farm, our family also has a vegetable garden. A lot of the work to prepare the garden happens in early spring as well as starting seeds indoors. Then most of the planting starts in late spring when the soil is warmer.
Spring is busy time of year not just for my family, but even more so for other farmers who operate on a much larger scale than us or produce other things such as fields of corn and soybeans. Farmers work hard all year round and especially in the spring to help provide the food that you eat and the clothes that you wear.
My family loves our hobby farm and we care deeply about the health and well-being of our animals.
Remember, you engage in agriculture at least three times a day…breakfast, lunch, and dinner!