Hello from Ohio

catherinecarney

Exploring the pasture
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Hi all--

Just discovered this site! Never quite sure about what to write on these introductions, but here goes.

I'm located in north central Ohio, raising Shetland sheep, poultry (chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, peafowl), and trying to keep the wildlife from eating my garden (with a notable lack of success, I might add). I'm on just over 4 acres of heavy clay soils, so I'm working on improving soil quality for my pastures as well as removing introduced invasives like japanese honeysuckle and multiflora rose (the Shetlands are handy for that). My hope is to incorporate holistic and permaculture principles as much as possible into my livestock and land management practices....

Catherine
 

catherinecarney

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Thanks for the welcome!

Shetlands and Border Leicesters are an interesting combination--what made you decided on them?

I'm trying to preserve the hardiness of the breed and variety of fine fleece types and colors in my flock, though as a handspinner I confess to preferring the longer silky type fleeces for myself. My son also runs a flock of Shetlands (currently at my place until he gets fencing up at his new location), and he's selecting for fleeces as well as the multipurpose meat and milk characteristics of the breed.

I'd be curious to hear about your experiences raising your sheep, and any insights and advice would be much appreciated in advance!
 

purplequeenvt

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My family raised sheep in VT for about 20 years. We started with Romneys and then added Border Leicesters. We quickly fell in love with the BLs and eventually phased out the Romneys.

I added Shetlands to the flock 10ish years ago when a neighbor gave me her last 3 ewes. My only impression of Shetlands prior to this was that they were small and wild. I very quickly came to love the breed.

I moved to KY at the end of 2019 and brought 15 ewes with me.

I’m also a spinner/knitter. I like Border Leicester wool, but Shetland is my favorite. I prefer soft, single coated Shetlands with a medium staple length. I find these fleeces lend themselves nicely to the lace weight yarn I like to spin.

My Border Leicester rams are all big puppy dogs, but I have a love/hate relationship with Shetland rams. I’ve had some lovely personalities, but I’ve also had some that I barely trust across the fence. He’s gorgeous and throws beautiful babies, but I can’t go anywhere near him without a stick and/or the Border Collie. He’s not just aggressive towards people though, he’ll just as happily hit another ram for no reason. He’s a nightmare during breeding season because he’s never happy with the ewes he’s been given and will smash things down to get to more ewes. I’ve used him 2 years and both years he’s bred a couple of my best Border Leicester ewes. His crossbred lambs are gorgeous though so it almost makes up it. I have a new Shetland ram for this fall so he’ll be moving along….one way or another.
 

Baymule

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@purplequeenvt posted a picture of a shawl she made, from the sheep to finished product. Unbelievably beautiful! Here’s a link to that page.

 

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