Friday, January 17, 2014

Taking the plunge

      We have sold our first few dozen eggs this week.  Yeah! The chickens are starting to pay for themselves!  Okay, who am I kidding? They will take years to pay for the start up costs of lumber and hardware for the coop, and the continuing costs of feed and electricity.    However, $2.50 at a time, they are starting to earn their keep.
      The real reason to get the chickens was a) to have something on the farm so we do not lose the RA40 zoning, and b) to get us into the idea of having to be at the farm a minimum of twice a day, every day.  They are our practice animals.  They have been teaching us how to be farmers.  Now comes the real deal.
      We are about to put the deposit down on the lambs.  We were originally advised that a good size for a starter flock would be six sheep - two rams and four ewes.  This way we have two sets of male genes to switch around, and having two rams mean there is never a lonely sheep during the times when the boys are separated from the girls. However, this was a touch out of our budget, and we are going for two rams and three ewes.  We will still have two different sets of genes from the boys, just one less girl, so a few less lambs in our first lambing season.
     The emotional part of me wants many lambs, with a wide choice of fiber colours, but the practical person says no.  This is better.  Going over budget on the livestock means there is not money for something else down the line.  Where would we scrimp?  Fencing?  No.  Medications, or feed, or hay?  No, no, and no.  This is the right way to do it. Since Finnsheep tend to have twins and triplets most of the time, and litters occasionally, starting smaller may be better.  If three ewes have just two lambs each, we will more than double the size of the flock right off the bat.
     So tonight I am writing the check to reserve the lambs that will become our flock.  We will not see them until late Spring, but like having a baby, we have so much to do before their arrival!

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