Sheep ImagesThe following pictures trace a year with the sheep at Whitefish Bay Farm
Late winter is largely spent in the barn, where food is plentiful. The ewes and rams have the best available nutrition as shearing is very near.
Shearing usually takes place in early March. Our shearer, takes great care to assure that the fleeces come off cleanly, all the while treating the sheep gently and with minimal stress.
In the past, once shearing was finished, lambing began within two to three weeks. All the pregnant ewes would deliver their lambs over a period of about 4 weeks. However, as of 2015 we no longer breed any of our ewes.
Above are a couple of new born lambs. The multi-colored lamb is a little over a week old, while the white lamb is just a couple of days old.
The bonds between the ewes and their new born lambs are usually exceedingly close and often remain year after year.
Within a couple of weeks the ewes and their lambs were joining other family groups in mixing pens in the barn. By now everyone is eagerly waiting the flush of green growth on the pastures.
Nothing can be finer than a warm spring day, knee deep in green grass!
As summer progresses, the lambs grew rapidly. By early July the ram lambs were mature enough that they needed to be separated from the ewes and ewe lambs. Like many farm boys they find it interesting to check out the tractors.
Meanwhile, out on one of the main pastures the Ewe Council discusses grazing options with the shepherd and wonders when the next group of their adoring fans will appear.
Grazing quickly became serious business for all the lambs.
Farm tours for our B&B guests are always good times to show off the beauty of the flock and their fleeces.
Farm tours are also grand opportunities for the sheep to socialize with their new fans.
As the summer progresses, the pastures grow more quickly than the sheep can eat. The excess hay is cut, baled and stored in the barn for next winter’s feed.
In the past, by fall it was again time to breed the ewes. The rams and ewes needed no reminding. Each ram was given his own group of ewes to squire. The ram wore a harness that holds a crayon. When a ewe was bred, the crayon left its mark. The rams and ewes were usually together in their groups for just over a month.
Fall is in full color at the beginning of the breeding season. Here were two breeding groups, each in their own pasture, strategically separated from each other by multiple electric fences.
By November the leaves have fallen, temperatures are dropping and the pastures are going dormant. Soon the ewes are gathered together in the main barn and the rams in their bachelor quarters. Winter is about to take hold. Another year will commence.