started with 14 foundation ewes in 1997. Many of these
ewes were aged ewes that retained a lot of the "old style"
Dorset characteristics-stout, meaty, productive animals.
We are striving to maintain these characteristics in our flock as
well as the excellent mothering and out of season lambing characteristics.
Many of the older
ewes have exhibited out of season breeding for the prior owner, or
were fall born themselves. In addition, all sires are from
Our early lambing typically occurs in mid February
for 55-60 lb. Easter market lambs. In addition, this early lambing
will allow time for rebreeding for fall lambing. Our ewes
are excellent milkers (on little to no grain- read on), as the 30 day weights prove, where the lambs
average over 1 lb. of body weight per day of age. Lambs that
are born in fall (Sept-Nov) or late spring (April/May) are not creep
fed, nor are the dams supplemented (except in case of very poor
forage quality and/or drought).
Our lush pastures typically provides adequate nutrition for
these ewes and lambs to thrive.
We pride ourselves on
our biosecurity measures. Our ewe flock is closed (since 2002), and
the entire flock (rams included) has been closed to live animals since 2005. We now
utilize artificial insemination to continue our genetic improvement.
We occasionally breed a
few ewe lambs (first lambing at 12-14 months of age),
however, as we've moved to a forage-based system that results in
lower growth rates than when grain-fed, we often wait until 12-18
months of age to breed them. I won't breed a ewe lamb until she is
approximately 2/3 of her mature weight. While they have the
reproductive capability of breeding earlier, they often don't have
the maturity or body capacity to carry the pregnancy. We find that
by giving these young ewes additional time to grow and mature, they
have a longer, more productive flock life. Our yearlings (lambing at
12-18 months of age) typically
produce a 150% lambing rate, and raise lambs
unassisted. Our mature ewes typically have a 180-190% lambing
rate (occasionally breaking 200% with mature ewes),
with very few lambs orphaned or grafted.
Our ewes are very low maintenance. They lamb unassisted (or else
'grow wheels') and
require minimal supplemental feed. February-lambing ewes are fed grass hay in mid pregnancy (once the pasture runs out in the fall),
then dairy-quality alfalfa hay in late pregnancy. For the past 3-4
years, we have not fed any ewes grain pre-lambing, and only offer 1-
1.5 lb. of whole shelled corn to ewes bearing triplets (and
occasionally a yearling with twins). This grain is discontinued when
ewes/lambs go out on pasture in mid-April. Ewes with singles and twins are not fed grain as long as
forage quality is adequate. May- and fall-lambing ewes are pastured with no supplementation prior to
or after lambing
unless forage quality is very poor.
We keep track of the flock with the Ewebyte Sheep Management
We were in LambPlan
from 2000 until 2014. In 2014 we enrolled in NSIP (National Sheep
Improvement Program). We have been scanning loin eyes on
our flock (for input into NSIP/LAMBPLAN) since 2003. With the current
agreement between NSIP and LambPlan, we now have cross-flock
EBVs (Expected Breeding Values) as we have sold rams into several
We are a Certified
flock in the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program and are
working towards export status.
We sell Dorset rams, weaned ewe lambs and occasionally
mature ewes (see for
sale site). Contact us if you are interested.