Yesterday, Today and all the yesterdays of the past seven years have started the same way….get dressed, drink a cup of coffee, go tend the sheep.
A person thinking about raising sheep or any agriculture adventure should consider what a day being a sheep farmer or other agriculture owner/operator is truly like.
If I stayed up late and do not want to get up, that is not an option as I have to tend the sheep. If I am sick, vomiting, I still have to tend the sheep.
Sheep and any animal a person chooses to raise or have in their life requires food, water and care. In order to take a trip to see my children and grandchildren, I have to find a person and budget in the trip expenses money to pay the person to feed the sheep. Even an overnight trip takes planning as the sheep need to be brought in from pasture and fed. Being a sheep farmer is a lifestyle commitment.
Why would anyone want to be restricted in what they do because they have to feed the sheep.
I love my sheep. I get joy from my sheep. I have sleepless nights because of my sheep. I choose to be a sheep farmer and all that encompasses.
I enjoy raising livestock. I raised horses, trained and competed on horses from the age 12 for 26 years. I raised four wonder children around the horses and various other livestock. I have been around animals raising, caring for the majority of my life. I get self gratification and rewards from raising livestock.
I plan out an entire year in a monthly/weekly calendar planner on breeding dates, laming dates, weaning dates and sale dates. Depending on what the sheep are doing I schedule deworming, vaccinations and hoof trimming.
My favorite times with the sheep is laming and it is also the busiest time with the sheep. I evaluate each lamb to see if my planned breeding of ram to ewe was an improvement to the sheep. I want my lambs to be better built and grow faster than the sire and dam. When the lambs are born I get self gratification for the improvement.
I get joy listening to the ewes talk to their lambs. The ewe makes a gurgling chuckling noise to her lamb or lambs as she cleans them and as the lambs nurse. I never get tired of seeing and hearing the ewes be good mothers. I giggle when I see the lambs and sheep play, jumping upwards, sideways and sometimes backwards, kicking up their heels as they head to some destination I am not sure they know where that destination is.
I am in awe with each birth watching new life come into the world. It never gets old for me.
Weaning times are really noisy times, but it is also evaluation of each weaned lambed, especially ewe lambs. I select the lambs I am keeping or selling for breeding, and I sale the others for market.
Sale days are good days, I get paid for the last eight months of work. It takes eight months from breeding to sale day with each group of ewes I breed to get a payday.
Being a sheep farmer is a lifestyle commitment and a person needs to enjoy being with and around sheep. If a person is doing it just for money, the everyday tending the sheep will get old and the person will be very unhappy being a sheep farmer.