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Keeping sheep

Posted on: 29th May 2015

The acquisition of sheep represented a step up for us. Moon and Sixpence were the largest farm creatures we had yet acquired – and it showed. We had some early trouble keeping them in the right place but over time, our flock of sheep proved to be our most consistently satisfying venture.

To begin with our flock consisted entirely of pedigree Jacobs. Shadow, the flock ram, took first prize in the Kent class for his breed when he was a three-year old. His showing days were short-lived but he continued to sire some lovely lambs. Once we had got them under control, we found sheep fairly easy to manage. They need little more than good pasture to feed on and continued always to answer to the rattle of a bucket of pony nuts. So if anyone ever tells me that they want to put a bit of wasteland to use, I advise them to try sheep.

I made this recommendation to our neighbours Jo and Rodney, who needed little encouragement to put sheep in the field their horses were already using. It did wonders for the field, made them largely independent of the butcher, and brought the family a great deal of pleasure. But they had to learn the hard way. I can remember that Jo and Rodney first bought sheep of the Kent breed, which are rather large. I still smile when I remember Rodney toboganning down the field, towed on his tummy by a large ewe he had been trying to catch for an inspection.

When animals are concerned there is a lot of room for error. But trial and error, is of course, often the best way to learn.

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