We were fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of the good folks at the Richert Ranch in New Haven, IN this past summer. Anita and Sabrina have been huge assets to us and graciously allowed our ewes to be bred with their Lincoln ram, named Sherlock. His wool is amazing in not only length and staple, but in color. Our first lamb(s) should be born here in early February with the rest coming along in late May 2017. We are excited to see the outcomes of the cross between the Lincoln and the Suffolk and the Lincoln/Romney cross.
I’ve talked a lot about wool and feel the need to comment on the shearing process. Shearing is not painful or harmful to the sheep. Shearing the wool is actually a practice that is healthy for the sheep and a necessity, whether you have a market for the wool sale or not. Wool shears resemble the clippers that barbers use to cut men’s hair, only much larger. The blades are set about ¼ to ½ inch in height, far enough away from the sheep’s skin to keep from cutting the skin. Removing the wool not only helps keep the animal cooler in hot weather, but also keeps the animal cleaner – free of insects and manure that can quickly create a health hazard for the animal. This practice is especially important during the warm, wet spring weather and during lambing season, when the babies are born.
Lucy and Rose rarely are far apart, they have been raised together and stay very close at all times.
Note the long and curly wool on Sherlock
The Romney breed is a fabulous wool producer and our Petunia is adorable and friendly! She is 100% black, long wool that has a superior shine quality and staple to it. Her wool will be used for spinning yarn to make socks, hats, and scarves.
Left: Petunia's long fiber wool ready is to shear!
Right: Petunia is the life of the party and always looking for a selfie opportunity!
At Wayne Trace Farms we started with 5 sheep in 2016 and have expanded to 14 through the summer of 2017 with the birth of Sue, arrival of Hope the "Bottle Lam", the arrival of 4 romneys from Oregon, and two Shetlands that were just too cut not to bring home from the Michigan Fiber Festival. We started out in the spring of 2016 to pick out a market lamb for Wyatt to show at the Adams County fair. We landed on a flock owned by our friend, Jarod Geyer of Marysville, OH. Jarod was headed to college that fall and needed to find homes for some of his sheep. When we came home from Marysville that day in April, we unloaded not just a market lamb, but 3 ewes and a cross bred ewe, too!
Lucy, Sweetie and Rose are purebred, registered Suffolk ewes. These girls are huge, weighing in at 250 pounds each! Petunia is a purebred, registered Romney ewe (purchased from Circle B Family Farm in Ada, Ohio) and Friend (owned and named by our 3 year old!) who is a Suffolk and Hampshire cross ewe.
Suffolk sheep have black faces, Roman noses and no wool on their faces. Originating in England, they are traditionally used as a meat breed, though their fleeces (wool) have good spinning quality and excellent fibers for making quilt battings. I have 2 quilts that I pieced that have natural wool batting inside and they are oh so warm and comfy!