Hey! I’m a Sheep Farmer

On Saturday July 16th, we brought home two Cotswold lambs from Hidden Meadow Farms in Canning, NS. We live about an hour and a half away, so it was quite a first journey for the pair – one ewe and one ram – which will become our breeding stock. They seemed to not mind the trip, and when I gave them hay a few minutes after they were put in the stall, they eagerly ate.

I told the kids it’s a good sign if the animals eat and drink after they arrive. It’s also a good sign to see them poop and urinate in the days following because it indicates they are eating and drinking.

Cotswold Lambs

Thistle (left) and Isla grazing the new pasture.

Names came quickly for these two woollen balls. We named the ewe Isla (pronounced with a long I as in the word island). That’s a Scottish name referring to the island of Islay, which lies off the west coast of Scotland. Isla is adorable. Well, both are lambs are adorable. This little lady is a wee bigger than her mate.

We named the ram lamb Thistle. That’s Scotland’s official flower and it adorns Nova Scotia’s Coat of Arms. My daughter thought of this one. I had originally wanted Scotia (the ancient name for Scotland) but I had to admit I liked Thistle. On Sunday I paused for a moment while grooming her. She nuzzled her nose into my hand, and I scratched both her cheeks. The ewe came over to see what was going on and wanted a scratch, too.

When I want to move the lambs to the pasture, I simply pick up Thistle and start walking. Isla follows a few steps behind. The first time we did this, we had a lead on Thistle because I carried Isla. The next time, I carried Thistle because he is not as heavy. We didn’t put a lead on Isla, and she followed as if I had been carrying her favourite treat. We did this again when we took them out for a fifteen minute grazing in the evening.

Cotswold Sheep

Thistle and Isla stick together like two peas in a pod.

Isla was born March 21, 2011. She was a single birth which means she doesn’t have a twin. Her mother (dam) is Apple Fence Shauna 85 and her father (sire) is Gaspereau Cots Prince 15. She’s considered coloured which means she has black wool.

Thistle was born April 13, 2011. He was also a single birth. His dam is Minnie 2U and his sire is Caora 9T. He’s also coloured. Although both lambs have black wool, they’re off spring can be either black or white. Both of Isla’s parents were white.

The next step is to register the sheep with the Canadian Livestock Records Corporation (CLRC: http://www.clrc.ca/index2010.shtml). There will be more on that experience when it happens.

Stay tuned for information on Cotswold sheep, a rare breed whose numbers have dropped dramatically in the last hundred years.

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