Our Farm Story
In 2010 and in 2014, Georgia and I had the opportunity to visit Scotland and see the area (Dundee) from which my mother and her family had immigrated to the United States. We spent most of our time in Northern Scotland and needless to say, sheep were everywhere. We had raised sheep (Suffolk) in the mid 1980’s to late 1990’s and after the Scotland visit I got the “bug” again. After procrastinating and doing some research, in the summer of 2012 I made the decision (much to my wife’s chagrin) to get back into the sheep business.
The primary goal(s) for our farm is to sell seed stock or replacement sheep for others, meat products, and to just sit back and enjoy the animals. As I had anticipated, we continue to make modifications to our farm plans, and for the most part, the changes have been good. Because we do not show sheep for competitive purposes, we are not under pressure to produce sheep that look good in the “show ring”. Many breeds of those “show” sheep have lost many of their original breed characteristics. To the best of our ability, we will maintain the “older style” characteristics of our chosen breeds. Our intent will be to have what some would refer to as a “production flock”. Our sheep (including lambs) are raised on grass/hay and we supplement their feed with a minimal amount of grain depending on the time of the year that we lamb. We will only sell potential breeding stock to others if we would chose that animal to add to our own flock.
We had started our current sheep operation to include the following breeds: Scottish Blackface, North Country Cheviots, Dorsets, and Bluefaced Leicester. My original intent was to try the “three tier” breeding system that has been utilized in the United Kingdom for many years. In 2015 we decided to forgo the “three tier” system for a couple of reasons (1) Land space does not allow me to maintain all of the registered animals and also have a separate flock of “mules” (named applied to Bluefaced Leiscester crossed with other breeds); (2) I discovered that the mule lambs were lacking some of the physical attributes that I wanted and felt that I was going backwards instead of forward. In 2015 we parted company with the Bluefaced Leicesters. In 2014, I had started doing some research for a terminal sire that I would use for the mules. Of primary interest was the Suffolk and Texel breeds. I opted to go with the Texel and purchased a starter flock. I am satisfied that we made the right choice and have since expanded our flock of Texels.
All of our breeding stock are registered. In the Fall of 2017 we started a selective, cross-breeding (Texels used as sires) program to help fulfill the need for market lambs. In 2017 we were selected to furnish lambs to the owner of Black River Meat company. The program was a success, but they subsequently had difficulty with the processing facility and had to discontinue purchasing lambs in 2018. We hope that we will be able tp partner with them in 2019.
We do participate in the voluntary Scrapie program which nowadays is required in most instances in which sheep are removed from the farm. All of our breeding stock has come from farms participating in the Scrapie program. We have purchased animals from the following States: New York, Virginia, Idaho, Pennsylvania & Maryland.