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Hi. I am preparing to bring home 2 Shetland/Finn cross ewes and a ram lamb. They were born this Spring, March or maybe April. I was planning on doing this in the late Fall, but circumstances arose and I have the opportunity now. The problem is I was planning on doing all my reading in September and prep work in October. Now I have to do it all in a week. Yikes!

Here is my current set up: I have a barn (with 3 goats), some good second cutting grass hay (square bales,50-60 lbs per bale, 100 bales), 1/3 acre fenced woods, 2/3 acre fenced pasture, and another acre we could fence. Our fencing is cattle panels. I LOVE cattle panels. We've had goats for 10 years (but are getting out of that and into sheep) so we are very capable of handling livestock, remembering to feed and water them, hoof trimming, and worming.

However I do have questions: Do you worm sheep as often as goats? I've heard you don't. What do you use to worm them? How often do you do feet? Shearing? I know they haven't been sheared this year. I think we were planning on trying to get that done in October. Would it be better to wait until spring?

Next set of questions: I'm getting a spinning wheel. I have no idea what kind it is or how to use it. What is the best way to get started figuring it out. What else do I need to buy? Finally, would it be better to hold off breeding them until next year? They are already a good size, but I no nothing about sheep births (unless it is exactly like goat birth -- then I know when to panic and call for help!).

How's that for a beginning post?
Thanks.
Kim
 

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Sheep and goats can use all the same wormers. The dosages are a little lower for sheep. I only worm mine when they NEED it , and not on any type of schedule. Same with the foot trimming. I put concrete blocks around the water troughs and that helps wear the hooves down so its rare that I have to trim at all, Our sandy soil is pretty abrasive though so it may be different where you are.

Make sure you remove all the goat minerals. They have too much copper for the sheep.

Check the "fiber arts" forum for answers about spinning. I have Dorpers so I know nothing about all that
 

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Sheep and goats are really similar when it comes to basic needs and body functions, personality and tenacity is a different thing but when you get down to the basics they are very similar. I would just worm the sheep when you worm your goats it doesn't make sense to get rid of worms in one animal when another is just going to produce more and reinfest them. I use the ivomec horse paste, if you want you can get the ivomec drench especialy for sheep but I don't bother it's the same stuff just different packaging. What do you use for your goats you may be able to use it for your sheep too.

What is your climate like, low highs and when it starts to get cold down there if you get really cold soon I wouldn't bother shearing them this year. But if they were just born this year they shouldn't have that much wool even for their breed, I have suffolks and I don't shear the lambs at all and our temps get up into the 100's.

Can't help you on the spinning wheel but breeding is your decision, there are contrary views on breeding ewe lambs, on the plus side you get one more lamb crop but there is some decreased productivity later in life. If I were you I'd hold off for this year so you get to know your flock and sheep better, cause if it doesn't fit its alot easier to get rid of 3 lambs than 5+
 

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I'd shear them if you want to, there's time enough to grow some winter cover. Worming as said, vacinations are similar to goats but you can use an 8 way cattle version to cover more. No added copper in thier feed or mineral, you might need to feed the goats seperately to add a little copper enhanced minral to them in thier grains. Birthing is very similar, so no worries there. You should find a local guild to try several spinning wheels, my wife likes her Ashford travellor, as its a double treaddle and compact, plus she spins the wool more in front than off to a side. Might not suit you at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am glad to hear it won't be much different from our normal routine. I was aware that I would need to keep the minerals separate. That is the issue that led to their needing a new home. My friend has lots of little children and needs to simplify! One mineral for all is much easier for her.

I will be picking up an Ashford Kiwi spinning wheel tomorrow. I ordered a video today. We are so far out in the country that the nearest help is 45 minutes away. Not good for regular lessons. I'll muddle through though.

Thanks for all your help. I'll try to post some pictures when my new girls arrive.
Kim
 

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Hi Kim! We just added sheep this summer too, and we have had goats for a few years. I am finding them pretty similar so far.

And, I also just bought an Ashford Kiwi!! I got the Ashford book, which was helpful, and I read a lot on the Fiber Arts forum here, which is a great help. There have been links in the Fiber forum to some short online spinning videos which are really helpful. Other then that, I've gotten a few lessons from other spinners. If you can find someone to work with just once or twice, it will help you get started on the right foot.

Enjoy your sheep!!
 

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They are home. I can't believe it. They don't seem to have any stress about it. Into the field and they started eating.

Thanks for all your help.
Kim
 
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