Homesteading Forum banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,251 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
The time has come that we must sell off some of our sheep, there are too many to overwinter, and pasture is getting eaten down too much. Now, I always knew this day would come, and I would have no problem selling to somebody who wants them for fleece or breeding or anything where they will continue to live. But realistically, I know most of them will probably have to go for meat. The only livestock auction near here has just one buyer, which is a slaughterhouse. When I think of these animals we have raised and cared for so carefully ending up there where they will be frightened and probably painfully mishandled before the end comes, it just gives me a sick feeling. Our flock is small enough that we can identify them all as individuals. It specially makes me sad to think of the lambs going, they are still babies. I find myself trying to draw away from doing anything with them, as much as I can, because of what I know is coming. It is on my mind a lot, I even have trouble sleeping from thinking about this. I guess it would help to say also that we never really planned to have sheep, we were horse people, but the tax people forced us to get either sheep, goats or cattle or else lose our farm assessment. I am going to run some ads and try to sell what we can that way. We are not set up to butcher here and don't want to. (We don't even care to eat mutton). I guess I need you to tell me what you tell your kids when they are upset about this. I know its stupid and I just have to toughen up, but it is really bothering me. Thanks.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,540 Posts
One thought, you could/should try to direct market your animals. (You never listed what breed of sheep you have?) But I have been direct selling for years now. By doing that, you get so much more control over the entire process. I know you don't want to see them killed, but let's face it, you live on a farm, most of us do and we all have to "deal with it"

I normally sell one or two litters of Border Collie pups a year. One lady asked me how can you pick one over the other, and how can you let them go? It's easy, I said; My goal is to put out a quality, well bred pup and I'd like to think in some way I am bettering the breed by the selections I make. If you think about it, really the whole of farming is the same process.

...of course it's another story when you have to put that old faithful dog down.
 

·
winding down
Joined
·
3,471 Posts
What kind of sheep are they? If they're wool breeds, first I'd post them on the Barter Board.

Then I'd go to Yahoo, and join every fiber related group that allows sales of fiber livestock, and advertise them on those.

I'd advertise them in your state agricultural paper...most every state has one; check the state ag site.

And of course, the local paper.

I'm sure other folks will have other suggestions.

If they're meat/hair sheep, then it's harder, but you could at least identify the best and try to get them sold as breeding stock.

And after all that, for any sheep that must go the way of the auction, you can tell your kids that you tried.

You don't necessarily have to 'toughen up'. Some people just aren't wired that way. I'm tough, and I do a lot of my own slaughtering and butchering, but still...my breeding stock are pets, and I'd be hard pressed to slaughter one of those. I keep a mental line drawn between those animals who are breeding stock and therefore pets, and those we will eat. In your case, they have all been regarded as pets, and it would be dreadfully difficult for any person with a heart to take a pet and eat it or sell it for eating. However, doing that beats letting them starve due to overcrowding and lack of feed, and that's also a point to explain to the kids.

I wish you luck.

After you've reduced your flock, you might want to reduce or eliminate breeding, depending on what the requirements are for your farm assessment. My dad has one for keeping goats, but that doesn't mean he has to breed them...just keep them. That way you won't have to deal with this again.

Meg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,107 Posts
After you've reduced your flock, you might want to reduce or eliminate breeding,
Yup, yup indeed.

The fact that some will be eaten is the harsh reality of it; but it's a better fate than lingering forever in an animal shelter, don't you think? I mean...it's quick and painless (usually), which is more than I can say for those animals who are loved so much that their owners can't (won't) put them down, or let them starve out back... I never thought I could eat one of our own, and thought my daughter would really balk at the idea. But she loves the taste of lamb and I just make sure I'm not around for the 'deed'.

If you've got wool sheep, you may be able to find someone who's got a spinners flock that may want one or two. You can also try to market them to someone who's in need of a small flock for training herding dogs, depending on what breed you've got.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,251 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
They are a mix of dorset, cheviot, corriedale and shetland, from our original flock. They turn out a nice medium size, but stocky, and a nice medium fleece, though I am not a wool expert. We were only breeding a few each year, to keep within the legal requirements, but last summer there was an unexpected pair of ram lambs. I was laid up the whole summer and fall in the house with a broken knee, DH had to do everything on the farm alone, plus work full time. He was too late in removing the ram lambs from the ewe flock (there was a bad spot in the fence and one of them kept breaking back in), we ended up with over a dozen lambs this year.
There are many colored ones. Most of the lambs were black with some white marks on some, and 2 or 3 chocolate brown ones. I am going to advertise them, see what happens. There are too many older rams though, and most will have to go. Those are the ones that will probably end up at the auction, poor guys. They are very nice tempered animals, have never had a bit of trouble from any of them. They are actually tamer than the ewes. I have intentionally tried NOT to make pets of any of the sheep, but they are nice animals, I just feel badly about what will happen to them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,107 Posts
No need to feel badly...although I suppose that's easier said than done. But your boys will have a swift end rather than a lingering life that is often full of suffering for many sheep (or other animals, for that matter) when they're allowed to live out their natural life.

In the future, perhaps castrating/banding would be in order for your ram lambs?
 

·
winding down
Joined
·
3,471 Posts
Ouch! Sorry about the unplanned extras to deal with. Sorry about your knee, too. I broke mine this month, so am having a good time in my butt-cheek-to-ankle brace. :rolleyes: So much fun.

Best of luck in getting some sold for woolers.

Meg
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top