Now that this year’s (adorable) lambs are on the ground and doing well, I can focus on other things. Things like– next year’s lambs!
“Geez, ShepherdPerson, don’t you ever take a break? I’m the ruler of the world, and I still take time to nap in the sun!”
“Yeah, take some time to smell the flowers! I don’t like them too much myself, but Mama thinks they’re yummy.”
Ahem. Yes. Moving past those totally relevant and important lamb pictures, I’m considering four options for the procurement of more baby woollies next spring.
1. Duplicate this year’s lamb crop. That would involve wethering Neo, and keeping him, Nova, and Barnabus in the ram pen while Duke is Doing his Duty in the ewe pen. This would be a good option, except that I’m not confident in my ability to keep Duke away from Nova when she goes into heat, and in teenager speak, I don’t “ship” Duke/Nova.
2. Use Neo as flock sire, This would be fairly simple to do, just leave everyone where they are and wait for puberty to hit. The disadvantages would be a bit more inbreeding than I’d like. I don’t ship Neo/Lady or Neo/Nova, either.
3. Buy a Shetland ram. I think this cross would be interesting, and would improve the fleeces in my flock. Shetlands and Soays are fairly similar breeds, so I don’t think the lambs would be too big for my girls. The disadvantage would be that most other Soay breeders get really mad about Soay ewes being crossbred. But since the girls aren’t registered and are thus considered “genetically dead” maybe they wouldn’t send headhunters after me. Maybe.
4. Buy a new, registered Soay ram. I don’t think I’ll actually do this, at least not this year. I still hope to buy some registered ewes someday, and if I’m going to drive 10 hours to buy sheep I’d rather get the new flock all at once.
I discussed all these options with the girls yesterday while sitting in the field eating a banana. They were pretty indifferent considering I was planning their reproductive futures. They mostly just wanted my banana peel.