Last fall we bought two Icelandic Ewes. My husband and I decided to get registered animals because then we could sell the babies as registered animals as well. We thought of it as a little investment. We bought Icelandic sheep because they have a wonderful mild flavored meat and gorgeous wool for hand-spinning into yarn. They are also a primitive sheep and have a relatively easy time lambing and can be raised solely on grass.
We brought home Nidi and Nori in the middle of September 2013. Nidi is on the right and Nori is on the left.
This year I convinced my husband that we needed a ram. That way they could all live as a happy family unit and we could just show up to harvest the wool and the meat and maybe the odd animal to sell.
In the middle of our process of choosing a ram, I did some research on confirmation. I wanted to know how to pick out the best ram. Confirmation just means you asses how the animal is put together. Does it have a short neck? Narrow rear?
Meat animals need to be meaty. They need to have nice round rumps, long bodies and wide shoulders. While this makes perfect sense, I am embarrassed to admit that I did not even think of this until I realized we would have to pick a decent animal that would the be the father of all the lambs we raised. They say a ram is half your flock, after all.
I found an excellent article that really helped to show exactly what we should be looking for. You can find it at: http://www.northern-maine-icelandic-sheep.com/compare1.html. After reading it, I ran out and took pictures of our sheep to see how they compared.
Here’s Nidi now.
I think she’s pretty great. She’s got good size and a nice round rump.
She’s a little tank and she’s got a nice wide chest.
I then went and reviewed all the photos of the different rams we had to pick from. Here is the one we chose. This is the photo from when he was a yearling.
He has a great build and a nice long body.
We drove down south of Olympia, WA to pick him up last weekend. Here he is now as a two-year old. We named him Horik.
I know I am excited about my new little starter flock but it really is important to buy well-bred animals. If you don’t, you’ll be spending time and money and exerting energy for them and they won’t be producing as much meat for you as they should. Also, the taste and tenderness might not be there, either.
I love to save money. I mean, REALLY love it. I am always looking for bargains. However, I am so glad we started out with two really decent ewes. We didn’t really research why but now I feel embarrassed at how important it is to meat production.
And, just because I cannot resist, here’s one more parting shot our pretty little lawnmowers.
And, maybe just a couple more of Horik. He’s just so stunning.