Sheep arrived back at Ironwood Farm last week after a ten year absence. Five Dorset x Suffolk ewe lambs were acquired from Margaret Zillig, one of the province’s best known Dorset breeders. The lambs are heavy, being born as singles in January. They will be ready for breeding this coming autumn. Adult accompaniment is being provided by Mutton and Stomper, two mature, non-descript ewes. They are to provide a leadership role on pasture, an outcome in some doubt because the pair of them have bullied and butted their young charges into a trembling minority at the rear of the sheepfold.
In 2000, I helped Stanton Sanford, the former, 86 year-old owner, of what was then Avonmouth Farm, load the last of his sheep on a cattle trailer. At one time, the farm boasted 250 ewes and consisted of 800 owned and leased acres along the Hants Shore. My goal is for the sheep to complement the cattle’s grazing habits and make better use of Ironwood’s abundant grassland. Cashing in on the high demand for lamb is also part of the farm’s evolving business plan. Reality, of course, is that the profit margin on lamb sales will be marginal at best, and Heather’s interest in wool fibre may well prove equally rewarding. RJ