Monday, November 8, 2010

Meet a Sheep Farmer: Rick

Gwen Bjarnson, the main character in The Sweater Curse, was born on a sheep farm.

Contrarily, even though I was born, raised and have lived most of my life in rural Canada, I've never lived on a sheep farm.

However, my big brother has. I'm proud to introduce you to Rick.

Rick writes...

I always wanted to be a farmer. While I was going to school, I worked on a farm that had sheep. I found it interesting and thought it would be something I would like to do when I had the chance to farm on my own.

It was close to thirty years before I could fulfill this dream. In 1995 my wife and I purchased 10 ewes.

Over the period of time from then till now, we have had as high as 250 sheep. Currently, we have 80 mature adult sheep and 90 lambs.

My day as a sheep farmer mainly consists of visually checking the flock and making sure their water supply is working. They have salt and mineral, and during the winter they have hay and straw. The busiest but the most fun time of year is Lambing time. It means long hours and little sleep but the miracle of birth and mother hood is amazing to witness. Watching those little lambs running around is neat.

We have to vaccinate and deworm three times a year that takes 8 hours each time it is done. In the fall we weigh the lambs checking to see if they are ready for market. They should weigh between 90 and 100 lbs. With the help of a couple of good border collie dogs to do the round-up, this job takes 6 hours each time.

The most rewarding thing in sheep farming is new live lambs. The most challenging is trying to make money.

But, in closing, I really enjoy doing it and it gives me a chance to enjoy my other passion --stock dogs. You can not sheep farm in my opinion with out border collies and some breed of sheep guardian dogs.

Thank you so much, Rick.
I've added some sites to elaborate on Rick's comments about guardian and stock dogs. As a little sister who is proud of her big brother, I must add that Rick raises and trains stock dogs. His dogs have won awards for their skill.

Guardian dog
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoSoOAMCmdw&feature=related

Stock Dog
http://www.squidoo.com/working-border-collies
Please, scroll down for the videos.

Tomorrow: I share one of my short stories

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