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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Our Home and our Farm

We are situated on the banks of the Little Smoky river. We have 160 acres of land with 80 acres in cultivation and the rest in bush and some muskeg.

View from the back of our farm
Our future building site
Currently we run around 100 head of ewes, 5 mature rams plus a few ram lambs that are for sale. Most of our ewes are Mules (Bluefaced Leicester crosses.) Our primary market is commercial lamb. These being the progeny of our mule ewes crossed with a Charolais ram.

Our flock management is based on the UK three tiered system. (Or at least as close as we can come to it in this country) This is a system where hill type ewes such as the North Country Cheviot or Scottish Blackface are crossed with a Bluefaced Leicester ram. This produces a hybrid that is said to be more than the sum of it's parts. It has the easy keeping, hardy and great mothering traits of it's dam, coupled with the prolificacy, milkiness and carcass qualities of the BFL. These mule ewes are then crossed with a terminal sire and in our case, it's high index Charolais rams. This produces a fast growing, great market lamb.
Our replacement Mule ewe lambs

Our sheep business began with a focus on fibre and the BFL has probably the best handspinner fleece available on the market. Their wonderful fleece characteristics are passed on to their offspring. That makes up the other side of our farming operation.  We also market fleeces to handspinners and with the recent purchase of a Pat Green cottage industry carding mill, we are now processing our fleeces into batts for quilting, felting and other end uses.

We are in the process, and have been since last fall of importing semen from the UK in order to improve the Canadian BFL. The picture at the top of the page is one of the rams that has been collected and is awaiting import to Canada (Grugeor B1 owned by Maldwyn Davies from Wales). Insemination should begin next fall ( 2011.) We have also collected from a coloured ram in order to build up our coloured BFL flock. Our emphasis however is on Mule production and for that reason we will be importing two other white, high index BFL rams. I will post pictures when I know what rams we are able to obtain.