Sheep are what started our fiber journey. We raise Cheviot Dolls and Icelandic sheep. The two breeds have ENTIRELY different fiber. Cheviot Dolls are a hybrid of Border Cheviots, a short heritage breed, and Babydoll Southdowns, another short heritage breed. We are currently breeding to create a full Cheviot Doll sheep, without needing to keep crossing the Cheviots and Dolls. What we are getting is a short, hardy sheep with a fiber that we are inching closer and closer to that longer Cheviot staple length, but retaining the crimp and bounce of Babydoll. Though we started with all black/brown sheep, an approach many told me I was crazy to do, as you cannot get white sheep from black ones, I knew better. All my sheep had at least one white parent, so the genes were there. And, each year we have gotten at least one white sheep. Slowly, we are breeding them and building a nice mixed flock. We also are finding that the dark fleece sun burns beautifully, and thus takes dye well, so we aren’t left with little color to choose from, but a large range of lovely, durable wool.
We added an Icelandic ewe last year and are just now playing with her fleece. We hope to add another, in the future possibly, or another breed. In the meantime, we have a lot of Cheviot Dolls, and want to change the makeup of the herd a bit, so if you are looking for some to add to your operation or want a nice fiber animal, we have some to sell.
This is The Doctor, named after, well, the Doctor. Our first white ram, he will take over sire-ship for the herd, as Thorn has gotten older and a little, um, fat, so things are a little more difficult for him. TD was a cute baby, don’t you think?
This is Cale, named after the moon of Jupiter. He is a wether and a gentle boy. His mama, Chrysanthemum, didn’t really like the idea of twins, so she kept and cared for Cale’s sister, Callista, and we took Cale inside with us until he was able to hold his own and eat big sheep food.
Jupiter-appropriately named as he was bigger than the other lambs the year he was born, and honestly is the biggest lamb we’ve had born on the farm. He remains larger than the others, and as size is something we breed for-smaller sizes, that is-is also a wether. He was a bit of a bully until he lost his manhood, but now just grows lovely, soft fleece and helps to keep the back pasture trimmed. This photo him even got turned into a blank greeting card. You can see those on our products page and etsy site.
This is Thorn, the only remaining sheep from the original three sheep that started the farm. He is aging beautifully, with grey hairs all over. He has gotten a little heavy in his old age, but we like that in him. He is like a big ol’ gentle giant. He can still sire the herd if need be, but it is a lot of work for him, so he spends most of his time with Cale and Jupiter in the back pasture.
Chiana (Farscape) is our Icelandic sheep we adopted from Hedgeapple Farm. She should not have babies anymore, so she came to live with us and provide us with an entirely different type of wool fleece. She instantly took over as head of the ladies flock, most likely because she is the only sheep with horns (Cheviot Dolls are naturally polled).
The Doctor and his mama, Callisto, whom we call Callie, and Amy Pond is there behind her. We keep our gals separate from our boys until winter, when they are all together to help keep them safe from predators. In the spring, summer, and fall, though, the mamas and babies make a nice flock we keep in the front paddock.