April 16, 2021

From the Pastures: Simple is best

I sure enjoyed the warmer weather while it lasted. Another batch of snow is forecasted for the coming week. Good thing about March is that the snow will not last long. My son-in-law in Georgia has his spring planting equipment out and has been cleaning it. He is getting ready to plant his sweet corn in about two weeks. This will be right around Easter.

I evaluated my pregnant ewes this weekend to determine how they are progressing. The Shetlands have about two months before lambing. I do not use ultrasound because I really do not have enough ewes. Evaluating if they have enough condition, body fat, is important to make needed feed adjustments. All the ewes seemed to come through the winter in good condition. I will increase the feed slightly when there is one month left. At this time the ewes will also receive a vaccination booster. I am getting excited to see the colors of the lambs.

The mill continues to be busy, processing a lot of alpaca and wool. I am very grateful for all the interest in the wool from our farm. There are a lot of talented fiber artists that have made amazing things from our natural and dyed wool.

Illinois Lamb & Wool Producers is planning a virtual meeting from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 27. Joshua McCann from the University of Illinois will give a presentation on “Technology to Simplify Record Keeping and Nutrition Tips.” Need a way to simplify record keeping for your flock? He will discuss simple and free tools that anyone can use. The presentation will also touch on several supplementation options when feeding low-quality forages.

The annual meeting is an excellent opportunity to see — even virtually — your fellow shepherds, catch up with those outside your local area, gain practical information and share insights to support your successful lamb and wool production. The event is free. For more information, send an email to Ruthann Redmon at ruthann.redmon.ilwp@gmail.com or Carol Lingley at calingley@gmail.com.

Jane Zeien

Belvidere, Ill.