June 20, 2024

From the Pastures: Spreading the word

Happy National Lamb Month. February has been designated as a time to celebrate all things sheep related. I am not sure why February was chosen. Maybe it is an encouragement to all the shepherds spending long nights in the barn with lambing.

The American Lamb Board offers many ways to celebrate and offers recipes and educational information. Most of the promotional items are free so producers can take advantage of spreading the word about the benefits of lamb.

ASI also has materials to help promote wool. February is still a good time to wear wool. My daughter is an agricultural education teacher. Her FFA group made easy “Ag in a Bag” kits for elementary school students to learn a little about wool. She had wool facts and an activity for them to make sheep wrapped in wool yarn. This was a great activity because both the elementary students as well as the FFA members learned more about wool.

My sheep are not bothered by the groundhog’s prediction of more winter, except that I do think they are anxious to get out in the pasture. For now, the hay will have to do. Seems like I am doing a good job keeping the hay out of their wool. This is always hard to do. Certainly, makes processing easier with less hay.

We have some customers who use shavings. This is not a good idea when you want to use the wool for yarn. The lanolin in the wool really makes the shaving pieces stick to the wool. Even with the washing step, we cannot get it out. If using shavings, consider putting coats on your sheep. This will keep most of the vegetable matter out of the wool.

Jane Zeien

Jane Zeien

Belvidere, Ill.