Some of our market Dorset lambs in early summer 2018.
Our flock of Polled Dorsets evolved from a Horned Dorset flock originally started by Violaine’s grandfather, Geoffrey Harris Mitchell in the 1950s. We currently number 60 purebred, unregistered polled Dorset ewes with a goal to increase the flock to 70-80 ewes over the next few years. Our flock lambs in December (suits off-farm work schedule and takes advantage of Dorsets' year round breeding cycle.) We keep 30% of ewes for both sale and breeding in the flock. We put an emphasis on easy lambing so any lambs that cannot be born unassisted are not retained. Our goal is to intervene in less than 5% of all lambings.
We shear twice a year – ~6 weeks before lambing and then again before the summer heat hits. Sadly, wool is no longer considered a premium product and it costs us more to shear and ship the wool for processing than the $ we get in return. This said, shearing is important – it makes for better lambing and keeps ewes cool(er) in the summer. We are always grateful when Pieter de Mooy from @LastSideShearing comes to the farm!
Even in commercial flocks some ewes are favourites. This ewe, #997, spent her early years as a 4H project so is comfortable around people. She is quite opinionated as sheep go and insists on having a massage if a willing person is nearby.
Market and replacement lambs
On the move
We have a commercial holly orchard on the farm and during the summer months we task the sheep to keep the grass down in between the trees. The sheep aren’t always that keen on this task – holly leaves are prickly.