Meet Our Very First Dairy Sheep, Dorothy!

Well, that didn’t take long, now did it?

The last time (just last week!) we covered our quest to raise our own dairy animals for fresh, raw milk, we had but one dwarf goat — a sweet, shy little thing who really had no chance of providing milk for us as she’s not pregnant, and has no way to become so being the lone goat here at our property. I mentioned that we were considering getting sheep to milk as either an alternative or an addition to dairy goats, if we could find some.

We did!

Through the magic of Craigslist, we came across a nice family on island who breed mixed, but mostly, hair sheep — these are a cross between the more fuzzy, fluffy-with-wool breeds and tropical hair sheep, which are generally neither fuzzy nor fluffy. Their herd had one ewe ready to go that they could tell was pregnant, and that’s what we wanted. One already bred, so that when lambing time came, she’d soon be ready to milk.

We made arrangements to pick her up at a halfway point — the parking lot at Target! The sheep deal went smoothly, and along came this curious little creature onto our homestead:

Um. Shh! I know she’s not very cute. Don’t tell her that!

She kind of looks like a weird, sheep alien from certain angles. And the sweet thing has this poor little crooked tail, bless her heart! Ah, we love her anyways.

She really needs a bath. I’ll have to attempt that this week and then put some nicer pictures of her up on Facebook.

Somehow this funny face called out to me with a name — Dorothy. Yes. Dottie the sheep. She has dots on her belly. Let’s hope she has multiple little Dotettes within that belly. (Sheep often have twins.)

Dorothy and Goatie became friends almost immediately.

Actually, they seem to have made quite the influence on each other already. While Goatie has always been relatively quiet, Dorothy likes to… um… “talk” — all. day. long. So now we hear this little chorus of:

“BAAaaahh”

…”bleeeeat”

“BAAAAAAAAHH”

“BLEeaaaatt!”

“BAAAH–bleaaa–AAAH—eeeaaat—AHHHH.”

All of the time. *Sigh.* Such is the life, eh?

Greeting us bright-and-early with a "baah" from behind the deck. Goatie is not far behind.

And, Goatie has graciously invited Dorothy into her goat-caves, though Dorothy can’t quite fit into some of them.

Goatie pretty much thinks Dorothy's got her back.

 

Dorothy’s belly full of babe(s) is due to meet us sometime within the next few months, hopefully. We’re glad we get the chance to really let her feel comfortable with us before we start squeezing her little sheep teats for our own personal nourishment.

Until then, however, Dorothy is making herself available to the vast buffet of head-high grass which awaits her at every turn. And loving it.

 

Do you have experience with sheep? (We, uh, don’t. Tips for the newbies over here would be appreciated!) Would you consider one to provide dairy for your family? (We’ve never actually had sheep’s milk, either!)


{This post is being shared with Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager as well as with Simple Lives Thursday!}

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16 Responses to Meet Our Very First Dairy Sheep, Dorothy!
  1. Tiffany says:

    I was overly excited when I saw this post! The one about Goatie made me start looking into miniature jersey cows :)I think Dorothy is quite cute, and it’s super adorable that her and Goatie are instant friends. I wish I had some advice for you, but unfortunately I’ve got nothin'; I think you’ll do just fine with your cute little sheep, though!

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Overly excited — lol!! I love it. Thanks, Tiffany! Aah I totally wish I could get a mini Jersey. So cute! It would be like almost 5 grand to get one here though. Yikes!

  2. Jill says:

    Hi Emily,
    Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful article at Fat Tuesday. Your sheep is adorable and I wish you all the best with her!Hope to see you next week!

  3. It had honestly never even occurred to me to use a sheep as a dairy animal. LOL!

    I’ll look forward to hearing about your adventure with her after the little Dottie(s) are born. :)

    • ButterBeliever says:

      LOL! Me neither, until just a couple months ago when our WAPF leader suggested it! I was like…uhh, okay? And here we are! Haha!

  4. Angie D says:

    Alien sheep, ha! Looking forward to reading more about the teat-squeezing as it develops.

  5. [...] Meet Our First Dairy Sheep, Dorothy! by Butter Believer. This author shares in her excitement as she adds a sheep for milk to her [...]

  6. [...] Meet Our First Dairy Sheep, Dorothy! by Butter Believer. This author shares in her excitement as she adds a sheep for milk to her [...]

  7. [...] Meet Our First Dairy Sheep, Dorothy! by Butter Believer. This author shares in her excitement as she adds a sheep for milk to her [...]

  8. Michelle says:

    She is cute, she looks like a Katahdin- they can be very good milkers! She looks pretty lean, are you sure she’s pregnant? It might be good to check her parasite load, to make sure she can gain weight from here on out. I would put her on a high nutrition plane now if you are sure she is bred. She’ll need quite a bit more fat cover to raise good lambs, good milking ewes can lose a LOT of weight during nursing. Good luck, let us know how she turns out!
    Michelle

    • ButterBeliever says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Michelle! How nice to have someone with experience checking in on us! I take it you raise sheep yourself? I’ll have to check out your blog! I also thought she looked a little thin, and we did start feeding her grain right after we bought her. She then started showing signs of nose bots, so since I was pretty sure her lamb was fairly far off, I gave her some Ivermectin which cleared up the bots right away, and within days she seemed healthier overall.

      Well, last week she surprised us with a beautiful, single ram lamb!! We were shocked! Totally thought she wasn’t due that soon. I posted all about it on Facebook, but it was quite the experience for us first-timers! She wasn’t allowing him to nurse at first… scary. Everything is fine now, though. How much grain would you recommend for her now? She’s getting over a pound a day, as I read it should be 1lb per lamb. We also have lots and lots of pasture (cane grass) as you can see! Any more tips you have would be so appreciated! Thank you so much for stopping by! :)

  9. [...] Dorothy the sheep‘s little baby boy surprised us the weekend before last on a quiet Saturday evening, turned not-so-quiet. While relaxing inside the house, Pre-Hubs already drifting off to sleep after a hard day’s work, I heard Dorothy’s cry from outside. She’s normally kind of a noisy little thing, that Dot, but this sounded a bit different. Not a “Feed me!” cry, or a “Hello, what have you got up there?” inquisitive baah from below the deck… no, this was something different. [...]

  10. [...] Thankfully, Pre-Hubs and I are blessed with the land and resources we need to accomplish this. We got our animal, she gave birth, and any day now, we’ll be able to milk her, which we have been anxiously [...]

  11. [...] We bought a sheep in the parking lot of a Target store, thanks to Craigslist. I searched the “Farm & Garden” section to find if there were [...]

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