Tuesday, April 11, 2017

We Bought a Farm: Lamb Update

My husband posted this on Facebook, and I wanted to share here: 
So excited to see that the smallest of our lambs still falls within expected weights of conventionally raised Katahdin lambs... and we are producing a healthier, grass-fed animal with no antibiotics, dewormers, or vaccines... and our small section of Earth is being healed in the process!
Just under a year ago, our ewes had their first lambs on our farm. Today I'm taking the smallest ram lamb to a new butcher to be processed. This Katahdin Hair Sheep lamb weighs 97 lbs. He is 99.9% grass fed on our rotationally-grazed pastures. They get a small bit of fermented grain to help lead them to a new paddock and to keep them friendly. They also have a free-choice, kelp-based mineral supplement.
If the butchering goes well and our tastings pass the test, we will soon be able to start selling USDA-approved, locally-grown, beyond-organic lamb!

He received a question from a fellow doctor about vaccines and our sheep. The question was: "What's the difference between vaccinating kids and vaccinating sheep?"

Besides the fact that a sheep could be a kid ... ha ha ha .... here was JB's answer. Thought I would share it here for any of you who are interested:

Seriously, great question, and there are a number of reasons...

First, the few universally recommended sheep vaccines are for infections which are significantly mitigated with our method of rotational grazing.

Second, we want a very strong flock. If we
 lose a few "weaker" animals, the "strong" survive and pass on those genetic traits of natural resistance and resilience. That's not a management strategy I'll partake with my children. 

Third, eating the meat of an animal that has been vaccinated is almost definitely not an issue, but if the other reasons for avoiding vaccines are sound, then this is another risk avoided (even if it is tiny).

Fourth, and this is much less of a rationale for us, but truthfully, it is a selling point. I've got solid reasons for managing our flock this way, so I have no problems promoting this aspect.

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