lambfarm at sover.net
Mon Nov 13 09:40:23 EST 2000
HI, I'm trying again to get onto this list. I think I've done it in the past, but blew it somewhere, or maybe I never made it on completely. Nevertheless, here goes:
I am Betty Berlenbach. I live in Vermont with my husband, John, moved here from N.J. almost 5-1/2 years ago, raise Jacobs and shetlands, though I have to say that the jacobs are the breed which comes first in my heart! Currently, because I have been helping a friend disburse a shetland flock, and hence, have had some of her sheep on my land, I have 11 Jacob ewes and 3 rams; 9 shetland ewes and 2 rams, including 4 left unsold of the 15 I had of Pat's, plus a bunch of freezer lambs awaiting the big day, mostly shetland ram lambs who don't make the cut, plus two jacob ram lambs. As I write this, Nestorius, a ram lamb I got this spring at the Jacob AGM is courting one of his "girlfriends" out in the space set aside for him and them. There are two other breed groupings for the jacobs, and two for the shetlands which makes a lot of water hauling and hay pitching each day.
My sheep are brought up on organic grain and hay fertilized with manure only (next year, I think I'll be able to afford organic hay, thanks to commissions from selling off those shetlands) in winter, pasture grass only during pasture growing season, which up here is late May through Oct. This year a friend who logs with horses is coming to clear some more forest land, to increase our pastures. My goal is to have enough paddocks so that I don't have to return them to a paddock any time during a season, to decrease worming to a minimum.
I have not tested for OPP on any but ill aged ewes, who have all turned up negative, with two tests, several months apart where possible. (I have a friend who tests for OPP, is OPP negative; is very proud of that; yet, two years ago, lost 8 lambs out of 12, (all from seemingly different causes, with a few because of births in cold not discovered until too late;but she has no OPP!! I have not lost a lamb in 4 years.) At this point my opinion on OPP is that it is serious, but not worth panicking over. More lambs and sheep are lost to other causes than OPP. I was very grateful for the series of articles on OPP in a jacob newsletter several issues ago, which ran the gamut from "ARGG!!!" to "Eh?". I think I fall somewhere in the middle.
My breeding goal is to provide as many different types of lambs from as many unrelated breeding ewes as I can, and I change rams every two years at least. Hence, I have many repeat customers, since they can get lambs unrelated to the ones they bought from me last year. EAch year, I sell all the lambs (or maybe keep one, if her dam is getting old), and buy the best ewe lamb or yearling ewe I can find of unrelated stock. Hence, none of my ewes look alike, but rather seem to reflect an ever widening variety of jacobs. There will never be a lamb with a "Berlenbach look" because I choose different looks each year and keep the diversity.
Enough! Some of you probably know me already. You're tired of this pitch. Others don't know me yet, but you've probably read enough to satisfy your curiosity about who I am.
I look forward to the exchange of ideas on the list.
More information about the Jacob-list