Voices From the Farm: Seven Sheep! We Need Another Fence… or Two… or Possibly Three

Spring 1966, we have 7 sheep: Mama and Sure to Go, their 4 lambs, and the old ram, Hercules. We need another fence, or possibly two, built. And thanks to the “fencing fund,” we can do it!

I had done some planning, as usual. If we built a new fence inside the windbreak, and a short fence from the house yard, across the lower end of the orchard, then connected it to the windbreak fence with a gate, we would have the Orchard Pasture completely enclosed. There would be access to the barn at the far south end. Next, if we extended the fence that I built the previous year, to the east end of the windbreak fence, we would have another pasture below the house comparable in size to the Orchard Pasture above the house.

The gate between the pastures would facilitate moving the sheep from one pasture to the other. When one pasture was grazed off, we could move the sheep to the second, and allow the first one to regrow. This rotation could continue all summer. Both pastures would have water available by running a garden hose from the outdoor house spigot to either pasture.

Looking ahead to Fall and breeding time, when, according to our plan, we would be juggling three different breeding groups, I considered that one more pasture would come in very handy! We would keep both Seth and Little Bit as rams, breed Mama’s ewe lamb, Sabrina, to Sure to Go’s ram lamb, Seth, and breed Sure to Go’s ewe lamb, Sheba, to Mamas ram lamb, Little Bit. Mama and Sure to Go would again be bred to the old ram, Hercules. We would keep our productive blood line intact, without too close a relationship, and avoid buying a new ram for one year, at least.

So, we would build one more fence, which would connect to the line fence on the south border of our property, run above the driveway for a distance of about 160′, and connect to the southeast corner of the barn, we would have the south barn yard and a small pasture enclosed.

This pasture would be useful not only at breeding time, but at weaning time, when the lambs are separated from the ewes in midsummer, and again at lambing time in Spring, when the ewes that had lambed and were confined in the lower barn, could be allowed access to the outdoors at times. The ewes still to lamb would be kept confined to the upper main barn until they lambed.

Plans made, I proceeded to find a fencer, and by mid April he had begun fencing as planned. While he was fencing, I was planting my windbreak trees, and the first trees for the young orchard. The latter also had to have a small fence erected around each tree, in order to protect them from the sheep, but this much fencing I could manage by myself. I knew how to drive a post now!

In early May the fence inside the windbreak was done, and the short division fence and gate were in. Our 7 sheep grazed contentedly in their new Orchard Pasture, while down in the lower pasture, the fencer extended my first fence until it joined the lower east end of the windbreak fence, and our second pasture was complete. He then turned his attention to the barnyard pasture, and in a couple days that was completed as well. We were all set.

It was a joy to watch the sheep peacefully grazing, while the 4 lambs raced around, leaped and cavorted until they grew tired and laid down for a nap. I was giving Mama’s male lamb, Little Bit, a bottle three times a day, but left him on pasture with the rest of the flock so he could develop as a normal sheep.

So far, so good! But, with 4 ewes lambing the next Spring, I had better start planning for more fences!

3 thoughts on “Voices From the Farm: Seven Sheep! We Need Another Fence… or Two… or Possibly Three

  1. I would say you are still a strong finisher and a dynamo to keep up with the life you are still living. What a great example for Lisa and others. I can just see you setting up the breeding grid, kind of like tic, tac, toe- who can go to who for breeding. To think you planted all those trees yourself. What a legacy you leave for the future.

  2. You are a dynamo! I could never have kept up with you, so truly enjoy reading about family and life on your farm. Keep writing! Mary

    1. Dynamo? Scary! I was already 38 years old when we bought the farm… 35 when Lisa was born.

      It must have had something to do with being a “slow starter, strong finisher.”

      Thanks for the comment.


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