Animals,  Exciting News,  Family Fun,  Farm Work,  Projects,  Sheep,  Update

Phoenix and Taleggio – the newest animals on the homestead

About six weeks ago, our good friend Kelly was coming over and she said she couldn’t wait to talk to us about some sheep.  Um okay… sheep.  Can’t wait to hear!

Turns out, Kelly’s friend Lea’s friend Becca had two sheep who needed a new home.

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They are three year old East Friesian sheep, and they were supposed to be the wethers (the older male “babysitter sheep” who help keep the other sheep calm) at their old farm but the farmer changed her mind and decided she wanted to use other sheep in that role, so they didn’t have a job anymore.  Becca had bottlefed these boys as babies and had watched them grow up, was very attached to them – she’s their mom, and they are very attached to each other, like brothers.  The farmer said that if she could find them a home, she could take them.

It had to be perfect.   It wasn’t just about being adopted… Becca wanted to be involved in their lives, but she didn’t have space on her property for them – she has beautifully landscaped piece of land, and many of the plants are toxic to animals (rhodedendrons and azaleas).  Sheep need space to graze.  They need special fencing to keep them contained, and safe from predators.  They need a shelter where they can get away from the rain.

We love animals. And we loved the story.  And any friend of Kelly’s is a friend of ours… and any friend of a friend of Kelly’s is a friend of ours! 🙂    We have nearly eight acres… we should be able to find some space.  We started to think and plan and organize.   And we talked to Becca, and by then, I was also in love with the sheep.

When Carson and I started to try to map out where on our property we could have sheep, we hit a wall.

Approximately half of our acreage is woods, forest land.  We hope to make trails through the woods at some point but we aren’t going to clear that land… we like that we have our beautiful forest.

We took up a large part of the grazing space in the cleared area with our alpaca enclosure and having alpacas and sheep together is not advised because they poop differently – alpacas poop in one spot and graze elsewhere, and sheep poop everywhere, and don’t mind eating where poop once was… plus there was the risk of introducing additional (foreign) parasites and bacteria to both animals.  Seemed too risky.

We also run the dogs through the middle part of the yard and we need to have that space clear… and then we have the well and septic system… neither of which is good space for livestock.

My heart sunk… maybe we don’t have the space after all.

I had an idea, though. Our neighbor has about 8 acres of field space and has no animals right now.  (She used to have llamas – and horses even further back, we’ve since learned).  I decided to ask if she’d be willing to lease us about 1/3 of an acre for these sweet boys.  Turned out she was!!!  We wrote up a lease agreement and planned out the best space for them.  We decided to have a little bumpout on our property for their shelter, feeding area and nighttime space, and then we’d let them graze in the pasture during the day.

(So, just in case you’re keeping track of all the people involved in saving these boys – that’s Becca, Kelly’s friend Lea, Kelly, us, and our neighbor!)

We met Becca once we knew what we could offer, and she and I bonded immediately! I’m so happy she’s going to be around.  She knows so much about landscaping and ground maintenance, and is willing to jump right in to do whatever needs to be done.  She’s already been such a great addition to our homestead, and to our lives.  We couldn’t love her more!

And now onto the work!  Carson gathered the materials and started building the most beautiful sheep cottage there ever was!

Here are some pictures of the process!

And here it is… in all its glory… all ready for the boys’ arrival.

Seriously… have you EVER seen anything so cute?!?!

Yesterday was the big day.  Lots of planning went into gathering these boys… lots of people were lined up ready to corral them into an area on the farmer’s farm to get them to the horse trailer.  I wasn’t there when they gathered them from the farm, but rumor has it that one of the helpers (who was a former sheep farmer himself!) had to actually jump on Phoenix because he didn’t think it was a good day for a drive!  That was a bunch of brave souls committed to their friend and these boys!  They got them gathered, and got them to the homestead.  We couldn’t have been more excited that it all went to plan!

Now for the unload!!

And DONE!  They’re here!  And Becca is so happy!  She has her boys!  They don’t understand what just happened to them yet…

But they will!  They will be so happy here!  And we’re so happy to have them join our homestead!

(Shaleigh made the sign you see here… it says “Wecome to your new home!”)

This is Taleggio.

And this is Phoenix.

I love that we can see them from the house… and they can see us! 

Welcome Home Boys! 🙂

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