Firefly Fields - Sheep

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Registered Finnsheep


We currently have 11 ewes in our flock. We also have 7 rams, representing five separate genetic lines. All our sheep are purebred, registered Finnsheep who have been selected for health, maternal traits, prolificacy and lovely wool. Not every lamb we produce will be registered and sold as breeding stock. We sell only those which are the same high quality that we would keep and breed ourselves. The cost of a ram or ram lamb is $300 and up. Ewes or ewe lambs are $225 and up. Prices depend on wool quality, genetics and the production history of the parents. The buyer is responsible for the cost of traveling papers which are required by law if transporting sheep out of Wisconsin.

Health status:

Our flock has "Certified" status in the USDA Scrapie Certification Program. Flock # WI 1990. This means that a state veterinarian does an on-site inspection of our farm each year. Because our flock has Certified status (the highest status in the program) other producers in this program can purchase rams and ewes from us without reducing the status of their flock in this program.

We purchased our seed stock from two flocks which had multiple years of negative whole flock tests for both OPP and Johnes Disease. We have never had any sheep in our flock with symptoms of a serious disease (such as Scrapie, OPP, Johnes Disease, CL or footrot). In fall 2005 we tested all sheep in our flock which were 2 years old or older for both OPP and Johnes disease using an ELISA test. All sheep tested negative for both diseases. Unfortunately tests on live animals are not conclusive and no one (if they are honest) can guarantee you that they are completely free of these diseases. We will continue periodic testing in order to maintain a "low risk" flock to offer the best quality sheep/lambs possible to our customers.

Pedigrees of our Sheep

Note: there is also a link to each sheep's pedigree from that animal's individual page.

If you are interested in purchasing breeding stock but not sure how related our sheep are to yours, then you may find our page on Calculating the Coefficient of Inbreeding to be useful. You can use this to figure out how wide your genetics are already and then how related our sheep are to yours.

Ewes

Rams

Fiber Pets

Sometimes we have wethers (neutered males) or ewes, who for some reason should no longer be used for breeding, but are otherwise healthy. These sheep have lovely wool and make excellent "fiber pets" for the handspinner not interested in breeding. Because of our small flock size, these sheep are used to being handled and most are quite tame and friendly. These sheep cost $100.

How many sheep do you need?

Sheep are a flock animal and do not thrive when alone. I recommend that people buying ewes or wethers purchase at least two. Three is better. (This is for their physical and mental health, not because I sell sheep.) Even if a buyer has sheep of a different breed, I suggest buying two Finns because other breeds (such as Shetlands) can be more aloof and while they should coexist OK, they might not wish to "be friends" with the Finns.

If you are buying a starter flock and only plan to have one ram, you need to purchase a wether as a pasture mate. Finn ewes are fertile almost the whole year (less so in the hottest part of summer). Once they are mature, they come into season every 17 days and stay in season for 24 to 48 hours. This continues until they are settled (pregnant). So if your ram lives in the same pasture with your ewes you will have litters of lambs born at unwanted times when you are not prepared to care for them.

Part of a ram's life is to live in a flock that has a "pecking order". If they don't have other sheep to be part of their flock, they will start seeing the shepherd as an equal. Everyone we have talked to that has tried this ends up with a ram that is aggressive to humans. Finns rams are not aggressive by nature. This problem is the result of being made to live in an unnatural way.

Reserving and Buying Sheep

Looking for a starter flock? or several sheep? If we do not have enough registered lambs / sheep available to meet your needs, we will work with another nearby breeder to put together a nice unrelated flock for you.

We have a limited number of sheep for sale each year. Lambs are born in April and ready to go to their new homes in late July or early August. Because we do not have facilities to keep large numbers of ram lambs, we do not keep many extra rams "whole" beyound our reservations or what we plan to keep ourselves.

Check our For Sale page to see what sheep are currently available. We highly recommend reserving your lambs now for spring 2009. Let us know if you are interested in rams/ewes and what color(s) you would like. We ask for a $100 deposit per ewe or ram; $50 deposit for a wether. Deposits are refundable if we don't get what a buyer is looking for. (Unfortunately, we cannot refund deposits just because a buyer changes his mind. At that point we have probably already turned away other buyers.)

Whether your goal is to keep sheep for fiber or to improve the lambing rate and maternal characteristics of your cross-bred commercial flock, Finnsheep have something to offer.

Transporting Sheep

We do not deliver sheep. We just cannot spend enough time away from the farm to do it. Plus, we would have to charge a lot more for sheep and lambs to pay for the cost of gas. Please consider how you plan to get your new sheep or lambs home before reserving / purchasing them. Our lambs are generally ready to go to their new homes in late July or early August. Unfortunately that is the hottest time of the year. Many people compensate for this by picking up their sheep in the early evening and driving the sheep home at night when it is cooler. When transporting sheep during hot weather, plan to put fewer sheep in your trailer to allow for adequate cooling and air flow around the animals.

Otherwise, we can make arrangements to board your lambs for a small fee (to cover grain costs) until the weather gets cooler. If you do not own or have access to a truck and trailer, there are commercial sheep haulers who move sheep for a living. While we have no direct experience with them and make no guarantees, we have heard that Edgar Transport is good.

Traveling Papers

USDA requires a health certificate from a vet for interstate transport of livestock (i.e. taking sheep across state lines). This requires a farm call from my vet plus the cost of the certificate. The certificates are valid for 30 days. So if I have two buyers coming to pick up sheep around the same time, I will combine the two groups of sheep into one vet visit. Then each buyer pays for half of the farm call, plus their own certificate.


Finn Rams

Last update: July 3, 2008

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