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Thursday, January 21 2016

For the past week we've been caught in a whirlwind of events.  I've been a performer in a desperate circus of too many things happening at the same time.  You couldn't call me a juggler, because that implies that I could momentarily hold one object while the other was in the air. This week was more like being a plate-spinner, since I had to keep each plate moving in balance or it would crash to the ground.

This weekend was the start of The Big Livestock Show where we were showing dairy goats. The show site is about two hours from our ranch. This meant three days of rising before the sun was up and coming home well after the sun went down. At the same time we had the Fiasco Of Pregnant Ewe Lambs, heavily pregnant cattle, and new calves that need to be protected from coyotes. These cows must be kept close to the house. That means we have to haul feed to them twice a day. It made for long days.

Sometimes it takes a hurricane to make you to sort out your priorities. This was Hurricane Week.  I was forced to look into the future and decide which path I planned to take. The painful decision was made to sell the ewe lambs with full disclosure that they were pregnant. It wasn't my fault, but it was my problem. In addition to that lot we also sold some more adults and my spring crop of lambs. This effectively gutted my meat sheep numbers. I kept an old ewe (Ma), and a daughter of a favorite ewe that I lost this summer (Chuck), and a friend for them (Flower Pot). This was the only sentimental decision I allowed myself.

Raising Dorper sheep is profitable, but trying to raise Dorper sheep at the same time I am also raising Nubian goats and adding fiber sheep was too much. It was time to sit back and decide where I wanted to focus. My goal for the Navajo Churro sheep is to use their wool to weave saddle pads and cinches. While it's tempting to breed them now, I don't have to in order to achieve my goals. Since I'm most interested in spinning the wool, I can just buy a few more nice ewes to round out my fiber flock.

The Nubian goats have secured their spot in the barn. Although they are high-maintenance divas, they are also delightful members of the family, and they give plenty of milk which is used for soap. Profit from soap sales far exceed profit brought in from the sale of Dorper lambs. (and no one dies) It would take a lot more dorper sheep to equal the profit margin of just a few Nubian goats. I weighed all this and decided that instead of starting over again and rebuilding my dorper flock, I would just focus on the Nubians and the Navajo Churro.

The barnyard seems emptier now, but it does give me more breathing room to focus. It's easy to forget that a ranch has to make a profit or it's nothing more than a petting zoo which drains the bank account. Regular goal assessment is a must, and from time to time even though it's an unwelcome visitor, a hurricane has to come through to force you to prune the branches.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 08:14 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
I hope you did well at the livestock show! Love reading your blog, so glad I found t!
Posted by Jenn on 01/22/2016 - 01:34 PM
We just took two junior does to the livestock shows and those are giant classes. Our girls are young and small so we didn't do much but gain experience in the ring. It was still fun though!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 01/28/2016 - 09:48 AM

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