The Michael Family Farm is home to rare Leicester Longwool sheep, which are the sheep preserved at Colonial Williamsburg for their historical significance. We will be one of the few farms in North America with pure-bred Leicesters, registered with the Leicester Longwool Sheepbreeder Association (LLSBA). There are less than 200 registered Leicesters born in North America each year and the breed is listed as one in critical need of preservation in the U.S. They were famously brought to America by George Washington to improve the quality of wool produced in the new world.
Leicesters provide an average of 12 lbs. of wool per year, which is enough to make 5-6 adult sweaters. They give one lamb per year and are dual purpose sheep–good for wool and meat. More importantly, they are beautiful. We look forward to demonstrating the shearing, spinning and weaving/knitted processes here on the MFF website in the future.
- St. Joseph to St. Francis (May 1 to Oct 4): good pasture
- St. Francis to St. Joseph (Oct 4 to May 1): alfalfa mix hay
- No grain until 1 month before lambing, then 1/2 lb. (12% CP grain) per day per ewe, unless body condition requires supplement.
- Nursing ewes up to 1 lb. per day per ewe.
- Growing babies given grain
- Sheep salt/mineral block (not optional).
- Fresh, clean water at all times.
II. BREEDING & LAMBING
- Sheep breeding begins on St. Teresa’s day (Oct. 15) with a lambing goal being the Annunciation (March 25).
- Castrate ram lambs 1 week after birth (banding).
- Dock tails 1 week after birth (banding).
III. VACCINES & WORMING
- CDT booster shot one month before lambing–St. Serenus’ day (Feb. 25).
- Deworming one month before lambing, on St. Serenus’ day. Give Cydectin (1ml/11lbs. bodyweight).
- 6 week old lambs get Cydectin & CDT shot.
- 10 week old lambs get second CDT shot.
- Every 2 weeks, check eyes for paleness. If pale, treat with Valbazen for worms (or Cydectin if pregnant).
- Dipping 5-6 days after shearing.
IV. HOUSING & EQUIPMENT
- South-facing, 3-sided shed to provide escape from cold, wet weather.
- Two pastures (1 acre for every 4 sheep) needed to allow rotation of pasture.
- Hay rack.
- Hoof trimmer
- Electric shearer
- 4′ high-tensile woven wire fence (sheep/goat) with barbed wire at top and rubbing level.
- Shearing annually on St. Serenus’ day (Feb. 25)
- Hooves cut on St. Serenus’ day (Feb. 25) and St. Rose’s days (Aug. 30).