Sheep story for Sarah

youreitDecember 16, 2006

Well, others can read this, too. :D But I thought of Sheep Co. when I saw this. Way to go, Pepper! :)


Dixon Family's Sheep Gets Reprieve

Pepper is probably the most talked about sheep in Solano County, and for now, she doesn't have to move.

The Dixon City Council gave Pepper's owners, the Angelman family, six months to relocate their pet sheep to another part of their backyard and reduce odors coming from her pen.

"Pepper lives! It's such a relief. We didn't know what we would do if we were forced to relocate her," said Natalie Angelman. "She's a part of the family."

Pepper has lived in the Angelman's backyard since she was born five years ago, but last summer, some neighbors complained about livestock smells coming from the Angelman's backyard.

One neighbor complained to the city a sheep didn't belong in a residential neighborhood within city limits.

In October, the Angelman family applied for a permit to keep Pepper, which the Dixon Planning Commission denied.

Tuesday night, City Council members overturned that decision, with the condition the family make changes to Pepper's backyard pen.

The city will revisit the matter in six months to see how things are going with Pepper and could issue another decision then.

But for now, a woolly situation has been averted for Pepper and her happy owners.

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sheepco(MN z4)

Good news for Pepper! Hope it stays that way.
I know one family that has 2 pet sheep. They graze loose in the yard, walk down the lane to get the mail with the owner every afternoon, etc. Of course, this family lives in the country, but how much could 1 sheep smell for pete's sake?
Their only problem is the sheep eat most of the flowers she plants by the house, and they like to nibble on the cords to various holiday lawn decorations!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 11:23AM
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Oh, my goodness! That would be SO hilarious (and fun!), collecting the mail with pet sheep. I've heard that they're not particular about what they put in their stomachs, too (kinda like goats...). LOL

I can't imagine Pepper being tho tho thtinky. And look at that face. :)


    Bookmark   December 17, 2006 at 9:53AM
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semper_fi(Z7 GA)

FWIW, just in case Pepper does end up having to be moved, I do moonlight as a relocation specialist... sheep seem to enjoy it too...

    Bookmark   December 17, 2006 at 10:44AM
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LOL!!! I can just see the special news report showing the "chase" on I-80. "It appears the passenger is a blonde female..."


    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 9:59AM
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It looks like Pepper (along with many of her friends) might have another use, besides being cute. :)


Homeowners Use Wool to Insulate New Home

Commonly used to make warm blankets, coats, and sweaters, wool is now being used to warm a Yolo County home.

David Rawlins spent 25 years working in the high pressure pool building industry. When he retired, he wanted a quiet, simple life. So he and his wife Anne bought some land in the town of Rumsey in Yolo County's Capay Valley.

They began raising sheep and building their dream home. They never would have imagined that their sheep would in fact help them build their home.

While their four legged friends are not doing any heavy lifting, they are playing a vital role in the construction of the 2,750 square-foot home.

"We wanted to build a house with natural products," said Anne Rawlins. So along with slate roof tiles, hard wood floors and a fireplace made with boulders from nearby Cache Creek, the Rawlins' dream home is insulated with sheep's wool.

"We know the value of wool on the sheep, and everybody's been wearing wool forever," said David Rawlins. "So why not put it in the walls."

The Rawlins spent more than a year researching wool as an insulating material. They found that it has been used in homes in Europe for centuries.
"It's very fireproof, and it's a great insulator," said David Rawlins.

Another benefit, the Rawlins had 3,000 pounds of wool sitting on their property.

The Rawlins use a tomato harvest bin to wash 200 pounds of wool at a time. They then dry it, fluff it out, and stuff it between the wall studs.

But the family hit a snag when the building inspector showed up. "It looks nice, he said, but he said I can't sign it off, it's not a product I can say is an approved product," said Rawlins.

Rawlins decided to appeal to the Yolo County board of supervisors. Rawlins says ultimately, county officials told him that he could keep the wool insulation, but that if he ever sells the house, he must disclose to potential buyers the fact that wool has been used to insulate the home.

In the meantime, the State is currently testing wool to see if it should be approved as an acceptable insulation product.

Rawlins estimates using wool to insulate a home his size would cost about $2,000 more than using fiberglass insulation.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2006 at 8:15AM
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sheepco(MN z4)

Unfortunatly the wool market ain't what it used to be for us wee producers, So kudos! for those finding alternatives! The U of MN here in Morris developed a gardening 'mat' especially useful for strawberry growers made from wool - basically mulch that would last for several years. But the wool felt mat manufacturer is in Texas. Research is good, just a long time a comin'.

One year I gave all my wool to a bee keeper to insulate his hives.

My shearer (bless his heart) agrees to work on Saturdays for me. So I try to get one of my other neighboring small flocks to do it the same day. He normally charges $1.00 - $2.00 per head for BIG flocks, with a flat rate of $60 for less sheep. And he works hard for every penny, frankly I'd pay him more. It takes just as long to set up his expensive machines for 2 sheep as 200 sheep. It's back breaking work, and he is incredibly gentle. We shear 3-4 weeks before lambing so he's dealing with heavily pregnant ewes and I've never lost a lamb. (Can you tell I like him?)

And even though wool is worth only 10 cents a pound ('05), and we shear roughly 120 to 150# off 15 sheep - thats $15 for my wool. But it's got to be done, part of the job. So I can understand the extra cost of wool insulation, and hopefully others can understand the cost of a wool sweater. You can't have "natural" or "organic" (and those are 2 different things) without the extra cost that smaller producers are willing to put out.

Sorry, got off subject, I have my little flock for the fun of it, not to make money (cheaper than a dope addiction!). They give me lots of smiles and keep the grove mowed!

BUT, I appreciate the warm fuzzies about SHEEP!


    Bookmark   December 24, 2006 at 12:30AM
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You weren't off subject at all, Sarah, and I love hearing about the day-to-day "business" of raising sheep! I just had no idea of all of the factors involved in producing a healthy crop of cuddlies. :)

As I get older, I realize how important it is to find ways of (re)turning to nature for things that we otherwise might not consider in this modern world. In most cases, it can start out expensive, but once the popularity of any given natural or organic method grows, the price drops some for the rest of us to follow, i.e., solar power here in CA. I would love to be able to utilize our many sunny months here, but for now, it's just not cost effective for the common household...well, ours in particular. :D I have a feeling that it will be soon, though.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!


    Bookmark   December 24, 2006 at 8:05AM
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sheepco(MN z4)

Thank you, and Happy New Year to all from the Woolies!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 11:04PM
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I LOVE it!! LOL The 2nd one from the right...he/she is smiling at me. I want to cuddle! :D


    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 11:16AM
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sheepco(MN z4)

That would be Emily, and that's called a smirk, not a smile. She is far above mere humans in the scheme of life, and knows more ways to avoid being caught for the bi-annual pedicure than is good for her. When I shake a pail of corn everybody else runs into the barn - she stands out in the middle of the pasture looking like "Who me? I'm not falling for that old trick!" (Smirk, smirk).

She's 12 now, and before she retired 2 years ago, raised 22 lambs for me. The 3rd one from the left is her 3 year old daughter Little Em.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 6:45PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

Ahh, look at those cuties! I can see why you raise them! Just curious, how many acres does a sheep need? Can you keep just one? A pair? Ohh, but then I would need a barn ....

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 7:03PM
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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

22 lambs in less than 10 years!! I hope they were not all hers! Please, explain! I know nothing about sheep but it does seem excessive. Sandy

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 7:07PM
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That is the cutest description I've ever heard! I'll take a smirk from Emily any day. :) I can't believe how much little Em looks like her mom!

They're like pug dogs in that, to the "untrained" eye, they all seem to look alike...unless you're around them every day and know what to look for. :D


    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 10:17AM
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sheepco(MN z4)

Sandy, it's normal, even expected that ewes have twins or triplets every spring. Some breeds will even breed 'out of season' meaning they can be bred in late spring to lamb in the fall (normally they are bred in the fall to lamb in early to late spring). Ideally you could have a ewe lamb twice in 3 years then - higher production. It's not very reliable, sheep are pretty seasonal breeders.

My ram is turned in with his girls October 15th, so the lambs will start to come about mid-March. I prefer not to be climbing over snowbanks to get to the barn during lambing. Plus, the lambs are really starting to eat more and nurse less when the lush grass of spring is coming on strong in May and into the summer. I prefer to leave the lambs with the ewes 'til mid summer - the ewes produce lots of milk while on good pasture, and the lambs can graze too. Once the grass slows down mid summer the lambs get weaned to their own paddock and are fed alfalfa hay and shelled corn, and the ewes don't require as much grass since they're not nursing lambs.

Jean, I have about 3.5 acres of pasture, fenced off into 5 small paddocks so they can be rotationally grazed. I usually have about 10 ewes, 7 or 8 would be better. I feed hay from October through late April. Last summer we had almost no rain and I started feeding hay in Late August. Huge diffence when hay is 2.75 or more a bale - I normally go through about 500/year.

As for a barn, my sheep are free to go in and out at will, and only go in during a blizzard. They prefer to sleep outside snug in their 4" of wool insulation. I do use the barn if it's cold during lambing time.

Initially I only had 2 sheep, but they couldn't keep up with the grass, and you've still got to feed them in the winter. The other problem with only having 1 or 3 is they still need to be sheared once a year - though you could learn how to hand shear yourself :) So I figured as long as I was doing chores anyway, I might as well get the grass mowed!


    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 11:03PM
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jeanner(SW Ohio - Z6)

I tell ya, I would really consider having sheep but I don't think it would work with our lifestyles - we're used to taking off on the motorcycle without much thought to anything but the cats. But of all the "barnyard" animals I think sheep would be my first choice. And not having to mow the freakin hill would be a blessing!

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 11:40PM
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