Patrick Francis email@example.com
Hi and thank you for your great website and articles. I’m really impressed not just with the great website and content, but with your progressive approach to farming.
I’ve never kept sheep before, only a few orphaned goats that I bottle-fed from birth and so are more like members of the family than livestock! But I’m really interested in starting a small flock of just a few ewes for our hobby-farm and all my research has led me to selecting Wiltipolls for this purpose.
We currently live in Switzerland (where every single sheep, goat, cow, etc wears a leather collar with a bell, some bells are close to 100 years old! And all sheep keep their tails). But will be returning to our small acreage property in Benloch (just up the road from you!) near the end of this year, with a plan to get our first ewe lambs from the 2023 lambing season. That gives us a bit of time to set the place up perfectly for the new arrivals and educate ourselves as much as possible on the ins and outs of shepherding.
One of my daughters is remarkably passionate about sheep, and though she’s only young, she will be the one responsible for the day to day care of the flock, with my assistance and supervision. Having bottle-fed orphaned goats, I know how much work it takes, but I’m interested in doing the same with some ewe lambs that are needing bottle-feeding, so they remain as docile and “manageable” as possible for my daughter in her first experience of livestock management.
My daughter and I both really like the sound of how you manage your flocks and land, as it seems entirely in alignment with our own views on animal welfare, biodiversity and sustainability. This brings me to my questions:
1. Even with your ewes’ high health scores at lambing and high Maternal Behaviour Scores, do you ever end up with rejected/orphaned/underweight ewe lambs that need bottle-feeding? If so, would you sell these ewe lambs and for approx how much?
2. I know you do farm visits, which sound great. Given that we are just up the road, or will be by the end of the year, is it possible to visit over a few days for some hands-on “work-experience”, specifically with the sheep flocks? Reading all I can about caring for sheep and actually working with them are two different things, and I’m keen to skill myself up as much as possible for the sake of the sheep!
Thanks for your time.
Hello Sherie, Thank you for the email about your sheep farming intentions. Taking the time to source information about husbandry and shepherding before purchasing is an important investment. Setting up facilities such as at least eight paddocks for rotations and pasture rest, conservation corridors, and sheep yards and facilities for emergency care is also best undertaken before the ewes arrive on farm.
Your question 1: We have very few rejected lambs that require feeding. It can happen but we have developed successful techniques to ensure the lamb remains with its mother rather than us bottle feeding its entire milk requirements for eight weeks. It is interesting that we have found that an odd ewe will reject one of its twin lambs as a routine. Having undercover facilities is important to be able to manage these situations.
Your question two: You would be most welcome to visit during our lambing season (5 weeks over late August/early September) and see for yourselves how we supervise lambing.
Hi Patrick, i run an emu farm up on the Murray at Mulwala. my property is majority sand with a little bit of loam in the lower bits its 30 acers. i have irrigation and I’m wanting to know what to plant and how to manage the grazing of the 5 paddocks that i have. is this something you can give advice on ?
First of all, many thanks for such a great resource, which I also have only just found!
Have just read your review of Charles Massy’s book and was interested in your references to the 2003 editions of the “Australian Farm Journal”. I would be very keen to get hold of those, but using Google haven’t been able to locate them (or even the journal). Would it be possible to point me (and others I am sure) in the right direction? Many thanks.
Thanks for your email. Unfortunately Fairfax Media who owned Australian Farm Journal, removed its web site when the magazine was closed on 31 May 2012. However, I understand that the National Library in Canberra or the Victorian State Library in Melbourne are likely to have copies. As well, the School of Agriculture and Veterinary Science library at University of Melbourne, Parkville, was a subscriber. Australian Farm Journal was published from March 1990 to May 2012. Its predecessor, FARM magazine which I was also editor, was published between October 1980 and February 1990.
I just discovered your website recently and have read nearly every article now. Firstly, congratulations on an outstanding resource. I can’t believe it took me this long to find such a great website! I would very much like to get in contact to ask you some questions about your enterprise and techniques, as I am embarking on substantial expansion at my farm and would dearly like to adhere to your “comfortable” and sustainable style of agricultural enterprise. Much of your approach and passion for the land and livestock aligns with my vision of agriculture. I run Dorpers in South Australia (I know, the enemy)!
Just read your article related to the SSP V Compost trial at Wongawibinda and agree totally. This seems the only result they wanted was to acknowledge that applying SSP for decades is still the right decision.
sadly we still have acid soils with low organic matter even after fertilising for more than 50 years and there was no mention of trace mineral deficiencies in the soil. After doing an number of soil tests in the New England region I am sure Boron, Zinc at least would be limited.
Possibly the other reason for the clover responding would be legumes like Sulphur !!
There many ways to get processing cost back under some control, My website describes a very different way of processing cull cows for export in small rural locations. Kill 80 to 480 a day and build a unit for well under ten million dollars. It has an description of how to send whole sheep and cattle to new emerging markets instead of live exports. The processing plant would be very cheap because there are very few toys in them and no need for a rendering plant. It also has a page about how Aboriginals, they could build their own accommodation and a plant while sufficient cattle were established in the bush country. They could ultimately produce and WW2 type corned beef in tins.
I am eighty, have skinned more than a quarter of a million cattle and similar numbers of sheep. I have worked in the production side of the meat export industry since 1966.
the side has a lot of reading and real drawings of the facilities I would use to change how Livestock Producers get rewarded for their efforts.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.