Author Archive for: admin

Holiday Season Fast Approaching

12 Nov
November 12, 2012

The Holiday Season is here. Our family really enjoyed Halloween. Two of my favorite quotes from my Daughter: “I’m not cute, I’m scary!” and “We should get paid if we make people pee their pants.” And the sheep enjoyed feasting on leftover pumpkins.

Thanksgiving will be here soon. Nothing against Turkey or ham, but a smoked leg-of-lamb would make a fine thanksgiving feast. That reminds me, I need to pick up my lamb from the locker plant (thank you Odenthal Meats!).

The Shepherd’s Holiday is set for December 1 in Mankato. Register by Nov. 17 to take advantage of the early registration discount. An updated agenda has been posted. It will be updated one final time in the next few weeks. Looking forward to seeing many of our sheep friends in attendance.

Deer hunting is a holiday for many. Sadly, I am not participating this year. I am excited about MN’s wolf hunting season though. Here’s an update on that: As of November 9, over 80 wolves have been harvested during the hunt. The harvest quota for the early season has been set at 200, with an additional 200 for the late hunting and trapping seasons. The season has been closed in the east central zone with 8 wolves harvested, but the northeast and northwest zones are still open. The season ends on November 18 in series 100 deer permit areas, and November 11 in series 200 deer permit areas.

Before you know it, Christmas will be here. I’m looking forward to the family celebrations, and the expectation of the first lambs of 2013 due to arrive on January 1. If Sydell equipment or a pair of wool slippers are on your Christmas list, you can pick them up at the Shepherd’s Holiday Trade show!

Happy Holidays

image courtesy of

2012 Shepherd’s Holiday

28 Oct
October 28, 2012

Plans for the 2012 Shepherd’s Holiday are now being finalized (please go under the “events” tab for a tentative agenda and registration form). If you need a hotel room, the number is on the registration form (call by Nov. 1 and ask for the MN Lamb & Wool block to get the best rate). The agenda is subject to minor changes and when we have all the topics confirmed, it will be updated. It is a packed agenda as we do our best to fit everything into one day. We think you will enjoy the seminars and the social time with fellow sheep producers. There is still time to nominate someone for the Silver Bell Award. MLWPA also needs new leaders to consider running for a spot on the board.

I’m still waiting patiently for the last two ewes to mark, and searching frantically for affordable hay to get me through the winter. The last non-keeper lamb goes to the locker plant on Tuesday, and other than a couple bred ewes yet to be sold this fall, sheep income on our farm will be pretty scare until the winter lambs are weaned next spring. Hoping that 2013 brings higher lamb prices and reduced feed costs.

Breeding Season Challenges

09 Oct
October 9, 2012

First it was hot weather in July and early August that reduced ram fertility. Then a lingering leg injury to our lead stud ram forced 3 of our ram lambs into service in addition to leasing a ram from a friend. Finally, a busted fence resulted in the mixing of two groups of ewes – fortunately I was able to separate the rams before serious injury occurred. It looks like these challenges will result in a very drawn out lambing season for us, with a few early January lambs, a few more late January lambs, a lot of February lambs, and some stragglers coming well into March (as we still have a few unmarked ewes). It shouldn’t take 2+ months to lamb out 40 ewes, but it sure seems like that is what we are in for.

Lessons learned (again):

1) Always have more rams on hand than you think you will need.
2) Pay extra attention to the rams’ hooves prior to breeding season.
3) Taking a ram to a fair in July when the weather is hot is not conducive
to early season fertility.
4) A wire panel secured with twine will not keep 2 mature rams separated
when ewes are in heat.

Hopefully, breeding season has gone (or will go) more smoothly on your farm than it has
on ours.

Happy Shepherding!


Half of Wolf Hunt Permits Still Available

28 Aug
August 28, 2012

by Jon Collins, Minnesota Public Radio

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota hunters have already applied for about half of the permits that are available in the state’s first wolf hunt in decades.

About 3,000 people have already applied to take part in the fall and winter wolf hunts, said DNR Wildlife Research Manager Lou Cornicelli.

Cornicelli expects more applications to come in as the Sept. 6 deadline approaches.

“What we always see is it’s just like registering your car. Nobody does that at the first of the month. We all do that at the end of the month,” Cornicelli said. “We’ll have a big increase in deer license sales and likely in wolf applications as well. That’s just human nature and we see it every year.”

This will be the state’s first wolf hunting season in decades. The species was recently removed from the endangered species list by the federal government.

The DNR plans to sell 6,000 wolf-hunting permits, although the state will limit the amount of wolves killed to 400.

The DNR maintains a page on their website about the wolf hunt.

AgStar’s Purple Ribbon Video Contest

14 Jul
July 14, 2012

Share your story and YOU could win a $500 Scholarship!

Submit a video taking us through the life of a showman by sharing how you get your animal ready for the fair. To enter, submit your story on AgStar’s facebook page, then get friends and family to vote for your video by  “liking” your submission. The contestant from each age group with the most likes by August 20th, will win the $500 Scholarship.  Winners will be announced at the Grand Opening of the Ag Star Arena at the Minnesota State Fair on August 23, 2012.

Three Age Groups:

  • 14-15
  • 16-18
  • 19-21

Videos should be no longer than 2 minutes. Videos must be submitted by August 12, 2012. For more details, please visit