Friday, August 4, 2017

Illinois's First Gotland Sheep

I mentioned a few weeks back that Larry and I were making preparations for the arrival of our small flock of sheep.  Well they're here and all settled in to the Chicken Scratch Poultry farm.  I believe that this small flock of Gotland sheep are the first and only in Illinois.
I  began researching and studying on sheep about 2 years ago.  I knew that I wanted sheep but wasn't sure what breed and for what purpose.   After much reading, researching and contemplating, I continually returned to the Gotland sheep.

Gotland sheep originate from the Island of Gotland on the Baltic Sea just off the coast of Sweden.
Gotland sheep are bright, inquisitive, friendly, calm, hardy, adaptable, relatively small, naturally short tailed and naturally polled.  This is all the reasons I kept returning to this breed.  I needed something manageable in size, calm, friendly and workable.
When they say this breed is adaptable, so far they are proving that.  Our small flock came from Vermont where the climate is much cooler than Southern IL.  Since they have arrived our temps have reached 100 degrees and these poor sheep have about 3 to 4 inches of fabulous fleece. How miserable that must be.  They are adapting to our weather though.
When they arrived I expected them to be skittish or afraid of us.  We really didn't know what to expect because we had never been around sheep. When we would tell people that we're getting sheep, every person we told said, sheep are crazy, or sheep are dump.  Well I must say, if that is their perspective on sheep, they had the wrong breed.
When they arrived, they walked right out of the trailer, checked out their living quarters, got a drink of water, and came over to us and started getting antiquated immediately.  There was no fear, they loved the attention, they absolutely loved our grandkids.  Every time we step into their pasture they come running to us.  So far Larry and I both are very impressed with the Gotland breed.
Gotland sheep are famous for their silky gray curls.  Their colors can range from silver, pewter grey to black.  They're a dual purpose breed, lambs grow out in 5 to 7 months for slaughter.
The lamb to the left is Lindi, I love her sweet silver locks.  Linardt is the little black ram lamb pictured above, he has a lot of new silver locks coming in.  We have 4 in total, Linardt, Lindi, Erika and Kajsa.  They came registered and named :)
This small flock of four sheep came from the Grand View Farm in Vermont.  Head over and check out their farm, better yet plan a fall vacation and stay at their bed and breakfast on the farm.  Kim Goodling has been wonderful to work with as we purchased and shipped our sheep here to Illinois.  She continues to mentor me as we settle into our new roll as shepherds, Larry and I have so much to learn.
So far we have very much enjoyed the sheep, they each have a different personality but are all very sweet and love attention.
I can't wait to make something beautiful with lovely Gotland curls.
Have a Blessed day!