Originally Posted by poundinghooves View Post
Thanks everybody! I appreciate all the great info! As far as I understand from reading the 4H manual, there are "Market" classes and "Breed" classes, so she won't be being judged for meat the way I'm reading it. Very interesting about rooing them. I had never heard of that. So, a couple more questions...
1. Do you shear lambs? I know Shetlands are slower growing, so the first year I have my lamb (like if I get one this spring) will I need to shear (or roo) them or will they not produce enough wool by then?
No. I would assume you would be getting one a few months old so it would be in the summer. You don't need to shear a baby. Shear for the first time as a yearling then again annually. If there is an issue you can shear out of cycle but there isn't really a reason to for the most part. I (my mother) did shear a lamb this year. Our shearer came very late (end of July? don't remember) and it was VERY hot and we have a VERY fluffy lamb (several months old at that point) that he offered to shear and my mother said yes. I probably wouldn't of, but whatever. She is double coated (read-super long fast growing heavy fleece) and a few months later was once again longer than the other, non sheared lambs her age. The lamb fleece is the nicest and therefore the most valuable.
2. Is trimming their hooves a hard thing to do or is it fairly simple?
I find it fairly easy. Sort of like dog nails. You can clearly see where you are supposed to cut. Of course it's better to do little more often if you aren't sure than go crazy and take too much off. Have someone show you and practice a lot, and you'll be good to go. You can buy special trimmers or use pruning shears provided they're sharp enough. I would suggest learning how to sit them down, though if you're getting one or two you could train them to pick up their feet (fronts are easy, backs not so much so I've never bothered).
3. Also, what fencing would be good? The horses have electric fencing that is several inches off the ground and Ashkat mentioned that the babies are rather small. Does electric fencing keep them in? I've heard it will not keep goats in, but I'm not sure if that's true. We do have some leftover horse fencing, we could probably use. Or what about "cattle" fencing?
Depends on the electric. Sheep electric, yes. They do need to be trained to it and I would NOT use it for rams (horns) and personally would not use it unless supervised. Babies (little ones) will go right through it. Pictures of your fencing? I assume most of the fencing you're thinking of would not work. Zoom in on the bottom picture I posted to see what we have. Here's another pic (excuse the crappy pic, look at the fence :P)
It's (completely guessing) about 4 feet high (they jump, don't get a two foot fence!) and metal mesh say 2x4 inch rectangles. Again, guessing at numbers but to give you a general idea. We did use the same fencing for our goats. I would not use any other kind of fencing. Ours are kept in a relatively small area so fencing is important. We do have electric mesh as a portable fence. It works "ok" (if you make sure it's on which is a pain) and I would not consider it as a permanent fence. Definitely not in a small space or with lambs. Our fencing works well for how we use it. We have lambs and adults to keep in, and wild animals to keep out! (Speaking of which, ours are ALWAYS shut in at night due to predators, something to think about relative to your area). Shetlands are smart, independent, and agile, they will do what they want.
4. About how many flakes a day would one eat? Even though we have pasture, it is limited and will mainly be used for the horses so I'd probably feed hay most of the year.
Thanks again for all the helpful information and the pics and websites!
Sounds like we are in the same boat as far as feeding goes. Obv the answer depends (as does the definition of flakes) but on average my adults get 1-2 (probably more like 1-11/2) depending on size. We do grain on occasion as we breed but if you are just having pets they shouldn't need it.