Kyle Farms All Natural Lamb

  (Avon, New York)
A Day in the Life of an All Natural Lamb
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October Newsletter from Kyle Farms

It’s Officially Fall at Kyle Farms!

This past weekend the Genesee Valley Hunt Club hosted their annual Hunt Races on Nations Rd.  Those who attended may have seen Kyle Farms ewes in a pasture adjacent to the racetracks.  We are very grateful to Megan for painting a sign to go in front of our ewes advertising Kyle Farms All Natural Lamb and our website www.kylefarmsnys.com

Lambing is still on going, and should be winding down as we get closer to November.  The next lambing group will be lambing in January and February, giving us time to transition the lambs out of the lambing/weaning barns and to allow the barns to rest and be completely cleaned between lambing periods.

We are very excited that Matt was invited to speak at the Cornell Sheep and Goat Symposium on October 24th.  He will be speaking on “How We Do Things at Kyle Farms,” giving attendees insight on our management practices and how one can run a profitable sheep farm (often believed to be an oxymoron).  This should be a very interesting talk, and the whole symposium looks to be fun, informative, and interactive.

(http://sheep.cornell.edu

And now for the topic everyone is waiting for: All Natural Lamb pick up date!

All lamb orders will be available for pick up on Saturday, November 14th in the morning (most likely 9-12).  I will be sending out order sheets for how you would like your lamb cut. 

We greatly appreciate your interest and support of Kyle Farms All Natural Lamb, and look forward to meeting all our customers on November 14th

 
 

Sheep Summer in Photos - Summer 09


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It Takes a Community......

The saying goes, "It takes a village...."  And for us I'd change it to, "It takes a community...."  

Black and White Lamb

 

 (To raise adorable lambs like this)

This is going to be a thank you to all those who help us out throughout the year, and also a reminder for everyone else with farms (small or large) that making and keeping good relationships with your neighbors can be of immense importance.  

Its easy to overlook all the outside inputs to Kyle Farms when you're involved in a day to day basis and it becomes commonplace, but when we stop and think about it, there are very few large projects that aren't done with the help of friends and neighbors.  

The entire flock was shorn over the past three weeks, and at one point we had 3 shearing machines running.  The weather however was not as organized as we were.  In order to shear a dry flock in a dry location, a neighbor graciously let us use an empty barn adjacent to the pastures where the unshorn sheep were, saving us from having to haul the sheep to one of our barns or shearing outside in the rain.  In order to run three shearing machines, electricity had to be provided in the form of generators.  Being a relatively low input sheep farm we had no generators, and were able to borrow THREE generators from various local farms to power the shearing machines, wool baler, and various other electric equipment (lights, etc).  Just thinking back on that, I can't imagine how difficult it would have been to haul the ewes, load by load, to the shearing barn, and then back after being shorn to the pasture.  And the amount of fuel used by the generators....much less than the amount used by the farm truck to haul heavy trailer loads of sheep back and forth all weekend. 

To shear the sheep efficiently and quickly requires atleast 2-3 shearers and we are lucky to know many excellent shearers who are willing to come shear for us.  However, when running three shearing machines it triples the amount of work for whoever is assisting.  In our case, ATLEAST 2-3 people are needed to help keep up with the shearers.  Someone to haul sheep to the shearers, someone to sweep up the wool and do some basic skirting, and someone to run the wool baler.  So if one person falls sick, or is unable to work, it can really throw a wrench in things.

This is where the community really steps in.  The Saturday shearing goes great, they shear all day and get a good part of the flock done.  Sunday, a shearer and an assistant are unable to work, and after a few quick calls around, a visiting farmer who shears and some friends of the farm show up to get the shearing done.  

Sure it takes a bit longer, and for a farm with only a few employees to have everyone and their friends shearing or helping shear until 8 at night means everything else falls to the wayside until afterwards, but without those friends and neighbors, we'd have still been shearing Monday.  The same goes for our relationship with local farms.  Without their help we wouldn't have had generators or barn to shear in the most convenient and least stressful spot.

I could go on and on about the multitude of times Kyle Farms Saturday and Sunday projects have benefited from our friends and neighbors  help and availability.  Whether it be while vaccinating and processing lambs, or fixing the water pump for a barn full of pregnant ewes in July (and providing the portable water tank to supply them with water until it could be fixed).  This spring time we would like to thank the community for their help and friendship.

End of long ramble

Summary: Make and keep good relationships with your local farms and neighbors.  You never know when you might need their help or they might need yours. 

 
 

Breeds of Sheep

I'm trying to post an entry every Monday, and unfortunately the past week has been relatively uneventful.  Shearing of the ewes due to lamb in the next couple of weeks happened 2 weeks ago, and the rest of the flock is waiting patiently for the combination of nice weather and available shearers.  The late spring lambing ewes are starting to bag up and look closer to lambing, and everyone is starting to think about field and equipment preparation for planting and haying.  Its currently a waiting game.

 Since waiting games aren't very interesting to write about, or read for that matter, I thought I would introduce the backgrounds of the ewes at Kyle Farms.  

 Brand New Dorset/Finn Quad Lambs - Jan 09

Dorset/Finn cross ewes are the basis of the flock with the ideal being a 3/4 Dorset, 1/4 Finn sheep.  The Dorset base is valued for producing a high quality meat lamb with good bone, muscling and growth rates.  They also are very good mothers and raise their lambs well with little assistance.  Crossing Dorset ewes with Finn sheep increases the number of lambs that a ewe has per lambing as the Finn sheep are renowned for their fertility and often have 4-5 lambs at a time.  Finn sheep are also smaller slighter sheep and this makes the ewes easier to handle and move (pick up) by one person.  

Suffolk rams may on occasion be used on ewes that did not lamb with their lambing group to produce meat lambs and occasionally a ewe lamb out of this cross is kept as a replacement.  Affectionately known as dirty faced ewes, there are a few black faced cross ewes in the flock.  

Our ram flock is made up of purebred Dorset, Finn, and Ile de France rams with some home bred cross rams kept every year to maximize the hybrid vigor provided by our Dorset/Finn crosses.  The Ile de France rams produce a lovely meat lamb with great hind quarter muscling and excellent growth on mother's milk and grass.  

 

Rare breeds at Kyle Farms

Kyle Farms was home for a time to a small flock of Romanov ewes and rams.  Romanov sheep are very fertile and are known for the large numbers of lambs they will have in litters.  Their crosses with traditional white faced sheep are generally very fertile, can lamb throughout the year and raise white, wooled lambs.  Unfortunately they are more susceptible to feet problems than the rest of our flock and require more attention at lambing than we expect to provide our ewes and so have been fazed out of the flock.   

Romanov Cross Ewe on Pasture - Summer 08 

 
 
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