Our current ewe flock has been built through flock records, hard culling and selecting replacements from our original group of ewes back in 2011 and their offspring. In 2020 and 2021 we have added registered ewes from SHU/CAG, LY, BAG, BLZ, and BMS.
Daniel grew up on Backwoods Farm with his father Jeff Ulry raising registered Suffolks and then club lambs as Daniel and his sister aged into 4-H and began showing. Understanding how to raise sheep from working with his dad, and after completing a project in sheep production class at Ohio State, Daniel decided to start with hair sheep (Katahdin and Dorper specifically) for their reputation as being easy to care for. With having off-farm jobs our ewes needed to work for us, not the other way around. Our daily routine does not change much throughout out the year and ewes are only checked twice a day during lambing. We started out lambing twice a year in the winter/spring and on pasture in the fall until 2018 when we switched to lambing just once a year to improve our management of the ewe flock and to focus on switching to registered stock. Our winter/spring lambing ewes drop lambs in our winter dry lot or in the east facing 3 sided barn and then are moved into the old cattle show barn.
Selecting ewes that fit in our style of management has been a priority. We strive to keep ewes that have a strong maternal instinct on a structurally sound, well-muscled frame that maintains her body condition on grass and hay with minimal grain, care and maintenance. We want mature ewes to average weaning twins over any 3 year period with exception of their first lambing at 12-14 month of age. With the increasing issue of internal parasites like the barber pole worm, we have also selected ewes that have a high tolerance to parasites, culling the problem ewes who continually require dosing when doing eye checks or struggle to maintain body condition. More recently we have leaned toward ewe lines that have longevity in our flock. In 2020 we still have 2 ewes from the original group that look and produce as good as they did when they were 4 or 5 years old, and many daughters who are producing with the same wonderful results.
In 2019 we had our first set of half-blood recorded Katahdins out of our Buckeye Acres ram, starting our transition to a registered Katahdin flock. Along with the decision to go registered, Daniel took a new position at work requiring more travel so we sold all of our wooly ewes and cut back to 11 recorded Katahdin and 44 commercial hair ewes that we lambed in winter/spring 2020.