Painting by Mackenzie Thorpe (England)

 

Shepherds Course 101

 

NOTE: We start lambing on February 11th, 2017

If you would like to experience a 'hands on experience', book now.

 

Come and stay at the 'Shepherds Cottage' for two days.

This is a fully furnished accommodation with 3 bedrooms and all the amenities.

Attached is our office and seminar room stuffed with sheep info, magazines, fact sheets and books,

posters and videos on sheep production.

We will spend a few hours one day (dependent on weather) touring barns seeing how sheep can be housed and fed.

We will go over sheep handling facilities and options for beginners and how the large-flock operators are set up.

Other topics could be, depending on your interests.......hay making equipment, electric fencing

pasture rotation and strip grazing etc. We will actually go 'out-and-about' to view.

 

A few hours on the second day could cover indoor topics about different sheep breeds, nutrition,

breeding and a visit to our barn office to talk about tools and procedures, tagging, docking etc.

 

Drop us a line if this is of interest to you.

 

We had a fantastic time in your peaceful oasis and we loved the sheep!. You have a great spot for retreats and for all types of fibre lovers.Thank you so much for the time to teach us about being a shepherd answering our questions

and your warm hospitality. We will definitely be back for our own retreats and will tell our friends.

Christina and Carla, (Toronto) September 2014

 

Thanks so much for your hospitality. Our stay was fantastic. We loved the accommodation.

Thanks for taking the time to go over "sheep stuff" with a young couple starting fresh.

It was a great 'working holiday'

Taylor and Ashley, (Thorndale) ....June 2014

 

The office/sheep resources room

 

 

Barn office

 

 

Barn office and warm room

 

 

Our credentials:

 

Full time shepherds for the past 36 years. Since 1979. Keith's father was born on a farm at Ancaster, Ontario after his father emigrated from Scotland during the depression.

Mary's parents were born in the mountains of Sicily into a subsistence life of agriculture and

emigrated to the new world for greater opportunities. Mary's father actually tended sheep on the mountain sides in his youth around the village of 'Vita' in the 20s.

 

We have run up to 500 ewes accelerated in the 90s when we reached a Cornell five star program.

Over the years we concentrated on Dorsets for their out-of-season breeding ability but also crossed

with Romanovs, Rambouillet and Finns to create F1s. (Mostly sold into Quebec in the 90s).

 

Showed sheep for the first few years culminating in the Royal Winter Fair untill we closed our flock.

We became skilled at 'fitting sheep for show'.

 

In 1995 we imported Suffolk embryos from Scotland to re-establish British bloodlines.

The Suffolk being a supreme terminal sire

We have been importing Semen and using Artificial Insemination for the last few decades to

introduce new genetics for both Suffolk and Dorset lines. All done on the farm.

 

Since the start we have participated with the University of Guelph Veterinary Department in projects

involving, real-time ultrasound pregnancy testing, out of season breeding techniques with Melatonoin implants, light control for seasonality, seasonality and testicular development, cylamidia

studies and many more.

For the past ten years or so we have been a host for Final Year DVM Students-Small ruminant health management rotation.

 

Keith has been:

A past director on both the Suffolk and Dorset Clubs.

A past director/secretary for the District 5 association of OSMA.

An OMAFRA certified/accredited:

Live lamb grader, Pregnancy tester (Doppler) and ROP official weigh -person.

Was appointed to the Red Meat Plan Committee in 1996 by the Minister of Agriculture at the time.

 

Keith and Mary are conversant in the milking of sheep with a small milk line.

We have been to cheese school and can demonstrate the equipment and skills required.

 

We have marketed our freezer lamb direct to consumers for many years. The past few years we have had a dedicated store. We can address the issues of marketing direct to the public and the need for advertising and promotion.

 

Keith is a graduate of Sheridans 'School of Visual Arts', in design ( 1977).

I would be pleased to go over any issues relating to allocating existing barn space and paddocks

to housing and feeding sheep.

 

We are also conversant in the issues involving fresh water management and fencing issues.

Composting and dead stock. Electric fencing, rotational grazing and strip grazing and predator control. And guardian animals after utilizing Great pyres and Llamas for many years.

Our facilities have dedicated work areas for chutes, shearing, lambing, and a barn office.

We have become skilled in many procedures necessary at lambing and emergencies with stock.