Your Icelandic Sheep: Budgeting
and Building a Flock
Farm sells sheep to first time flocks in pairs (or more) only. Sheep
are flocking animals, and they must have a companion. So for the
same reason we don't sell single rams. There are times when you'll
need to remove your ram from the ewes, and he'll decline, or become
unpleasant, if he doesn't have someone to buddy up with. If you'd
like to invest in a fine ewe, or a proven yearling ram, we have
wethers, neutered males, who are healthy, nice animals, with good
fleeces... but just didn't turn out to be the best of the best.
They make wonderful companion animals, produce nice fleeces, and
are quite affordable. Some of our customers who keep a small "spinning
flock" for their own use have exclusively wethers. They're
only interested in the fleeces, don't want the bother of lambing,
aren't interested in increasing the size of their flock, they like
it as it is... and their wethers are friendly and perfect for them.
We sell our sheep from the following categories:
Ewes: Adult ewes who have been in our breeding program
and lambed more than once are called "proven ewes." Their
price is based on qualities such as their fleeces, and the merits
of the lambs they've already produced, and their age. For a new
shepherd, there is a lot to be said for buying a proven ewe... at
least one of you will have experience with lambs! Proven ewes are
sold during the summer and fall after their lambs are weaned, and
run between $400 and $1000. We can also hold a proven ewe back and
breed her. She is then delivered to your farm in February, and will
lamb a couple of months later. You can choose the sire from the
rams in our own flock, or a selection of AI studs (assuming you're
enrolled in the VSFCP (see article).
Stud and boarding fees are about $250-300 depending on the sire
you choose. Come April, you'll have your proven ewe, and her lamb
or lambs... which is a lovely way to begin your experience with
Ewes: These are ewes we've kept over from the previous
year's crop. A lamb fleece gives you an idea of the adult fleece,
but not until the sheep matures will you have a real picture of
what the fleece and conformation is proving out to be. Yearling
Ewes are our Farm Choice lambs, the basis of our continued breeding
program. But the fact is, we often keep more yearlings than we need,
simply to see how they turn out so we can adjust our breeding program
based on what we've learned. Yearling ewes are often very pricey.
They're ready to be bred the year they're bought, and we kept them
because we wanted a lamb from them, and may have bred the as a lamb.
So you'll see them listed with some hefty prices attached and labeled
Breeder's Choice Sheep. If you're looking for an
ewe to improve your flock, or build a great one, A Breeder's Choice
is the sheep to invest in. If you want us to keep her, and breed
her to a stud of your choice, we'll do the same stud and boarding
fees of a proven ewe, and she'll arrive on your farm in February.
With Breeder's Choice animals you know you're buying the best of
our farm for yours.
Ewe lambs come from this year's flock. In a good breeding
program the lambs are always the best animals on the farm, because
each generation gets a little bit better than the last. Our Prime
AI Ewe Lambs are (by federal law) only available for farms enrolled
in the VSFCP (it is free to enroll, and we'll get you started),
and we only sell them as Registered Icelandics. As with all very
young stock, you're buying potential. The Ewes will have known genetics,
you'll be able to determine conformation, but you won't "know"
what their adult fleece will look like, until they're adults. Ewe
lambs range from around $400 to $1000 for a Breeder's Choice AI
Ewe Lamb. You'll get a lovely lamb fleece from them in the fall,
and they can be bred their first year. It is common practice to
breed lambs, but we recommend you wait until their second year when
they are more mature unless you're an experienced shepherd.
Rams: These are proven stud rams or rams we've kept
back to observe their development. We may ask to keep the ram until
December so we can use him to breed some of our ewes before they
are sent out to cover yours, and we will adjust the price accordingly.
When you buy a yearling ram, just like a yearling or proven ewe,
you're buying a known quality. You'll know what their personalities
are, what the horns look like, and how the fleece has matured. Yearling
Rams, like Yearling Ewes are Breeder's Choice and an effective way
to add outstanding qualities to your exsisting flock, or establish
a new one. We guarantee our Yearling Ram's fertility.
Like ewe lambs, with ram lambs you're buying potential
(and a beautiful lamb fleece!). Rams represent the foundation to
your flock, and we only sell the best lambs as ram lambs, if a ram
doesn't meet our exacting standards he becomes a wether, a neutered/castrated
ram, or companion sheep. A ram lamb will start around $400 and go
to $1500 for a Breeder's Choice Ram Lamb. If you're interested in
a Ram Lamb, you must contact us before October 15th.
Neutered (castrated) ram lambs. These are healthy rams
with nice fleeces, no defects, but rams that didn't meet our exacting
standards for stud rams. Since shepherds need wethers as companion
animals for their breeding rams, and since we do have requests for
wethers from farms that are looking only for fleece sheep... or
friends... we offer wethers. wethers start at $250.
All Frelsi Farm's Icelandic Sheep are registered through
the CLRC (Canadian Livestock Records Corporation), enrolled in VSFCP,
certified OPP test negative in 2002, and foot rot free. With your
sheep, you'll also receive support services. If you have
never kept livestock or sheep before, the Icelandic Sheep is a fantastic
breed because it is so flexible and durable. But you will have questions.
And even if you've bought a book, and read it, we know there is
nothing like being able to call your breeder and say "what
is going on here?"
In addition we provide you with a year's Newsletter
Membership to Icelandic Sheep Breeder's of North America (ISBONA).
You'll also receive a sample of the kelp/mineral supplement we've
been feeding, a complete record of the vaccinations, lambing records
where applicable, ,a packet of useful information, and... our sheep's
milk fudge recipe! The Registration Certificate will arrive in the
mail within a month or so from the CLRC. If you've decided you'd
rather not have your sheep registered, we do a price adjustment
Your Icelandic Sheep are an investment in your farm...
and you. They'll provide you with hours of enjoyment, they'll
clear your hillsides, grow beautiful fleeces, produce healthy bouncy
lambs, give your family milk, meat, wool, even lusterous pelts.
We're here to provide you not only with the best Icelandic Sheep
possible... but the support you need to turn your dream of having
sheep into reality.
How do you build your flock if your farm budget is a little
tight? Time, you'll find, is the friend of a farm on a
shoestring. You'd be amazed what a little time can buy you. Let's
take a look at a sample farm that wants Icelandic Sheep, but needs
time so they can spread the investment out over a period of time.
Building a Flock on a Shoestring
back to the resource pages
this year's Icelandic lambs for sale
rams for sale