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Raising sheep can be fun and rewarding. I have found sheep to be very gentle and docile, and great livestock to have around small children. In fact, sheep that are being raised for wool, rather than the freezer, often become beloved family pets. Sheep are multipurpose, too. They can provide not only meat and wool but some breeds can even provide milk, as well. Here are some basic things to consider before adding sheep to your farm or homestead.

The Advantages of Raising Sheep

Sheep have been raised for wool, meat, and milk for centuries, all over the world. They have some clear advantages over some other types of livestock. First, they are fairly small, and they are easier to handle than cows, pigs, and horses. They happily graze on brush and weeds, and they don’t require perfect pasture land. They don’t require a lot of space either; one acre is enough for a small flock of 3 ewes with their lambs. Even better, former sheep pastures are incredibly fertile, so you can incorporate your sheep pasture into your crop rotation plan.

Breeds of Sheep

To select the best breed of sheep for your farm, first, decide what you want to use them for. Will they be strictly for meat and wool, or will you be stepping outside the box and raising them for milk, as well? Sheep don’t generally yield as much milk as goats, but their milk is excellent for making yogurt and cheese. You should also ask around your area to see what breeds of sheep do well in your climate. Here are some of the most common breeds that are raised on small farms.

Dual-Purpose Breeds for Wool and Meat

• Columbia: Large sheep with off-white wool
• Dorset: Medium sized sheep with dense white wool
• Corriedale: Large sheep that produce a lot of meat and wool
• Polypay: Good reproducers of fast-growing lambs

Meat Only Breeds

• Katahdin: A very low maintenance breed
• Hampshire: One of the largest sheep breeds
• Suffolk: The most popular breed in the United States

Dairy Breeds

• Awassi: Gentle sheep with shaggy wool
• East Friesian: Good milk producer
• Lacaune: An excellent breed if you plan to make a lot of cheese

Buying Your Sheep

Sheep are social animals, much the same as goats. Don’t ever try to keep just one sheep by itself or it will be miserable. Three ewes make an ideal small flock.

Once you have decided on the breed you want, you’ll want to consider each individual sheep carefully before purchasing. Look over the entire flock and farm and question the farmer carefully about the history of the animal you are looking at.

When inspecting the animal, look for clear, bright eyes and healthy teeth. Feel for any swelling or lumps on the neck and head; this could be an indication of worm infestation. Check the hooves to see if they’re trimmed properly. Don’t ever buy a sheep that’s limping or has flock mates that are limping because they may have foot rot, which can be contagious.

The sheep shouldn’t be too thin or too fat, and it should have a wide back. A potbelly is another indicator of possible worm infestation. If you are looking at an adult ewe, examine the udder to make sure there are no lumps that could indicate mastitis. If you are new to sheep, consider having your vet look the animal over before making your final purchase.

Feeding Your Sheep

Just like goats, sheep are ruminants. That means they should be eating mostly grass and hay. All they require is decent pasture, a vitamin and mineral supplement made specifically for sheep, and a plain salt block. In the winter when there’s not much grass, give them free access to as much hay as they want and supplement with grain meant for sheep, if it’s needed to keep them at a healthy weight. Never give your sheep a grain or supplement formulated with copper (such as those made for goats). Copper is toxic to your sheep!

Fencing and Shelter for Your Sheep

I like to use portable electric net fencing for sheep so that they can be rotated to fresh pasture as needed. Make sure they have plenty of shade in the summer and somewhere to get out of the rain, wind, and snow. They can be put in a barn or shelter at night and during the winter if you think they need the protection, otherwise they’re okay with a 3-sided portable shed that you can move around with them. The only exception is if you have a ewe that is going to give birth during the winter. A sturdy, warm shelter is necessary to protect the lambs.

Handling Your Sheep

Sheep can easily be trained and treats like peanuts, apples, and grain are great motivators. Their main defense against predators is to bunch up together and run away, so be careful never to make them think you’re chasing them. It’s better to teach them to come to you voluntarily, and if you can get one to go where you want her, the rest will happily follow.

Protecting Your Sheep

Rotating pastures is important for preventing parasites, so it’s good if you can move them every 2-3 weeks. If you do notice signs of worms, talk to your vet about the best treatment.

Sheep are susceptible to predators like coyotes, bobcats, panthers, and wild dogs. Even foxes and large birds of prey have been known to harm sheep. Having guardian animals around your sheep is a good idea, and if predators are a problem in your area, put them somewhere secure at night. Electric fencing is best for protecting them during the day.

Grooming Your Sheep

If you decide on a breed of sheep that has long wool, you will need to shear them at least once a year. As you can imagine, it’s difficult to stay clean with all that wool, so their bottoms should be shaved regularly to help them stay healthy and clean. Their hooves will also need to be trimmed regularly, as well.

There’s nothing cuter than baby lambs playing in a spring pasture! If you have a small farm or homestead, sheep could be an ideal livestock choice for you.

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Is It Still All About the Face Shape? The New Rules on Choosing the Right ‘Do for You

by Gail Kavanagh

An old axiom in hairdressing circles is that you should let your face shape be your guide when it comes to choosing a great hair do. Women have followed this advice for decades, and more recently, it has come into vogue for men as well.

Why is this so? For both genders, a great hairstyle is one you can forget about. It suits you, it moves easily with you, and you don’t have to keep glancing at yourself in any reflective surface to make sure it’s still OK. A great ‘do is like a great outfit: it defines you, it flatters you, it goes anywhere with you, and most importantly, it fits you perfectly. But with wider gender definitions and more freedom to choose how you want to look, some of the old rules are being overturned, while new attitudes take precedence. The face shape is still a good place to start, but no one is limited to a few “correct” styles any more.

Defining your face shape is easy, and you don’t need to mess with tape measures or doing calculations to do so. Just stand facing the bathroom mirror, and using a piece of soap, trace the shape of your face. If you have long hair, tie it back so your face shape is well defined.

There are many gradations suggested for different face shapes, but it is better to keep it simple:

  • If the resulting shape is nearly a circle, almost as wide as it is long, you have a round face;
  • If your round face has a pointy chin, and a is wider at the temples, you have a triangular face;
  • If your jaw is around the same width as your forehead and is blunt shaped, you have a square face;
  • If you have a long square jaw and high forehead, you have a long face.
  • A face that is shaped more like an egg is an oval face, which is regarded as the perfect shape for a women or anyone who identifies as feminine.

For men and those who identify as male, a square or long face is considered more masculine. But such divisions are old fashioned; your face shape is you and you are entitled to make the best of it.

Round face

Traditionally, the object was to make a round face look less round, avoiding big curls or a frizzy ‘do which would only make your face look rounder. That limits your choices, however. If you want big hair, whether you identify as a man or a woman, you can build up the crown to add height. The condition of your hair, and working with what nature gave you, are the most important factors. If you have full or curly hair and you like it that way, wear it with pride.

Triangular face

Having a wide forehead and pointy chin, giving a look that is often described as heart-shaped, was considered desirable in women, since it gave them a childlike look. The pert, gamin faces of movie stars like Audrey Hepburn were regarded as innocent and appealing. Today, this face shape is still considered highly photogenic, but isn’t confined to cute little pixie haircuts and whimsical curls. This face shape can get away with the edgiest looks on the market, for both men and women who don’t want to be children forever.

Square face

A blunt cut that ends at the jaw, paired with square-cut bangs, once the anathema of the square-faced woman, can look amazing and sophisticated, emphasizing a beautifully cut jawline and symmetrical features. It can be hard to carry off successfully, but is well worth it. Those who want a younger, softer look can try the more conventional layers, with ombre shading and other style tricks, For those who identify as masculine, this is considered the ideal face shape, so choose styles that show it off. It is best to keep it short, with height on the crown, making a bold statement.

Long face

If you have a long face and identify as feminine, it is usually best to avoid long straight hair. Layers are the look to go for if you want to soften your jaw and shorten your face. For maximum softness, you need a side-swept ‘do, with highlights and soft, bouncy layers. It’s high maintenance, but you will get the look you want. But if you like your long face, take the bold path, condition your hair to luxuriance, and wear it as you please. For men, it is highly desirable to exaggerate a long face with high hair and a matching beard.

Oval face

Someone with an oval-shaped face can wear just about any ‘do, but sexy short curls and floating layers look wonderful on you. You can be cutting edge too, trying out sharp cuts and geometric layers if curls are not your thing. Be bold and experiment with new looks as they come along, because with your face shape, you can wear anything.

Just remember that no one is confined to “correct” hair styles anymore, so don’t be afraid to experiment. If in doubt, talk to a good stylist about the many great options now available in shaping, coloring and making the most of your hair. If you have a look in mind that doesn’t fit in with conventional wisdom about your face shape, try it anyway and wear it with confidence. With a big smile (and a great hair stylist) you can rock any look and make it your own.

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