When David and Brenda decided to locate their home in a country setting, they saw the primary goal of their small farm to be raising children. Raising sheep was a means to that end but not an end in itself. Raising sheep and participating in sheep shows and activities taught our children responsibility and the value of hard work. We are excited that our children will continue that practice as they raise our grandchildren.
Although the children are now adults, raising sheep remains an activity that our family shares and enjoys. We gather several times a year for "sheep weekends" to trim hooves, worm and weigh lambs. This year Nathaniel has added a barn at his place to house the 4-H project and take more of the work on his family.
The sheep fit well into our land in Noblesville. They clean up our pastures and utilize the hay that we harvest. They provide a good break from our otherwise hectic lives. As David says, no matter what the day otherwise brings, the sheep are always glad to see me.
We strive to produce sheep that are productive and well balanced. We choose to keep those ewes that give birth unassisted and raise lambs without our intervention. We want good sheep with good fleeces but do not try for extremes in either size or any other characteristic. We expect our sheep to thrive primarily on grass, although we do supplement during late gestation and lactation.
Except for those lambs that may grow into replacements, we market our lambs at weaning time. We find that this practice produces the best returns on our efforts. Almost all of our wool is donated to Conner Prairie, the nationally-acclaimed history park located in nearby Fishers, Indiana where it is used in a youth spinning program.
We also believe that raising sheep requires participation in local, state and national sheep affairs. In that regard, David has been president of his county's sheep producers, superintendent of the county 4-H show, a director of the Indiana Sheep Association for over ten years, and president and treasurer of the Indiana Sheep Association. He also served on the board of directors of the national Romney breeders association.
Brenda served as treasurer of the county association and, aided by all of her family, headed up the lamb barbecue at the county fair. She was also the facilitator of a youth spinning group in our county that was the predecessor to the current youth spinning program at Conner Prairie. Anna was the first president of the Indiana Junior Sheep Association.
We have been a member of the National Lincoln Sheep Breeders Association since we purchased our first Lincoln in 2012.