Nova Scotia lamb meat nurtured naturally, with care...from conception to completion.
Louie, the energetic lead.
Louie (top in photo), born May 2017 in Lunenburg Co, NS, belongs to the Shepherd's daughter, Amy. He asked if he can learn sheep herding too so he is on sabbatical from his city life to help on the farm. He is VERY enthusiastic about sheep work and is always up for a bit of play when the work is finished. Energy is Louis's middle name. Louis is currently on a long-term stay at the farm as he is proving to be an amazing, dependable help with the flock.
Krista or "Boss" to the rest of the team, shepherds the front of the flock during gathers in the Wiles Lake summer pasture and is often found on her knees encouraging ewes during lambing season in Petite Riviere.
Gwen, Substitute Herder
Gwen, born Feb 14, 2015 in Lunenburg Co, NS has moved from "trainee" to become the "go to" herder in 2017. Then, in spring 2018 she decided that a quieter life in the city with the Shepherd's daughter suits her best. Ever serious about her work, she still remains a quiet soul, asking the sheep "I think the Boss wants you to go over there, please could you move over there like good sheep?" . Gwen still enjoys "subbing in" for a bit of sheep herding when she comes for a weekend visit to the country.
Krista's flock started in 2013. The variety of breeds of ewes (Suffolk, Clun forest, Khatadin, Dorset and Ilse de France) and the rams (see below) are a "closed flock". This means that all members of the flock have been tested and proven clear of a variety of possible health related problems. Rams are not shared to other people and any new ewes hoping to join the flock go through an isolation period while they are checked to ensure they have the health standard of the rest of the flock.
The flock are grassfed from May to November on 35 acres of lush grass.
The lambing cycle begins each year when the ewes are joined by one of the purebred rams, during July or November, in Petite Riviere, Lunenburg Co. NS.
Pregnant ewes spend late fall and winter with days on pasture and nights in a spacious barn eating first cut quality hay from Lunenburg Co. hayfields. In March, Lukas Lainge shears the pregnant ewes in preparation for their birthing day. The ewes begin to have second cut, protein rich, hay from very talented hay producers in Lunenburg Co., to ensure mom and newborns get a healthy start.
April is lambing month, a rather stressful but miraculous time of year as ewes generally have twins, or occasionally, triplet lambs. The nursing ewes continue with second cut hay and grain as they care for the newborn lambs.
During this time, the flock spends spring days in the sunshine filled paddock near the barn and nights safely resting on fresh straw filled beds in the barn.
When it feels right to the Shepherd, sometime in May, the ewes and lambs move to the rich grass summer drumlin pastures at Wiles Lake, Lunenburg Co . The flock is "strip fed" to maintain maximum flock health. Strip feeding is the term given to shepherding a flock in a specific section of fresh grass and then moving them to a new section of grass as the shepherd thinks they should move. Strip feeding is a significant amount of work as the sheep are regularly moved from one feeding area to a new fresh grass feeding area. This extra work is another piece of nurturing naturally while the lambs grow, allowing nature to prevent diseases rather than using medications.
The border collie members of the team are an important part of this naturally nurturing method of raising lambs. Each week they gather the sheep into "the squeeze", a pen that has the sheep walk through , single file, while the shepherd checks the health of each sheep.
Krista's nurturing philosophy allows lambs and moms to stay together until it is the mom's choice to not want to nurse the babies any longer. When they communicate "I am tired of the babies", the moms are moved away from the lambs to their own rich grass area where they gain body strength and enjoy some time to themselves before returning to Petite Riviere where they will reunite with their ram.
The rams hangout in Petite Riviere all season. Other than their six weeks of work in the summer and fall, they enjoy wandering around their own piece of pasture at the old family farm in Petite Riviere , getting daily treats of bread , carrots or the treat of the day, from Doris, the shepherd's mother.
Customers say the flavour of this Nova Scotia lamb meat is very delicate. Krista believes this is a result of the lambs spending the entire summer on the rich quality grass of Wiles Lake pasture.
When the lambs are ready, Krista ensures the "completion" is as comfortable as every other day on the pasture. This is not only respectful of the animals but also assists with producing a tender finished product.
Krista's sheep are "nurtured naturally, with care....from conception to completion".
Fiona, protector of the flock
The ewes are a variety of breeds that are being chosen for their nurturing habits, their natural healthy resilience and quality of lambs they produce. The flock includes Suffolk, Dorset, Khatadin and Clun Forest. Barracuda, a small but energetic triplet born in 2019 has taken on the role of flock leader after Blackie, pictured above, died of old age in Dec 2021 at the mighty age of 14. Where she goes, so follows the flock.
Maurice Chevalier,(bottom), a purebred registered Iles de France, came to work with us September 2017 as a 6 month ram. BB King, a purebred Clun Forest, was born on the farm February 2018. Harry Stiles (picture pending) was born February 2020, son of Channing Tatum and Blue Leister #35. Harry, although the youngest and smallest, has taken on the role of lead ram in 2022 after his father, Channing Tatum passed on. All 3 rams are pure gentlemen who enjoy going for walks with a halter on. Rams that have added to our flock but have passed on include: Mr.Khatadin, George Clooney (reg. dorset) , Brad Pitt (reg. dorset) and Channing Tatum (reg. dorset 2022).
Fiona the donkey joined the flock May 2018. She was 3 years old when she arrived, having never lived with sheep to the best of our knowledge. She has accepted them as her own and protects them from wandering coyotes.