Before welcoming our first guests in October of 1993, we welcomed our flock of sheep. With 30 acres of property, 15 acres of which were pasture land, we thought bringing a flock of sheep from home was a perfect fit for a county inn. We raise Border Leicester sheep; an ancient wool breed, which originated in the “Border” area of Great Britain. Border Leicester sheep are know for their long, lustrous wool, which is excellent for hand spinning.
Many guests of the Chanticleer ask, “What does it mean to have a working sheep farm”. Our answer to that common question is we actually shear our sheep, produce lambs in the spring and sell lambs for breeding, and for market.
We try to shear our sheep in the spring time, before the ewes have their lambs. Shearing at this time of the year helps motivate the ewes to lamb in our barn, out of the elements, which is both helpful to the lambs and the innkeeper! Lambs are born in late March, or early April, and lambing time is the most stressful time of the year when dealing with our sheep. Darrin goes out every couple of hours, day and night, to check on the ewes and to see if any lambs are being born. While most often there are no complications, sometimes we have to help a ewe give birth, or motivate a lamb to start nursing.
Years ago, we used to ship our wool to a woolen mill and have our wool processed into yarn. A good friend of ours would knit the wool into sweaters and we would offer them for sale at the inn. The cost of shipping wool became extremely expensive and our friend married, so we stopped producing wool sweaters. Now, the wool we shear is either given away, or we toss it into the woods for the animals to use for nesting material. If any reader knows of someone who could use some raw wool, please send them our way!
Many of our guests come from large cities and rarely see livestock, such as sheep. Although they are extra work, we thoroughly enjoy raising lambs and our guests seem to appreciate being able to watch them graze around the inn. Please send us your sheep questions and check out the photos of our sheep on our website.