Its not about having an animal its about having “the” animal to fit your needs. After working with The American Milking Devon’s for the past 5 years we have noted who our customers are. Most have health concerns from lactose intolerance to auto immune and are looking for a tool to help them in their battle. Others are looking for 4H or show animals, while others are homesteader’s looking for a source of meat and milk.
A number of our visitors are homesteading on smaller acreage and do not have the resources for several cows. With this problem presented A Rusty Knoll has been working on a mini version of our homestead package to allow for smaller acreage’s to have meat and milk also. Just a note: Having too many animals is just as big of a problem as having no animals.
After some research we decided to go with the Dorset sheep. A wool sheep, fast growing, the ability to birth off season opening the door for 3 births in 2 years, often twinning. Our first Dorset’s came to A Rusty Knoll June of 2022. After our first lambing season we noted the improvement needed to the Dorset was more milk than just what the lambs needed.
There are several University and SARE studies on sustainable year-round milk sheep. There are currently over 100 million milk sheep being used in the Middle East, Asia and Europe. (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) With this research the decision to enhance our Dorset’s with the Assif rams a fat tailed sheep, proven meat, milk and known for their hardiness.
Assif sheep are rare in the United States. We were blessed to find 2 rams, different blood lines named them Wiggles & Jiggles. Breeding season is now wrapping up and we await our lambing season in Feb/ March. Our hopes are the new ewes will be able to produce multiple yearly births, approximately a liter of A2A2 milk per day on top of the lambs needs, and a portion of your meat needs all on a grass based diet.
High hopes for 2024!