Our lamb is grown on Campbellton Farm, which is situated near the community of Rosalind, Alberta. Sheila’s sister Dorothy, her husband John, and their family have over 25 years experience raising lamb and have been certified organic for the past 10 years. Their son Colby and his wife Myra also have certified organic sheep and the flock is wintered together for breeding and lambing.
The majority of the flock are cross-bred Dorset ewes (http://albertasheepbreeders.ca/Dorset.html ) which are bred to Suffolk rams (http://albertasheepbreeders.ca/Suffolk.html ). This ensures excellent mothering traits in the ewes and fast growing lambs with a good meat quality.
The lambing season begins in late January when a group of ewes are moved into a large, century old hip-roofed barn for shelter. After they have lambed and the lambs are a few weeks old the group is moved into a pen with lots of straw bedding and a covered shelter. This continues on a monthly basis until spring when the ewes lamb outside in sheltered pens. Although lambing in small groups like this makes more work for the shepherd we have found that we are able to do a much better job during the lambing time when we are working with smaller numbers of mothers and babies. Also, as lambing goes over a six month period we are able to supply fresh lamb to market almost throughout the year.
Lambs stay with their mothers until they are six weeks old. At that time they are eating well on their own and the ewe’s milk production has decreased dramatically. When they are weaned the lambs stay in the same group pen and the ewes are removed, as this causes less stress for the lambs. Our lamb is humanely raised and is certified by the BCSPCA. http://www.spca.bc.ca/welfare/farm-animal-welfare/spca-certified/
The ewes are fed some certified organic oats for six weeks prior to lambing as well as when they are feeding their lambs. They also always have organic hay available. The organic hay is grown on our own farm and we know it has never been sprayed with any artificial fertilizers or chemicals. In the spring the ewes and lambs go on to pasture. A group of the ewes goes over to Colby and Myra’s farm, which is situated in the beautiful Battle River Valley, south of Camrose.
Coyotes can be a problem, as they like to eat lamb too! We have several predator control dogs, which live with the sheep and keep predators away. The majority of our dogs are Maremma, and they have outstanding instincts for protection. http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/maremmasheepdog.htm
The majority of their diet comes from alfalfa hay in the winter months and grazing pasture in the summer. Our lamb always has grain available free choice this helps to enshure that they have enough protein in their diet. The grain is a mixture of organic oats and other organic grains. We do not use antibiotics or chemicals in our production and any health problems are treated naturally whenever possible, as allowed by the Canadian Organic Standard. This combination results in healthy lambs that grow very well. It also makes for a delicious meat for our customers to enjoy.