About the Ranch
We started out as a "ranch" by adopting 5 American Paint horses who were in a bad situation. We figured as long as we had to have enough land to comfortably fit five, 1,000+ pound animals, we might as well raise a few chickens for eggs. If we're going to raise our own eggs, then we wanted to make sure they are as healthy as possible, so we free range the chickens. Not in a "chicken tractor" but actually letting the chickens go where they please during the day, and then putting them up in their coop at night. We used to lose a few birds to hawks, eagles, foxes and the periodic coyote. Not anymore (thank you Maremma Livestock Guardian dogs!)
While we enjoyed the fresh eggs, we also realized that we spent a lot on grass-fed lamb and beef. Since we already had land available, we decided to get "a couple" of sheep. We decided on a heritage breed, the Finnsheep, for their docile temperament, hardiness, ability to grow on grass alone (no grain), and have good wool quality. "A few" sheep quickly grew to a full flock of sheep. It was easy enough to put 3 sheep away in the barn at night to protect them from stray dogs and coyotes, but simply not practical when dealing with more than a couple of sheep, especially during lambing season.
That meant that we needed to find some predator protection. After much research on the various types of predation control available, we settled first on "dog" (as opposed to lama, donkey, etc.) and then on the "Maremma" as the particular breed. Since bringing the first adult pair, Brio and Katrina, to our ranch, we haven't lost a chicken, sheep or guinea fowl to a predator!
Like so many people across the country, we don't ranch for a living. We do it because we want to know where our food comes from, we want to give a good and healthy life to the chickens and sheep before they become "dinner." We enjoy the satisfaction and independence of doing it all on our own. By using heritage breed sheep, we're helping to keep a very old breed around and viable. By using a 2,000 year old dog breed to protect the sheep, we're continuing a breed that a long line of shepherds worked so carefully to develop.
We hope this site helps you find what you're looking for and can contribute to your farm or ranching needs! For info on our sheep, click here.
Feel free to contact us at info@blackmooseranch dot com.