Belfair Farm, owned and operated by Howard & Elaine Dustin originated in East Bridgewater were they raised Suffolk Sheep from 1996 and Registered Collies from 1983. They relocated to Lawrenceburg, TN in Feb 2006 and continued their love for sheep, purchasing both Dorpers and Katahdins. Interested in a production animal they learned that the Dorper was more of a show sheep and needed too much pampering, so they now only raise the Katahdin.
Belfair Farm consists of 60 acres of Orchard and other grasses surrounded by 5000 acres of wooded hills. The highest point in Wayne County provides a beautiful back drop for their grazing sheep. There are 100 ewes and three outstanding rams on the farm, not including lambs. There are 12 rotation fields protected by 6 Akbash Dogs. Because it is important to maintin the best quality, all sheep are registerd and separated into different fields with the best ram for their breeding. Unlike most breeds the Katahdin is a non seasonal breeder. This means they can provide lambs throughout the year. Belfair lambs both fall and spring but the ewes are only expected to lamb once a year so as not to over stress them. So you can expect 50% of their ewes breeding both season.Since their ewes are expected to twin, this means an annual lamb production of 200.
The Dustins routinely cull any ewe that does not hold up to their standard. Culling simply means they are sold off to other farms. Since their standards are so high, it is easy to purchse a cull that most farms would consider a good addition. As with all production sheep, the ewes are expected to lamb without assistance out doors in their field. By lambing season, rams have been moved to their own pastures so as not to bother the moms. Since ewes often separate from the flock to lamb it is very important to have a good guardian dog to watch over them. A single ewe is meat for a coyote and new born lambs can easily be grabbed by birds of prey. Having a good LGD is comforting to the ewes, as they can focus on caring for their newborns.
All new moms and lambs are moved into the field off the lamb barn and away from the ewes in waiting, were they have access to fresh high protein alfalfa hay and a large barn to shelter their lambs from bad weather if they choose.It never fails to amaze how moms with newborn lambs will choose to keep the lambs indoors for atleast 3 to 4 days and then bring them out on sunny days to bask in the sunlight. As the saying goes "mother knows best" The Dustin feels this also gives them the opportunity to closely observe the weight gains, milk production and hoof growths. Since natural fast growths are important for both the health of the lamb and the health of the mother, all slow growers and a ewe who consistantly produces lambs that put too much demand on them, and in so doing jeopordize her health, are culled.
By 3 months of age lambs show very little if any interest in their mothers, weighing in at up to 70 + lbs. And thats when they are sparated from their moms in another part of the farm, Ewe lambs and rams lambs (ram lambs can reproduce at 4 months) are put in separate fields and culling begins. Anything under 60 lbs is marked cull. Anything that is not breeding quality is marked for meat. At 4 months the final decision is made on the culls. Ram lambs need to be at least 90 lbs to meet meat quality. The rest are sold at auction. Ewe lambs are singled out for the sales barn or replacement ewes for the adults that got culled. Lambs from culled ewes are never kept. ALL BELFAIR FARM MEAT CUTS ARE SOLD UNDER THE BUSINESS NAME "LADIES OF THE LAMB". Check out website by clicking on the link.