Since our Harlequin lambs will soon be sheep, and they are a girl and a boy, we need to separate them before the “ewe” (a female sheep) gets pregnant. The advice is to wait until the ewe is at least 12 months old (they are capable of getting pregnant at six months).
The problem with separating them (until the honeymoon) is that sheep don’t do well on their own — they need at least one companion. So we decided to get two more sheep, another girl and a boy. Since there are no Harlequins in Ohio (that we know of), and since they are on the expensive side, we decided to go with another breed of small sheep called Baby Dolls.
As a breed, Harlequin sheep have only been around a little more than 30 years. Baby Dolls go back to the late 1700s and regained popularity among breeders in the early 1900s. I know that Baby Dolls are used in vineyards to mow down weeds and grass — they are too short, however, to get at the tasty grapes.
While the Harlequins arrived healthy (and still are, knock on wood), the Baby Dolls had diarrhea. Noriko and I learned in Sheep School (we took a month of sheep-related classes from Ohio State in February) I remembered that this wasn’t good. We called our vet who tested them and determined the Baby Dolls had a nasty parasite called “coccidia.” So we are treated all four sheep just to be on the safe side, and will keep the two breeds apart for at least the next two weeks.
We also have a miniature donkey…. but that’s a story for another post.