Black Moose Ranch
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.
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 other than for lactating ewes),and have good wool quality. "A few" sheep quickly grew to a full flock of sheep. By the way, if you're interested in starting your own flock of Finns, start here to check out breeding quality ewe lambs and here to check out breeding quality ram lambs. 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! We added a second pair, Iago and Aria (pictured left) so Brio and Katrina could have a cushy retirement being "farm yard" guardians. The deer never come in the farmyard to eat fruit trees or gardens.
We're a small family ranch in Deer Park, Washington. We refurbished the 100 year old ranch site, 100 year old house and 80 year old barn. We raise grass-fed/finished Finnsheep for breeding, meat and wool. The farm also has Paint horses, Maremma livestock guardian dogs and chickens. Read on to see how this menagerie is the perfect mix of self sufficiency among domesticated animals!
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!
Finnsheep are Friendly and Fertile!
The Finnsheep breed is one of the best production improvement breeds in the world today. While there are other breeds that have production standards similar to the Finnsheep, none of them also provide the producer with a sheep with an outstanding, easy to manage temperament and the capability to enhance the quality of the wool clip.
Purebred Finnsheep are capable of producing a 300% lamb crop with average crossbred lamb crops ranging from 180% to 230% depending on percentage of Finnsheep genetics. With proper nutrition, Finnsheep ewes are excellent milk producers and they can raise triplets on their own. Finn ewes cycle out of season allowing for spring and fall lamb crops and three crops in two years if this production method is selected.