Iceland 6 – Winter housing of sheep, one view

After Icelandic sheep are brought down from the mountains, those that will be wintered-over spend some time in pastures closer to the farms. Counts of Icelandic sheep are always given in terms of the winter flock, and thus do not include the lambs (that number would be almost three times as large, because many Icelandic ewes have twins—the breed’s lambing rate is 170 to 180%, or higher). Wintered-over flocks range in the hundreds up to a thousand or so sheep.

So: keeping sheep inside—how does that happen? As part of the North Atlantic Native Sheep and Wool Conference, we had the opportunity to see one of the largest and most modern winter-housing facilities, constructed several years ago by a farmer named Christian. As with many of the events, catching folks’ names was difficult. While I got many questions answered there, I have even more now—and if anyone who is reading this was there and wants to supplement or correct what I’m saying, you’re most welcome to do so!

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