Sue Stewart

by Stephen Shafer on May 2, 2016


Sue and Graeme at NYS SWF October 2015


     Sue Stewart died March 13, 2016  after  a long illness.  Sue was a good friend to us, to children, and to all animals in her care,  as well as being a devoted wife to Graeme. 

     We remember her joy in taking care of animals, whether working at Rhinebeck Animal Hospital, as a pet owner, or as a helpmate to Graeme in caring for our sheep.  Sue helped Graeme with our sheep in so many ways, both at home on the farm and at shows away. She helped Graeme prepare the sheep for showing  (at one point halter-breaking  lambs from the seat of a power  scooter !)  and at shows. Her quiet but lively conversations at ringside were also an encouragement to us and to everyone around her.

      Sue always made a special effort to help young people gain confidence in showing and handling and caring for their animals. She also helped not-so-young people like us, such as showing us how to set our sheep’s feet during shows.

     Sue’s photographs, professional in quality although often given freely,  grace many web sites and albums. She took some photographs of our grandchildren at Anchorage Farm and at shows, which she gave us and which we treasure. Some of Sue’s photographic images had the motto “Memories by Sue.”  They will leave wonderful memories of her,  as well as by her.  

     She helped the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Growers Association in many ways for many years, and she ran the sheep show at the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival for two years.  She also worked with many of the children from the Southern Shepherds 4-H Club.

     Sue’s remarkable grace and courage was evident in the ways she faced her long-term battle with cancer. In the past two years she was often in severe pain, but she endured this bravely and always tried to look on the bright side of things. Last December, after one of her frequent stays in the hospital, she told us how glad she was to be coming home and how much she loved it here at Anchorage Farm.

     During our last visit with Sue she told us she had been knitting hats with young people to be given to cancer patients, and showed us some of these.  Her initiative in this project seemed to us a good example of the way she was always thinking of other people more than of herself.

     We will greatly miss Sue’s cheerful smile and her quiet encouragement, to us and to other people, but to Graeme most of all.  Sue and Graeme were blessed in, and with, each other.

Breeding 2013 and lambing 2014

by Stephen Shafer on April 20, 2014


Ewe with twins and guest

Ewe with twins and guests

   Lambing 2014 as of 4/20/14 .   First live birth Feb 1. last March 21.  More lambs born here (105) than ever before.

   57 ewes put to rams last fall.   Three sold at NYS Bred Ewe and Ewe Lamb Sale in October, of which two had twins and one triplets.

   Of 54 staying here all scanned pregnant  in early Dec.   To have 100% was a first for us.  One ewe  had a big udder near due date.  She acted sick for    several days and we treated for ketosis.  Then the udder rapidly regressed and she picked up.  We thought she had had fetal deaths without expelling the dead lambs.  We credit her with one lamb when looking at flock prolificacy (detected conceptions per ewe).

    Lambs were sighted from 53 ewes.  The first two lambs sighted were singles born dead.  We think these were due to Chlamydia infection, for which Graeme started emergency treatment of all brood ewes.  After those first two, there were 103 lambs born here.  Two were born dead, both triplets from different dams.    Three  liveborns died later, one lain upon by a dam with triplets (995) on day two and two who in second month of life developed weak back  legs then  went downhill to death over a few days despite treatment for white muscle and for polio.  ? cause   Thus 1.81 lambs weaned per ewe exposed who stayed here to term.

   Recognized conceptions (counting 997 as having one) 106 in 54 ewes = 1.96; counting ewes sold as bred,   113 in 57 ewes = 1.98



Table shows distribution of birth types for 53 ewes and survival by birth type for 105 lambs



born dead

died after birth


ewes with birth type

% ewes






























Birth weights in lambs born here

Birth weights (lbs)           range                                    average                                number lambs 

Singles                                  12, 17.5                                 15.1                                        9 (two stillborns not counted)

Twins                                    7, 18.5                                   11.9                                        64

Triplets                                 8,  13                                      10.8                                        30 (includes 2 b. dead)  

n/c singles                                                                           15                                             1

n/c twins                                                                             12.7                                        15

n/c triplets                                                                            8                                              1


Sex ratio  seems to be quite out of any shepherd’s control but is important to sales, retention etc.   This year, of 105 recognized conceptions, 51 were female; 54, male.  This fits well with the very slight male preponderance (1.01) we have seen here over the last decade or so.    

Color: 21 colored lambs, one of which (first lamb of the year, recessive female) was  stillborn.  Of 21, ten were male and 11 female.  In most years the black lambs come earlier; not so 2014.

Birth types by ewe in 56 ewes not counting the one who lost her lamb(s) in utero.  Eleven (19.5%) single   thirty-four (61%) twins  eleven (19.5%) triplets.  This was by far the highest proportion of triplets we’ve ever had.  The  ratio (1.81) of  lambs weaned ( to ewes put to the ram reflects admirably on Graeme Stewart”s skill at all phases of breeding and lambing.  It’s  the result  of our determination beginning some years ago to lift prolificacy  in the Anchorage flock.   It will not be easy to equal or better 1.81, but it’s satisfying to know it was accomplished. 

Regarding pros and cons of increased prolificacy, there  is a really useful workbook developed at Univ Illinois Urbana Champaign