Bottom line? Sheep, in particular sheep kept for their fleece, are not what I’d call “profitable.” Profit would be where the outflow of cash is rather less than income from sales of fleece, yarn, or other lamb generated lucre. Thus far, as stated rather unfortunately on my Schedule F’s, outflow has exceeded income by a not inconsiderable margin.
At least as the IRS calculates it. The IRS does not count as income a mountain of rich compost which is rolled annually into the expanding vegetable garden, spread under fruit trees, and feeds the berry bushes. I closed down the freezer the other day and am now, such a luxury, eating vast quantities of last season’s berries… I put up so many berries last summer we didn’t consume them all this winter. The IRS doesn’t have a spot on the form for overproductive berry bushes created by sheep waste. Nor is there a spot for fuel savings generated by not having to mow down the fields twice a month… last summer, with fuel at $4/gallon? Those savings were more than significant.
No, the IRS expects to see cash income. Which leads us to… bunnies. Angora rabbits produce something in the neighborhood of 3 pounds a year of angora fiber. Lovely, lovely, stuff. My flock of lambs will generate about 10 pounds of Icelandic lamb fleece… nice stuff, but in New England, not remarkable. But if you add 3 pounds of angora rabbit to 10 pounds of Icelandic wool, you’ve got a 30% angora blend which is eyepoppingly marvelous.
Now, didn’t that sound sensible on paper?
Of course, we all know the real reason for getting rabbits: the 10 year old female child. Who, when consulted on bunnies lit up incandescently, as if she’d swallowed a handful of fireworks. So.. in my ongoing quest to thoroughly corrupt the child and ruin her early years with Farm Magic… I’m in the market for angora rabbits.