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Doug and Connie began their partnership in 1986 when they got married and embarked on the sheep enterprise which would come to be known as the Lamb Shoppe. Starting out with nothing but just a few sheep, we persevered to purchase our first 40 acres in 1990. Although we had been practicing management Intensive grazing techniques since 1988 that we learned while traveling in New Zealand, it wasn’t until we bought our own farm that we could begin to expand our sheep numbers and really start to excel. As time passed, we were fortunate to be able to purchase additional adjoining acreage to provide us with a total of 180 acres.
Today, the Lamb Shoppe is home to over 500 sheep and other livestock species including beef, chickens, turkeys and guinea hens. With a flock of 350 Dorset ewes that lamb three times a year, a range of lambs of many ages may be found on the farm on any given day. Our sustainable farming practices have made the plants and animals flourish. We practice biological farming by working with nature, feeding and fostering the soil life and balancing it with minerals. We have worked hard to build healthy land from the soil up.
At the Lamb Shoppe it seems we do just about everything associated with sheep from beginning to end. So, it probably comes as no surprise that sheep shearing is an integral part of our business. Doug Rathke has been honing his professional sheep shearing skills for over 30 years.
With extensive training in New Zealand and hundreds of thousands of sheared sheep under his belt, Doug has traveled the world teaching sheep shearing and competing at shearing contests. He even holds a world record with a 24 hour shearing endurance marathon.