I am not entirely sure this is a good idea, but we are purchasing our first sheep tomorrow morning. We're buying a tiny flock - a ram, a lamb, and two ewes. They are advertised as barbados sheep, but I am not sure about the ram, having looked at the breed specifications. That wouldn't be that big of a problem, because I want to out cross with a dairy ram at some point anyway. My goal, since we are going to do this, is to produce sheep that can do well in the sub-tropics, but can also produce a bit more milk than your average sheep. Sheep milk is awesome - and there isn't an overabundance, and you can freeze it for months until you have enough to make a decent batch of cheese. I don't really have the time to deal with the gallons of milk a cow would produce, and my husband just doesn't like goats.
I am not so worried about taking care of them - I have horses and worming an animal I can straddle can't be so bad, and I can file hooves, etc. I am worried about the dogs who are not so good with small animals. I am worried about bloat - they are currently living in drought-striken Waikoloa, and to bring them back to our very wet, very green pasture is an invitation to gorge and bloat. I have lost kid goats to bloat and it is awful, awful, awful.
On the plus side, my 12 year old has been begging for a calf for years - and what he wants is a calf that will stay a calf (obviously impossible). We took the two younger kids to visit the sheep a couple of weeks ago, and he really fell in love with the ram. It seemed mutual, actually - that ram followed him everywhere. The owner wasn't there, which gave us a few weeks to think about it, and when we drove by again, they were still there. So we called - and I gave small sigh of relief to hear that they were already sold.
But today, he called back, and the sale fell through. I guess the sheep are ours....