Rodger Family Farm -- Fiber Mill and Shetland Sheep
ABOUT US
The Rodger Family Farm -- long in the making.

As the parents of our shepherdess, we have been working toward establishing a farm for many years – in part to give our children some of the benefits we feel we had as children who grew up with livestock.

Donalee (Mom) grew up in Boring, Oregon, raising all the typical farm animals, sheep, horses, cows, chickens – even pheasants. She was a 4H girl, training and showing horses. It was a good life and taught her about taking responsibility for another life, another soul.

Robert (Dad) was raised on Arizona clay and Colorado snow. He had horses and burros and his own 4H days. He remembers well how the animals had to come first, since they could not work the well or help themselves to the grain.

Together, after many long years of making job and career choices aimed at supporting a family of seven, they discovered they had a daughter who wanted animals as much as they did. Kyra Lynn Rodger,  first fell for Shetland sheep at the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, Oregon in 2014.  It was not hard at all to twist Mom and Dad’s arm to get our first two, Tapioca and Betty. All our sheep are registered to Kyra under NASSA (North American Shetland Sheep Association).

It’s funny how two ewes can become 20 sheep!


 
How we do it!
The sheep:
We are constantly handling and talking to our sheep. They know us; they trust us; they let us roo them (more on that in the “Wool” tab!) Since we will not lose even one to a coyote or mountain lion, our sheep are brought into a tightly closed barn every sundown where they spend the night with our Maremma flock guardian.  At first light, we walk them out to the field for that day.

We use intensive management grazing, so our sheep are moved to new pasturage every two to three days. These sheep are smart, and learn quickly which direction we are leading them that morning.

Our lambs all go to lamb school – where we teach them to wear halters, walk on a lead, and get brushed. We know their voices, so we know if they are distressed or just demanding some attention!

We give our sheep their shots. We trim their hooves, We roo them of the fleece. They know us and trust us. We are in a partnership with our flock; they come first – even on holidays.
Meet the Team!
  1. Kyra Lynn Rodger
    Kyra Lynn Rodger
    Shepherdess!
  2. Donalee Rodger
    Donalee Rodger
    Mom - Fiber Queen!
  3. Robert Rodger
    Robert Rodger
    Dad - a helping hand
  4. Rook and Bishop
    Rook and Bishop
    Maremma and Maremma GP
Betty
Betty was one of our first two Shetland sheep (Tapioca came with her). They were field delivered on The Old Strawberry Farm (near the coast) and sold to a young couple who thought they could raise two sheep in the backyard of their suburban home. The couple was very nice and good to Betty and Tapi, but the neighbors didn’t care for the baa-baa-baa early in the morning. The couple put the two ewes on craigslist and hoped to find a nice buyer; one who wouldn’t eat them! We were that buyer.
Betty is the lead ewe in all things! She leads the group from the barn in the morning and back in again at night. She worries and paces along the fence if any of the sheep are kept back for shots or other care. She is not shy, coming to the gate or fence to look intently into our eyes, but she does not want to be scritched behind her ears – or anywhere. Her voice is the loudest of the ewes, so she lets us know when they want to come in.

Her fleece comes in fast and thick -- so much that even rooed in late February, she is thick again by the 4th of July.
Tapioca
Tapioca was one of our first two Shetland sheep (Betty came with her). They were field delivered on The Old Strawberry Farm (near the coast) and sold to a young couple who thought they could raise a couple of sheep in the back yard of their suburban home. They couple was very nice and good to Tapi and Betty, but the neighbors didn’t care for the baa-baa-baa early in the morning. The couple put the two ewes on craigslist and hoped to find a nice buyer; one who wouldn’t eat them! We were that buyer.
Tapioca is our kite on a string. She is calm enough on the sheep stand, but on a lead she just spins. She and Brown Betty are nearly inseparable. Her voice is higher than Brown Betty’s, with a bit of goat’s gurgle mixed in. After rooing, the neighbor asked, “When did you get the white goat?” Her fleece is a lovely bright cream white.
Woody
Woody came to us from the same farm as Shamrock. That farm renamed sheep with flower names, so Woodruff he became for them, Woody for us. When we saw how handsome he is, we had to have him along with Shamrock. Woody was shown by a young girl in his first years and it shows every time he dons his halter. He takes a judging stance and remains still. He is very affectionate and loves to be scratched under the chin. He also is a great babysitter for new ewes – guarding them from pushy sheep. As a wether, he is the perfect gentleman to the young ewes!
His fleece is multi-hued and he is also registered with the Natural Colored Wool Growers Association. When his is rooed, he looks like a small Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep. People often stop along our road to see him.

Teasel
Teasel – related to Oakley (Woody) was wethered early, so he has no horns. The family who owned Teasel, Oakley, and Shamrock was looking to reduce their flock and we were impressed by their colors and friendliness.
Teasel is called the weasel for good reason. He was often given treats by adoring little girls, so he is way too friendly! Complete strangers will find themselves accosted by this treat seeking sheep. The girls used to dress him up – even showing him dressed as a bumble bee. He leads nicely and is easy on the stand.
 
His coat shows black with touches of silver to brown toward the tips. 


Lady Emily
Lady Emily is every bit the lady, gentle in manner, patient with her lambs, demur but not standoffish with trusted people.  She is in every way the opposite of her old stall mate, Vera. She loves to have her neck scritched and will stand free for rooing. Her first year lambs bear the gulmoget markings, but her second year lambs are glossy black. Her first year lambs, now yearlings, show the same sweet disposition of their dame.
Her fleece combines the black and white of her markings to produce a lovely highlighted grey/black.


Lady Sybil
Lady Sybil – from Lady Emily -- is very shy. She comes up to us very slowly – usually when Kaylee is already getting scritched behind her ears. Lady Sybil likes her cheeks gently rubbed. She and Kaylee do run, jump, and cavort like silly little goats at times.
Lady Sybil’s fleece roos easily and has a lovely silky feel. Her gulmoget markings make her black wool glisten.


Radar
Radar was named for his tendency to tilt his head, like he is listening for the helicopters Radar O”reilly listened for on M.A.S.H. Born with a few problems in his ear and jaw, Radar developed both a tilted look and a bulge to that side of his jaw line. He is very easy going and affectionate. He has a funny habit of rolling down hills. He sets himself up by lying down uphill, then throwing his head out and around, he rolls a few times down the hill, gets up, and does it again in the same spot for a few rounds.
His black fleece shows more white strands to become a soft charcoal color.


Kaylee
Kaylee – born of Vera – is our Marilyn Monroe sheep. She has a breathy voice and is all over Dad. She runs to him, climbs on him, and nibbles his beard. Actually, she is very affectionate to all of us. She stuck close to Woody as her protector for much of her smaller months, but as she is reaching full size she is coming into her own. She does have a touch of Vera in her when it comes to the wethers. We’ve seen her playing hard – head butting the boys.
Her fleece roos easily and is the lightest faun color.


Muddersmilk
Muddersmilk – born of Vera – started out as a shy ram, more than any we have seen. He hid behind his stomping mother until he was more than six months old. Then, with no fanfare or sudden sign, he became quietly and politely affectionate, coming to the fence or gate to get a one cheek rubbed. Now he has decided that Rook, our maremma flock guardian is a wonderful, wonderful enough that Muddersmilk allows Rook to lick his face and ears.
Mudders’ fleece is a soft fawn color.


Elsa
Elsa came to us from a farm with very big sheep – Cotswolds. She looked very out of place as a little black sheep among white giants! The owners were grandparents of a granddaughter who wanted a small breed of sheep to show. When the girl no longer wanted to show the sheep, they needed to find a better home for that odd little black sheep on their place. We were that home.
Elsa is well mannered as a shown sheep should be. She is neither shy, nor affectionate – she just handles and halters.
 
Elsa’s fleece looks touched by Jack Frost: gossamer strands in a deep black fleece.



Rosealee
Rosealee came to us from a family that showed both Shetland sheep and rabbits. Rosealee stole our hearts at the 2015 OFFF. She was penned with a fawn/moorit ewe, so her red-tipped black on grey fleece was striking. She was not skittish and showed that she had been well handled. Kyra wanted her immediately! We agreed to buy her then and there. She turned out to be a curious and affectionate yew – a great addition to our yearlings.



Romulous
Romulus – Rosealee’s brother, is a shy little black wether. His horns were not coming in at a safe angle, so he was fixed/broken for his own good. He mostly sticks to his half-brother, Wensley, but curiosity will get the better of him with other sheep are getting attention.
His black fleece is very black, with only small traces of grey/white gossamer. 


Wensley
Wensley, half-brother to Romulous, is the affectionate half of this duo. He comes to seek attention, obviously longing for the touch of the young girls who raised him. His horns were coming in at the worst possible angle – endangering him in only a year or two – so he was wethered for his own good as well as Romulous. He rooed faster than any of our sheep, making him particularly valued in rooing season!
Wensley’s fleece is a very light grey.