I am Ashley Hoffman, owner and shepherdess of Cedar View Farm in Mitchells, VA where I keep a breeding flock of FBA registered Finnsheep. Our farm is run by myself, my husband and our twin 11 year old sons. My journey as a shepherdess began in 2012 when I purchased my first sheep, a breeding pair of Finnsheep. My love of the fiber arts naturally drew me to seek out my own fiber animals to raise. I carefully considered a multitude of breeds each one not quite checking all my boxes. When I discovered the Finnsheep breed I knew I had found the perfect fit.
Their friendly disposition and medium size with mature ewes weighing 130 to 180 pounds and mature rams weighing 170 to 240 pounds is greatly valued on our farm since the day to day operations of the farm are run by myself and my 11 year old twin boys. Finnsheep are a wonderfully curious mannered breed who serve as gentle ambassadors. I hold fiber farm classes where I invite the youth in our community to come out to our farm and learn about the care of our animals and the process of taking raw fleece and turning it into a usable garment. Our Finnsheep are always the center of attention and happy to meet all our guests.
Our farm is a modest size and therefore the ability of Finnsheep to have litters of lambs is a great asset. Finnsheep are known to have 2,3,4,5,6 and even 7 lambs! Their prolificacy allows us to have a substantial size lamb crop each year while keeping our foundation flock at a manageable size so as not to overwhelm our farm's resources. Finnsheep ewes rarely require assistance in giving birth and their lambs are born small to aid in an assistance free lambing and blossom in just a few days into robust lambs that love to race and play. Due to the litter size of Finnsheep it is important to provide ample energy, protein, vitamins and minerals during pregnancy and through lactation. This will allow your ewes the adequate nutrition needed to insure healthy lamb development both in utero and through lactation. Finnsheep ewes are attentive mothers who on my farm with proper nutrition produce enough milk to raise 3 and even sometimes 4 lambs with little to no supplementation.
Fiber, my passion. The fiber that Finnsheep produce is glorious with luster only rivaled by longwool sheep. Luster is that gorgeous shine seen on a fleece that gives added depth to color and reflects the light beautifully. Their fleece is becoming more popular with handspinners due to the ease at which it spins, variety of color and buttery softness. Finnsheep fiber lends itself to an infinite number of uses such as garments worn next to the skin, sturdy outerwear, needle and wet felting, and even rugs and tapestries. The colors, oh the colors! Finnsheep come in a variety of colors from crisp snow white just begging to climb in your dye pot, to grey, fawn, rich true black, and brown ranging from a light mocha to a rich chocolate brown. Their colors are further enhanced by multiple fleece patterns within the breed. Badgerface consisting of a black or brown underbelly, haunches, shoulders, throat and jaw that fades to a silvery grey to white up the sheep's body. Piebald or spotting can present as black or brown spots and can be large patches of color or smaller constellation type patterning. Head sock tail like the name suggests is an otherwise solid colored sheep with white on its head, socks and tail. Finnsheep fiber is glorious on it's own but also lends itself beautifully to blending with both plant and animal fibers.
My flock of Finnsheep has allowed me to create successful fiber and breeding businesses. Due to the genetic diversity within my flock I am able to create starter flocks for new shepherds that are carefully selected to meet their farm's goals as well as provide animals to further improve the flocks of fellow breeders. In addition to breeding stock, I offer my Finnsheep wool in all stages of processing from raw to finished handwoven and knitted items. My passion is handspinning and creating unique natural colored roving and batts that highlight the rich colors and variety within the Finnsheep fleece.
The future for my flock is to continue to breed for a superior animal who exemplifies the Finnsheep breed standard. My wish is to educate people about these wonderful sheep and all they have to offer as well as to instill a love and understanding for agriculture, especially sheep and fiber arts in our farm visitors as well as my children in hopes that at the least a small few will carry on the tradition.