Albion Ridge Colony
Nathan & James Wurz, Albion Ridge, Alberta
Albion Ridge Colony near Keho Lake, Alberta is home to some of the younger lamb producers that SunGold works with. Albion Ridge has had their Ewe flock since 2009. James Wurz, who's in his early 30s, is the sheep boss at the Colony. James has worked with sheep since he was a young boy, sleeping in the sheep camp in most of his younger years.
His Uncle is the sheep boss at Keho Colony. He's also been training sheep dogs for years and people from all over come to see him for his dogs and for help training them. James shares the responsibility of tending their flock with Nathan Wurz, who is only in his early 20s. Both were born and raised on the colony.
Together they raise Rambouillet and Suffolk sheep. They started out with 250 ewes in '09 to their current flock of 500. They want to expand and grow their flock to 1000 ewes. They raise and finish all the lambs themselves and enjoy all aspects of raising sheep.
That's not to say they aren't faced with the challenges of raising them. The cold weather and wind can be a struggle, as well as the challenge of keeping the sheep safe from the predators in the area. They do all they can to protect their sheep and count on their dogs to protect them. Along with guardian dogs they also breed/train/sell/work with 4 border collies. They claim that if you do not have dogs then you cannot be successful with sheep. Sheep need dogs and dogs need sheep. They are low stress, and easy on the lambs in terms of work.
Their day to day routine will differ throughout the year. Mornings during lambing are always busy. During lambing, James and Nathan are up all hours of the night tending ewes and lambs, matching lambs with ewes and tracking all lambs. Keeping lambs alive is the most important thing. Mothers take to lambs very quickly, though sometimes lambs are orphaned and bottle fed by the guys. Those lambs need more care and more time in the orphan pen.
Needless to say no day is the same when raising animals. Working in and around sheep has taught them a lot of life lessons that they cant learn anywhere else. They built and created everything they have from the ground up. (Flock, barns, sheds, office, trained dogs)
They see lots of potential in the lamb industry, especially partnering up with SunGold. They are excited about the project we are working on and glad we choose them to be a part of it.