Monday, June 16, 2014

Summertime Again

Whew! I'm sure glad that I managed to pull together a team (even if it was only two other people - THANK YOU Kevin and Tonia!) to get my alpacas sheared.  Well, most of my alpacas.  As it was, we decided to do Kevin and Tonia's alpaca, Bentley, first so we could put him in the yard.  While shearing Bentley, Snow Prince decided to take a dip.  So Snow Prince is left to shear, but we got my other 11 alpacas sheared.  By the end of the day, I was coated in dust - every inch of me.  I even had a mud mustache!

What's even more, Cocoa Puff still liked me after we sheared her.  She is such a cute little thing! I love her personality;  she makes up for her mother's lack of manners.

Even though I was exhausted, once Tonia and Kevin left, I still had to fill stock tanks and feed everyone.  Much to my surprise, I had a new BFL ewe lamb!  She is a momma's girl and has a big voice to let Momma know that she is lost.  Cute little thing.  So now I have another BFL X Border Leicester ewe lamb for sale.  This will be #5. Total lamb count for 2014 = 25 - 7 ewe lambs, 18 ram lambs.

As much as I don't like hot weather, it is knocking at my door.  Caring for all the animals is more challenging with hot weather.  Stock tank water gets warm and electrolytes need to be added to buckets of water so that everyone has the necessary minerals in their bodies to fight the heat.  After the winter we had, I'm not going to bad mouth the hot weather because caring for everyone was a real challenge especially keeping water liquid and buckets filled.  Let's hope we don't have another old-fashioned winter for a few more years.

Monday, March 24, 2014


There are times that in spite of ourselves, we can't be everywhere at once.  Such was the case this morning.  When I went to the barn, in spite of checking on everyone after midnight, there was Grace with the super large head of a lamb protruding from her nether parts.  She was in great distress and the legs of the lamb were no where to be seen.  His head was dry so he had been in this position for some time.  Without hesitation, I knelt down and searched for his legs, got them out and assisted in removing him from Grace.  He was dead and it was obvious before I knelt down as his tongue was hanging out of his mouth and he had that look that is inescapable with death.  This lamb was HUGE! A Shetland/Finn cross just can't do 15 pound lambs.  Grace received an antibiotic and we covered her as she went into shock.  She was eating her hay when I came to the house, but I don't think I will breed her again.  She always has such an awesome fleece.  This ram lamb was as large as my Bluefaced/Border Leicester cross lambs when they are born.  Most of my Cormo lambs are 5-6 pounds.  And here I thought she was carrying twins.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Polecat had Triplets!

Okay, I know the title caught you, but honestly, I have a ewe named Polecat.  A few years ago when this black sheep with the white strip on her forehead lambed for the first time, she decided she wasn't going to be his mother.  As her luck would have it, I was determined that she was going to be "Lyka's" mother.  So every 3-4 hours, I would march to the barn prepared for battle.  Since she was already trapped in the stall with her newborn, all I had to do was put my knee into her shoulder to push her against the stall wall and push Lyka under her.  She did not like it one little bit, but soon learned that escape was impossible.  But every 3-4 hours was taking its toll on me.

So to help me have time to rest, Matthew H. and children came one day to help with this ewe and baby.  Matthew pretty well summed it up by saying, "Does she have a name?" to which I responded, "No!" to which he replied, "Well, since she's being such a stinker, she should be called Polecat." And so she is.

After I arrived back from TSC to pick up barn supplies Saturday evening about 7:30 p.m., I went to do my barn check and found Polecat with three tiny lambs, a black one with white on his forehead (Polecat's signature lamb), and one white ewe lamb, and one white ram lamb.  The little ewe lamb was weak and unable to suckle so I milked out some colostrum into a bottle so that she could have some nourishment.  After strawing them down, I went to the house and broke out my only bottle of colostrum to feed the little one.  So all night Saturday night, every two hours, I made a trip to the barn to feed the crying little lamb.  She would drink a bit and then wander off and lay down with her siblings.  All day Sunday and through Sunday night, I made the trip to the barn every 4 hours to feed this little one.  To my surprise on Monday, I went to the barn and she was jumping around with her siblings and no longer needed me.  When she saw me, she ran to her momma and began nursing.  Whew! I escaped two months of feeding that one! LOL!!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

BFL Twin set #3

Yesterday, Thursday, March 14, 2014, I made it to the barn about 30 minutes after the birth of another set of Bluefaced/Border Leicester twins.  This time, a boy and a girl.  My lamb count is now 4 boys, 2 girls.  One girl has been spoken for.  The other, if not sold first, will be taken to Hoosier Hills Fiber Festival and sold.

What are all the other ewes waiting for?  Some of them look like they will pop any time.  I hate waiting.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

BFL Lamb Batch #2

Today, Tuesday, March 11, 2014, I was fortunate enough to almost be present for lamb birthing.  I got up and was in the barn by 10:00 a.m. EDT and noticed mucous hanging from a ewe's backside.  I went to get some straw to put down and before I was back (walked 175 feet to get straw and then back), there was a very long-legged soaky wet and yellowed ram lamb.  Momma (all my girls are 'Momma' at birthing time) was licking him, but it appeared that another lamb would soon be there so I went to get some towels from the tack room (100 feet to the towels) and turned the water on while I was down near the spigot and by the time I was back there lay another lamb covered in birthing fluids and the sac over his mouth and nose.  He was not moving and even though I was ready to go to town, I jumped in and pulled him from his fluid-filled existence and swung him by the hind legs to clear his nose and mouth.  He began kicking so I wrapped him in a towel and cleared his mouth of all mucous with my fingers.  This little fellow was sopping wet and covered in blood and birthing fluids and I rubbed him to get him closer to dry than he was.  After exhausting two large bath towels, I put him near Momma where he began to scream for her at the top of his lungs.  Momma responded by licking him and at last look about 15 minutes ago (3:40 p.m. EDT) he and his brother were hungrily engaged in a nursing contest.

These are two nice sized Bluefaced Leicester crosses, but mostly Bluefaced Leicester.  Their mom has blue skin on her nose and these two boys are definitely BFL because their little faces look almost black.  If anyone out there needs I nice-sized silky-fleeced ram for breeding purposes, I now have 3 BFL crosses, all between 65-85% BFL.

I have other things to do this afternoon and informed "my girls" that the time to birth is this afternoon before the cold moves in tomorrow.  I almost turned the warming box off this morning and I'm glad I didn't.  Well, I have Visiting Teaching to do so I must depart until later.  I have to find my camera.  I have lamb pictures as well as warming box pictures to post, but where is that dratted camera when I need it!!!!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Spring's First Lambs

Just like I figured, I had to be gone all day Saturday, March 1, to get my first lambs.  Momma gave me a set of 10 pound twins, a ram lamb and a ewe lamb.  I got home from my syrup festival about 9 pm and went to the barn.  The lambs were still wet and Momma was still down.  Fortunately, last week, I took a solid-sided wooden crate, turned it on end, boxed up the top 2/3 of the crate, cut a hole in the top big enough to run the plug end of an electrical cord through and then hung a heat lamp on the inside of the box.  Both lambs were in the box.  Momma was laying nearby.

Last year this same ewe had 17 pound-apiece twins and because they had to be pulled and both lambs were lost within 36 hours of birth.  So I milked the ewe by hand to supplement other bottle babies.  This year, Momma isn't sure that she wants lambs to suckle, so I'm making periodic trips to the barn to tie up Momma and let the lambs suckle.  Things are looking better as she no longer tries to run them over and reaches back to smell them.  A big improvement.  I will get pictures of the "warming hut" and post them.  Seems like by the time I get done ensuring that both lambs have eaten, I'm cold and my main goal is to hurry back to the house.

Photos of the lambs will also be posted.  Did I mention that these lambs are by my Bluefaced Leicester ram and a Border Leicester X Bluefaced Leicestser ewe.  Their coats already are showing great promise.  And they are cute and follow me everywhere!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Naked Sheep in February!

Whew! Thank God! The sheep shearing is done for another year!  It was like an "All Hands on Deck!" adventure.  Tonia and Kevin Graves came to help as well as Martha, Lana, Alina, James, and Jonathan Fairbanks. And of course there was the farrier, Steve Kennedy and all the sheep.

It amazes me how sitting a sheep on their butt, makes them quite docile.  They don't protest in the least while the shearer is skimming their skin with a buzzing wide tooth piece of equipment.  The shearer zips through the fleece and in 5-7 minutes has a sheep 'naked.'  Paying for a shearer is so worth it compared to me doing it myself.  I can do a sheep in an hour and when there are 17 of them to do.... Well, it sure is worth having a good shearer!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Anticipation with Roberta

The freezing rain and sleet continues to melt our last snow preceding our next snowfall.  The weather here is cold and nasty to say the least.  How much snow will we get?  It is anyone's guess as the weatherman is all over the map with the expected accumulation totals.  Anything is better than the drizzle that is falling now.

I am posting a pic of my Ertoel Roberta electric spinner.  I have used her twice in 5 years.  Once just this past June when I had a torn meniscus repaired.  I need to sell her because she isn't loved as she should be.  $500 plus postage is my firm price.  The electrical cord is over 20 feet long and she also has a foot control.  As you can see from the one photo, she has a backward and forward switch, a variable speed control and an on/off switch.  Somehow her front left corner got chipped and there is a slight scratch on her right front corner.  But considering the price of a new one, she is a great deal.