Friday, April 25, 2008

Baby Jane

Our bottle baby is trying to figure out where she fits into the scheme of things in the barnyard at our house. Jane is a week old and really would like to be one of the sheep. She is kept in a large pen in the barn between feedings and run around time. She would love to be out all the time but without a mom to look out for her, it's just too early. There are 4 mothers that chase her away or butt her when she gets near their heads. She's learning to move a little more quickly. Then there are two yearlings, one was our bottle lamb last year. Then there is Sarah, our bottle lamb from 2 years ago that didn't get bred last fall. So no one really wants to put up with a little feisty ewe lamb.

In the top picture she is checking out Sarah. We have had 3 years experience with bottle babies but due to a rejection issue with the mother not a death. In the second picture Jane is eyeing a pipe that she really wants to jump over. Some day, Jane. Just not today.

Tomorrow I will be demonstrating spinning at the Historic Johnson Farm Festival. At least I will have an excuse to sit and spin all day. I still won't make a dent in the roving that I have accumulated.

We are hoping to shear next week....that means more fiber!! I better get a lot done tomorrow!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Precious Moments

Shania with her girls in the afternoon...

Resting in a feed pan...

Minnie Pearl sleeping on mom. Can you see her?

What a handsome face, Patrick Henry.

Yes, life is good on the farm!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Baby Jane

Introducing our bottle lamb, Jane Austin- she is a musket (?) katmoget. The wool on her body is an oatmeal color just like her mom's. She has brown wool on her legs and belly. She is getting stronger each day. Today she ran around with us in the pasture and likes to stay right by your feet. We are hoping that the two little ewe lambs in the pasture will become her friends. Bethia's boy already tried to be the bully toward her. Someone is always trying to be top sheep!

Here are Gina's lambs. The ram, Rhett Butler, is moorit with a very crimpy fleece. His sister,
Scarlet O'Hara, is a very dark grey katmoget.

Being the last of the babies they are the least friendly. We didn't give them as much attention as we have the previous babies. Maybe they'll be curious and we'll get to pet them. I love the thick legs on these two.

Now that lambing is over we get to watch them grow and play. The lamb races have begun. I need a picture or two of that.

We feel very blessed with the 21 healthy lambs that we have. I think we will be keeping about 5 or 6 of the ewe lambs but the rest will eventually be for sale. We will pick a couple of the rams to show this fall as well as the ewes that we will keep. There is nothing like sitting in the pasture with curious babies checking you out and enjoying some scratches.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times."

Yes, this year's lambing was the best and the worst in the 12 or so years that we have bred sheep. We are finished and the final count is 12 ram lambs and 9 ewe lambs.

10 ewes lambed without a hitch. 10 sets of healthy twins. We only saw one lamb born this year. We have beautiful colors, patterns, and soft fleeces. They are running around the pasture like crazy children-hopping, kicking, jumping, crashing, and out and out running.

The very best of the best ... the two ewe lambs born to Windswept Shania and Hidaway Farms Razzle. It was an experiment. Razzle's mom is a black yuglet sokket and his dad is a fawn katmoget. Razzle is a grey katmoget. We have been trying to get spots from Shania but so far only 3 solids and a katmoget. The experiment worked.
So...introducing...(drum roll please)...Hidaway Farms Emily and Charlotte Bronte.

Emily is a spotted grey katmoget ewe. She has a white spot on her forehead and some white patches in her grey fleece. Charlotte is what our goal was. She is a moorit smirslet ewe. She has one brown leg and hoof and 3 white legs and hooves. Her belly is white as well as her tail and neck. We couldn't be happier with these two.

Windswept Martina (black with a krunet spot) was also bred to Razzle. She produced two black ram lambs.

The experiment didn't produce the same results with Martina who carries the spotting gene. On the top is Ricky Ricardo and on the bottom is Fred Mertz.

We also had a precious moorit ram with a very crimpy fleece born to Hidaway Farms Gina and a dark grey katmoget ewe lamb. Pictures will come later.

We were nearing the end with one more ewe to lamb. All I can say it that it was a tragedy. After too many hours in labor we realized that Cadey was having a problem. A call to the vet-she was out of town-it was up to my dear husband to untangle the lambs. It seems both were trying to be born at the same time. A stillborn ram lamb was delivered and then a very weak ewe lamb came. Poor Cadey was in shock. She tried licking the ewe and even drank some warm molasses water. We gave her a shot and some nutridrench. We gave the lamb nutridrench and a bottle. We left the barn that night discouraged and knew it was up to them if they were to survive at all. Thursday morning my husband found the lamb nursing a very sore and miserable Cadey. Cadey died during our evening feeding. She tried nursing the baby just a few minutes before she gave up. What a valiant mother she was!! Needless to say that we were heartbroken for the second time this lambing season. Well, we have a bottle baby for the 4th year in a row. For the past 3 years we had a mom that rejected one lamb every year. We got smart and didn't breed her this time. Well, on the plus side...we don't have 2 bottle lambs.

We have baby Jane Austin, a musket katmoget, in a little pen in the barn. She is doing very well and getting stronger every day. She already knows our voices and follows us around. It is truly amazing! She smells my breath just to be sure it's her new mom. We will love her and take care of her for Cadey! Tomorrow I will introduce you to her.

Yes, it has been the best of lambing and the worst of lambing. Now we move ahead and watch as these beautiful lambs grow and those wonderful Shetland fleeces are being produced!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Score: Rams - 9 Ewes - 7

It was quite the busy day. Of course the weather has turned colder and there were snow flurries. Isn't that just the time to have some lambs?

I received the call that Abby was lambing. Could I get home to make sure everything was fine? Thank goodness I have the last two periods at school free on Mondays.

Abby is a first time mom so of course there is always a little more stress with those births. Who needs me and twin ram lambs were just fine--cleaned up and even nursing. They are cuties. One appears to be black with white all crazy on his head and the other one is moorit, like mom, with a white patch on his head. Names? I don't know yet.

After the usual lamb and mom care (nutridrench for lambs, iodine on belly buttons, and molasses water for mom) I went and checked on the sheep at my parent's where we have 2 more to go. Nothing.

Back at home after school, visiting with Friday's lambs and the new ones, we see that our Shania is showing signs of labor. She is Abby's mother. It was a mother-daughter day.

Between 7 and 8 pm, Shania delivered 2 adorable ewe lambs. Yes, ewe lambs!!!! No pictures yet but they will be called Charlotte and Emily Bronte. One is a moorit smirslet socket- she is brown with white coming down her face and 3 white socks. The other looks to be a grey spotted katmoget. She is light grey on top and black on bottom with a white spot on her forehead. She was still pretty wet so we couldn't tell it there were body spots or not. We couldn't be happier!! Katie finally has some ewes to call her own. Well, partially hers. We used our ram lamb, Razzle, with the hopes of producing some spots with Shania. It worked! A Shetland breeder told us that we had a 50/50 chance and it worked. Pictures will be here tomorrow!!

I did manage to get pictures of Bethia's boys born on Friday. They are Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. Again, they look black now but I think they will be grey or emsket.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Lots of Happy Birthdays!

Happy Birthday to my mom today! We also had birthdays for six lambs...

What a day! Last night we knew that 2 ewes were in labor. One was an old pro that we didn't worry about but one was a first time mom. We put them both in their lambing jugs at about 8:00 pm. Sheep check at 10- nothing, 1:00 am this morning- nothing, 4:00 am- 2 sets of twins. Each set of twins was a ram and a ewe. Our count was still even. We were happy!
Little Eagle Daisy, a moorit experienced ewe, delivered two katmogets. This little guy is a spotted katmoget, our first. I'm not sure but I think he will be fawn. His name is Benjamin Franklin.
His sister, Amelia Earhart is a little darker. They were dry and nursing when my husband found them. Daisy isn't a friendly ewe so any time we go near, she proceeds to stomp her foot at us.
Our 2 year old, Ruth, delivered 2 katmogets also. She is a black and white yuglet flecket ewe. She was delivered by C-section two years ago so we were a little concerned with how she would lamb. She did it all on her own and loves them. This precious little guy is Patrick Henry and I think he would also be considered a spotted katmoget. I think he will be fawn in color.
Then we have a tiny baby girl named Minnie Pearl. I don't know if she even weighs 3 lbs. She is one of the smallest Shetlands that we have ever had.
We are thrilled with the colors and patterns that were thrown by Cory.
Then...this afternoon Bethia delivered two black ram lambs. I'm not sure if they will stay black since Bethia is grey and so is Emmett, the ram. My oldest daughter was hoping for a nice ewe. Bethia has only delivered 2 girls in the 5 years that she has lambed. We kept one of her ewes. Pictures will come later.
Wow, what a day! It is nice to think that we can actually sleep all night tonight. We have 5 more to go. Lamb count: 7 rams and 5 ewes.

Monday, April 7, 2008

While we wait...

I can appreciate this chapter in Psalms even more now that we are shepherds also.

Psalm 23

" The Lord is my shepherd;

I have everything I need.

He lets me rest in green meadows;

he leads me beside peaceful streams.

He renews my strength.

He guides me along right paths,

bringing honor to his name.

Even when I walk

through the dark valley of death,

I will not be afraid,

for you are close beside me.

Your rod and your staff

protect and comfort me.

You prepare a feast for me

in the presence of my enemies.

You welcome me as a guest,

anointing my head with oil.

My cup overflows with blessings.

Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me

all the days of my life,

and I will live in the house of the Lord forever."

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller describes what each verse means in its relation to being a sheep with the shepherd.

There is an amazing hope in knowing the Good Shepherd!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Lamb count: 3 to 3

Yes, the count is now 3 ewes and 3 rams. At the 1:00am sheep check on Wednesday morning we found that Maisie had delivered a beautiful tri-colored katmoget ewe lamb. Within 15 minutes of our arrival she delivered a black ewe lamb. The lambs were both healthy and eager to find food. Once they were settled, we went home and crawled into the bed satisfied that another ewe was delivered.

This little girl on the left is Hidaway Farms Lucille Ball. The black ewe on the right is Hidaway Farms Clara Barton.
3 down- 9 to go! According to my calendar, we have about a week before more lambs are due.
It already feels like we have run a marathon during this past week! I can't imagine how we'll feel by the end of April. Once lambs are all here it will be shearing time for us.
We're looking forward to the next group of surprises! I love the colors of Shetlands, always a surprise!