Monday, March 31, 2008

Thanks Nancy and Sabrina!

Your Birthdate: December 5

You have many talents, and you are great at sharing those talents with others.

Most people would be jealous of your clever intellect, but you're just too likeable to elicit jealousy.

Progressive and original, you're usually thinking up cutting edge ideas.

Quick witted and fast thinking, you have difficulty finding new challenges.

Your strength: Your superhuman brainpower

Your weakness: Your susceptibility to boredom

Your power color: Tangerine

Your power symbol: Ace

Your power month: May

Justalit'l Shasta gives me girls!

The black smirslet ewe lamb
Above and below are the Ag krunet ewe lamb. Thoughts on this one?

Shasta gave me two six pound ewe lambs this morning. a black smirslet ewe lamb and an Ag krunet ewe lamb. Her markings are interesting huh? Next up I would have to say would be Cori, but then again I was proven wrong yesterday :)

Total so far 5 ewe lambs, 1 ram lamb, all sets of twins from mature ewes!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

I spoke too soon

Well no matter how i think the lambing order will be, they always mix it up. I brought the girls in early today for their grain mix as I didn't want any lambs outside. I've been watching diligently all day and all night both from in the barn and in the pasture to watch the girls. I jugged Cori and Shasta just in case they'd lamb as their udders are tight and their back ends are swollen with tails sticking out.

As I was feeding the mixture in the tubs, Maya starts doing that labor thing like Lavender faked last week. I thought to myself "gee look, now its Maya giving me more halucinating images". I went to go in the house to tell Rayna that I think Maya is in labor and I go back out and there is a smirslet grey katmoget ewe lamb standing in the center of the pen with Maya cleaning her off!!! I quickly jug her and the babe and she lays down and I went to call Rayna to tell her about the ewe lamb and I walk back to the jug to see her literally cannonball this cute little black krunet ram lamb out! They seem to be much smaller than Chloe's twins but time will tell. I think Jazz is BB BB but it'd be a nice surprise if he was carrying moorit!

Photos perhaps tomorrow when they are dried off a bit! Lambing has come full force today! WOHOO!!

Christmas II has arrived at White Pine Shetlands!

Chloe was one of the first three ewes I thought would lamb. Shasta and Cori are the other ones....
Chloe and her twin EWE lambs out of Jazz, the 87% UK ram out of Jericho. These girls are 59% UK bloodlines.

Light Grey Katmoget ewe lamb. She has tight crimpy fleece!

Dark Grey katmoget ewe lamb. Possibly emsket? More wavy fleece but I've seen these fleeces crimp up as they mature.

Well................Now we wait for the next girl to go!! What a way to start off the season! Last year I had twin ewe lambs for my first lambing also! Is this a sign of tradition?! :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

BOYS will be BOYS

PayDay the scurred boy. He's black....I'm guessing 'warm black" as his skin fleece is black.
Rolo with PayDay. Rolo keeps getting lighter. He was fawn for sure and is registered as such but perhaps he's going to be a mioget like his daddy Bourbon.
Heath the moorit. Boy the flash sure wrecks his color. He is the deepest colored moorit I've had to date (which is obviously not long, but most of my moorit girls are more red, versus mahogany)
Here is Barish the F1 Timothy. He has been rooing for weeks now and he looks ridiculous :) His horns are either super slow to grow or are Tea Cupped or scurred. Juliann, care to gander a guess yet?

Well i've found out I can no longer sit in the pen with the boys. I can only admire them over or through the fence. The "Napoleon complex" that all horned male shetlands have has started to get the better of them.

PayDay, Rolo and Jazz are all very friendly. Not obnoxious like the ewes are, but they are polite enough to come to the fence for scratching. Barish and Heath come up to eat out of my hand, but I don't normally have anything so they quickly back up. Hansel refuses to get close at all. That's ok! Different personalities.

I don't like to pet the boys too much, but I've learned if you only have two hands, only have two rams :) The one that gets left out bashes the five gallon pail you are sitting on, or worse, your leg. Even a friendly alpha drop to the floor by yours truly doesn't phase them, so I just dont' make it a habit to go into the pen anymore. At least not to sit down. They'll only get worse as they age. And these boys are only just going to be yearlings. Last year I sold Bourbon to Gail V. at about a yearling so I don't know how they'll mature past this time of year. Should be fun to see. Bourbon sure looked good!

Life and Death

There were three things I wanted to name this blog:
1. I'm done
2. Just my luck
3. What else

But I decided on this title after all my chores were done.

After my last post, I went outside to do evening chores. With my dad going from work right to bowling, I was in charge of all evening chores. What started out as routine ended in death.

Forty five minutes after I had last checked the goats in the barn I went in to give them their daily 'ration' of their feed/mineral. I noticed Krista had a head of a baby goat dangling from her behind. Upon further examination it had expired and was unable to get out due to both front feet being back, making natural kidding a big problem. Now Krista is an experience mom. She'd kidded 4 other years before kidding here. She's an old pro. Why this? Why now?

I called vet #1. Remember he's the one that doesn't return my calls. Figures he didn't answer, his wife did. I told her who i was and the situation ( i couldn't get my hands in to grab the leg) and her reply was ' well he's on another emergency call actually'. THAT WAS IT. I asked her 'well where? and how long will it be? who else can I call?" She didn't have answers. I nearly called her a name I only use in dog showing.

I called vet #2. He'd be right out (thank God!) What seemed like 72 hours later he appears, positions her back end up in the air, reaches in, grabs the legs and pulls the buckling out. He's not oversized, just a poor presentation. Another caramel, but a medium color, and another boy. I'm 0-2 on boys this year. I told him he had the hands of God. I sure couldn't get mine in there and he's about the same size as me!

After a long discussion with the vet over all my trials and tribulations with the goats, I thanked him and he thanked me (he should have for the 65 dollar emergency call plus 35 farm visit plus whatever it costs to pull the goat out in 7 seconds).

Now with a steaming head and mind, I walk out to feed the pregnant cows. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY out in the calving pasture is our eldest cow and matriarch of the herd (she's only eight) with a solid red heifer calf. Our first for the year!! And its my DAD's....guess I'll keep waiting.

Spring is coming and i'm still not ready!

Oliver and Mac

Zoe and Sadie

So many things flying through my fingers won't keep up with it :)

So the National Cardigan Welsh Corgi Specialty is coming up the middle of April. This will be Zoe's first show since the St Paul show in January. Her time has come to WIN. She and I spoke and discussed the 12 Reserve Winner's Bitch ribbons that hang on the wall. We need some Winner's Bitch ribbons now!! Ell will have her first show with her litter mate, Flash, at the National. I'm very excited to show with all the reputable, renowned, long time breeders in the club. I've been very blessed in the past year to have met many CWC breeders via email and our ShowCardi-L list. I've contacted most of them and hope that I"ll be able to find them in the crowd to introduce myself personally.

I'm pretty lucky!! This year I am road tripping most of the way with a friend from Iowa (share the gas expense), then staying with new friends (for free) in the trailer parking ON GROUNDS, and setting up for grooming with Ell's well known and well respected breeders at Pluperfect-Merrymoon-Puddleduck. I already have most of my nights booked with breeder's education, Annual Banquet, 'social hour', as well as getting to meet many of my dog's relatives and get to see the stud dog, Fudge, in person, as well as many other GREAT dogs. All the top dogs in the breed will be there, as well as first time puppies (My Ell included). I'm pretty pumped about being there to share in all the fun!! AND FOR SO LITTLE MONEY!

On our way home we are stopping at Gail Former's farm to see her sheep and set up, as well as the new lambs. It will be good to see Gail again. I always enjoy our time together. I learn so much!

I've started hallucinating.

Or my ewes are great actresses!!!

Lavender last night starting laying down, getting up and sniffing the ground, kicking her tummy, peeing a lot, tail out, and bleating ever so softly. I panicked, and was up every hour on the hour to check her. Yup, I definitely need a baby monitor. I was so confused as she didn't have an udder but thought maybe she was one of those ewes that didn't bag until she HAD the lambs. At any rate she still doesn't have any babies and I'm quite ticked off. I'm sure she is smug thinking ' YES! Chalk one more up for the girls!' The score must be Garrett 0, ewes 15. I'll never learn. I think I saw her high-five a couple of the girls on their way out to the pasture this I held the door open with one hand and a large mountain dew in the other hand.

Technically they are due at any time. I've been watching bellies and udders and back ends. Cori and Chloe are still the closest if I go only by udder size. MOST of the girls vulva's are getting quite fleshy but still the udders are not that big. At least a few weeks or more for them. Some of the yearling girls are so round that its difficult for them to lay down and rest comfortably. For both of our sakes I hope they all lamb soon. Then I can get back to full sleep. I walk around in a daze now.

Last week Taika the great escaper managed to OPEN the gate in their inside pen in the barn. They were maybe out for 2 hours total as I went to check them around 9pm. They (all 16 yearlings) had eaten an entire 50# bag of scratch feed (corn, oats, wheat) and 20# of oats from another container. The runny droppings are just plain gross. I haven't fed them ANY thing besides hay since then. AND i've finally learned to put that stuff immediately into the 55 gal plastic drums I have. They can't get into least I dont' think so.........

No calves to report either. I swear those AI heifers are going to POP at the seams pretty soon if they don't let those calves out.

How is the battle on your front?

Saturday, March 22, 2008


I really hate typing over something that I've already typed and then hit the wrong button and it vanishes forever. So I'm not going to do that :) I'll just say something new instead :)Here is Santa Maria's little girl i've 'coined' Tiny. She is itty bitty.

Momma and babe together....Tiny is just starting to 'popcorn' here
Here is Tiny a few days later resting under the heat lamp. Tonight when I was sitting in her jug with her and momma (and both were climbing all over me! Cute for Tiny, not so cute for Santa Maria) she got sleepy and decided to lay against me and take a nap. Talk about cute. When she woke up, she put her chin on my lap and looked at me and just stared. I'm not sure if that was a 'thank you for helping me get my mom back' or 'thanks for being so warm' or 'what in the heck are ya!! but i like ya!! :)

This is Nina 2 (for now). This was the only photo where she was looking at the camera....she's been running 100 mph around me in circles so I gave up :) Her eyes are NOT blue (not acceptable in Pygmies) but that is just from the flash on the camera.
This one is of Krista who is still 'in waiting'. I took 4 photos of her and on the final one she did this. I think it was a ' BLAH!! SEE LOOK!! I DID SOMETHING SILLY SO STOP TAKING PHOTOS!'

Monday, March 17, 2008

Ladies in waiting

Let's see more sheep, huh?
Jasmine, Moget Face, bred to Heath the moorit

Rachildas, bred to an F1 Orion son

PiLo the katmoget, bred to Forrest the gulmoget

Meleng, Shaela ewe, bred to Jazz the F1 Jericho

Lavender the dark fawn, bred to the F1 Jericho boy Jazz

These girls are all fatties. Ok. There. I said it. Well they are. But they have an excuse...they ARE pregnant! And by the looks of it they are all going to have some hefty twins (maybe trips?) All these girls are two years old or older so I'm hoping that they'll all twin. Some of them like Cori are so huge and have udders. Others have very swollen rear ends and some walk with their tails stuck straight out like they have sticks up their butts. All signs of labor, but alas, i'm probably just hallucinating huh? Or they are all trying to trick me. Last year I thought for sure Jasmine and Cleo were going to lamb weeks before they did. I did the calculations and they are due around the 26th of March, give or take a few days. So really within the next few days I could see some early girls. And I would think I would have to, with the way they plod along and moan and groan when they get up and lay down. I'm proud of 'ma boys' as they were quite from the gate last fall :)

This is Chloe a homozygous Katmoget bred to Jazz
Peep the musket from Gail Former, bred to Forrest the gulmoget

This is Cleo demonstrating how to pose for a proper neck scratch!

Cori, my shorest and smallest mature ewe, with the biggest udder and belly right now. She is bred to Jazz.

KitKat my fawn katmoget from last year. She is bred to Heath for hopefully some soft dark moorits or kats


I really have had it with the local vets around here. Ever since I'd had the goats and sheep I have had to literally bribe, drag or drug the vets to even consider coming out there. And yet on days I don't need them I see them in their trusty pick up trucks driving all over this county.

Their fear of the unknown or fear of these species or me has got to quit. Isn't it their job to help??!! Isn't that what I pay them for? Its not like i DON"T pay?

When I had a goat the first year having kidding problems I called 12 vets in FIVE counties to try to have them come out. Goats are on the bottom of the totem pole in case anyone is wondering.

Today, a simple blood draw for mineral testing in the goats. All they do is prick the vein in the neck with a needle and collect blood for a red top and a purple top. I called the closest large animal vet. Their test tubes expired in 1997. They don't know what to tell me. UGH

I call my equine vet who by the way told me that she'd help me with the goats and sheep. After she got married she's been acting strange and has all kinds of excuses why not to come out. Last time it was 'geez Garrett I just don't know what to do with those animals....its been 10 years since i've dealt with sheep or goats". Well honey read up! She's lost my equine support at this point. Today she said she had a posse meeting an hour away and "can't" tonight. Isn't that was EMERGENCY rates are for as well as farm visit fees???? She said she's booked all day tomorrow as well. Give me a break!

The third vet has refused to return my phone calls, will not answer the phone, is never in the vet office when I stop in or call, and yet I see him driving all over the place. He is the one who has been doing large animal (cattle, horses, GOATS and SHEEP, swine and poultry) for over 30 years!!!

I'm about ready to post their names all over the internet and newspapers as incompitent vets and that no one should use them and give a list of reasons why.

They are vets, they, like doctors are on call at all times, emergency or not, especially if i'm willing to PAY for that extra.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Supper Time!

My Altenburg Trumpeters are seen feeding here at their supper time. These are all birds that are F1-F4 bred down from imports. Only three domestic birds were introduced for colors a few generations ago and they were only around 20 years old or so since they were imported. The breed fortunately hasn't changed much in past 50 years. Thankfully, the 'trumpeting' voice has been retained and refined. This is what they are known for, as well as a multitude of colors. Its true they kind of look like barn pigeons, but in all reality, they are a voice breed, not known for their fancy ornaments like other trumpeter breeds, which unfortunately, the voice has all but been lost.

I took over 100 photos today (I took the Nancy K. way of farming)(always camera ready for that perfect photo) and have lots to blog about! I sat with the girls tonight and most of them came up for their scratches. I think not only are they more' lovey' at this late pregnancy, but they also cannot get to their itches under the wool. Buttons nearly fell over when I was scratching her brisket. Maya nearly knocked me over when she found out I not only scratch necks and chins but I also scratch the spine and ribs LOL. They were too funny.

I started feeding the 'maternity' mix that Cynthia whipped up. I has Beet Pulp as the main ingredient and the mixture is stirred up good and then soaked in warm water for an hour. it has other things like oats, soybeans, kelp, mineral, vitamins and DE blended in. Kind of a 'forced' feeding of minerals. No worries about over feeding. I weighed all girls and the ratio of what to feed was based on how big they were. WOW are there some hefty girls! 100 pounds or more for some, and wow are they i suppose if i were a lady I wouldn't want to be called any name but skinny.........but let's just say these girls haven't missed many meals :) They are so pregnant they cannot run down the snow packed trail that leads to their 'new' spot where the hay is fed is morning. They are getting pretty smart....scanning the pasture to see where they be any 'non white' lumps. Hey I guess they didn't survive awful conditions on the Shetland Isles on luck :)

This is also my 2nd favorite time of the year (lambing is first, breeding groups 3rd) when they have their full fleece in. They all look so regal (and they KNOW it too!). The day of shearing they all seem so embarrassed and man do they look TINY! I was thinking tonight while getting overrun with the selfish girls wanting scratches, that some of the girls are looking so BIG and so much FLEECE. Then realized that I still own the smallest sheep breed and I should be lucky I don't have Suffolk or some other huge breed.

I tried getting photos of the baby goats but geez those two girls are FAST! They were either running around and jumping off of their mom's backs or standing at my feet waiting to have their tiny backs scratched. They are too cute.

We also moved cattle to their calving pen. Not many, as the AI'ed girls didn't seem to take very well this year. I was using old semen (from the 70's) on many of them so wasn't thinking it'd all be vital. So there will be more due the end of April and May, instead of March like most years.

Photos to come of all of this. PROMISE!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Successful Update!

Went out to do evening chores and saw that the little girl was nursing, and Santa Maria was licking and calling for her. THANK GOODNESS!! And thanks Santa Maria for being such a good mom! :)

Under the Old Oak Tree

After my emotional morning, I had to go sit with the mature girls. Watching them be gluttons and eat as fast as their mouths can move, somehow gives me a feeling of comfort? :)

Just sitting and waiting for them to come close to say hi, or to see if there is more food magically appearing in my hand, seems to pick my spirits up. I realize death is a part of life, and both are a part of farming. I've grown up having to deal with it since I can remember. Most of the time it gets better with age, sometimes it doesn't.

While sitting there watching the vacuuming up of the grass hay by the mature girls, I was able to see some of them had obvious udders. I could SEE them. Even with their full fleeces. The one with the largest udder is Cori, a soft black primitive, double coated girl that is bred to Jazz. I think the fleece type from the single x primitive will hopefully give me a nice soft intermediate fleece to work with. I tend to favor the intermediate but again, realize there is place for all fleece types. Cori at age 5 had a micron of 24, so soft indeed! Again I must wait to see the results of this years' fleece samples. I'm excited to say the least!

Sunday we will be moving cows to their calving pen and adding loads of round straw bales for them to lay on, as well as getting the jugs ready for the girls. Tomorrow i speak at a Horticulture Day two of the four sessions about pruning. I normally go to LEARN things but I guess this year they wanted me to teach. I think there are a hundred people more wise and more experienced than I to talk about this subject but I guess they will not change their mind...



Being a true farmer is the pits sometimes. Your income is based on what you produced, not a side hobby or side business. If you lose an animal, its lost profit. That animal is to be revenue to purchase other things such as minerals, feed, or other breeding stock.

My goats have been an emotional part of my year. Today Santa Maria, one of my originals, proven mother, ferocious protector, had twins. I found both of them OUT of the jug that she was sharing with Pinta. I KNEW i need to seperate them but didn't have one single thing to seperate them with. not even plywood or anything.

The buck was a gorgeous dark caramel color, the girl, a black agouti. They were out of Solar who carried the dark caramel gene (its highly sought after in the show pygmy world).

To give you an idea of our jugs. There are three permanent jugs. All are made of hog panels and are on a 6" high elevated area from the regular loafing area of the barn. The panels are secured along the bottom with 1"x2"'s and are about 8' x 10'. Each pen is then able to be divided again as needed into two 4'x5' pens. I normally have all goats kid in the 4'x5' and then as they get older, allow them to mingle with the other small jug and therefore making the pen 8'x10' again.

The gates all are about 2" further out from the elevated area due to the frame they are built on. SOMEHOW or SOMEONE (Pinta) pushed that bugger down and he was found dead stuck upside down in the 2" area with one leg on the jug floor seemingly trying to get back up.

The girl was pushed out in a tiny area that was not secured down. The mom (Santa Maria) was standing next to her on the other side of the fence calling for her and the baby girl was SCREAMING she was so hungry. I put her in the pen and SM wouldn't even look at her. I moved them to their own jug, new straw, heat lamp and all and she would not look at her. I rubbed that little boy down for 15 minutes pleading for him to 'come to' as some pigeons, piglets and kids do....even though they 'look' dead and are frozen, they still come back to life. God's little miracles. This wasn't working. And the girl was still hungry.

I ran to the house and made up some colostrum specifically for goats and brought the nutri-drench just incase. I have a kid/lamb nipple that screws onto a pop bottle. Well she latched on to that bottle and sucked away until her belly was nearly bursting. Good. Now she has something in her. I hope she gets hungry enough to latch onto mom. SM is normally a great mom and I hope that she realizes who she is as I rubbed the placenta all over her again......then again goats aren't known for reasoning or thinking too hard :)

I'll keep you posted. I am attaching a photo of the DEAD kid and the live one to show you how tiny they are and the color of the buckling. I again am sorry if anyone is offended but its part of farming. OK so the photo isn't true color b.c. there is a heat lamp AND flash and it looks like straw color.

Hopefully my two registered does, Sharon and Krista are able to 'adopt' the little girl if SM keeps ignoring her. so far she isn't mean, she does call to it but she doesn't go and lick it off like she should be.

...............time will tell...............

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Fleece samples ready to go!

I tried to be a big creative and move the color spectrum from white thru grays and muskets to moorits to blacks and back again. Call me crazy.

All 31 samples are headed to Texas A & M tomorrow. For under 40 dollars I get to know all the ewes on my farm. Not a bad investment!! Plus since I've been doing it since my first lambs this will be their third test. I can see if anything has changed over their three fleeces and see if there was stress, or other things that contributed to their changes, if any.

I was SO pleasantly surprised to see some GORGEOUS tiny UK type crimp on some of the Sandstone granddaughters. His line is known for not having much crimp until almost 10-11 months old, which is where these girls are. I'm VERY excited about them. Some of the Minwawe bloodlines (hey Peeps listen up) are also very crimpy and i'm very excited about them as well.

Unfortuantely some of the girls feel coarser, but then again I won't know for sure until I get the micron reports back. Time will tell who stays and goes. Something has to give as I'll have lambs that will replace their moms or other ewes in the flock this fall. 30 is probably my maximum ewe level for the time being so I'd say 7-8 ewes will need to be moved out to accomodate the potential ewe lambs that will be staying here. So many plans, so little time!

I noticed several of the girls had a definite rise line in their fleeces, while others did not. Hopefully I can get the shearer out here sometime in April or hopefully before.

SPRING has finally arrived here

I think I can watch the snow melt its going that fast. I'd say we lost over a foot in the past 48 hours. Yesterday morning I could not see a little spruce tree. Today I can see its lowest branch. the afternoon rain I think helped a bit, or the fact that it hasn't dipped below 32 for this long.

my spring came this afternoon!
Pinta had a single white caramel doeling. Her father is Caspian, the buck I got from WA state (see Michelle it IS possible to get animals to and from the west coast.....) She looks exactly like Nina did, the 3rd original goat on my farm. I had Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. They all had the same father, but Nina had a different mom (the mother to Pinta and Santa Maria's mom) Makes sense? Good. Caspian was a light caramel.
This little girl has no brown tone to her due to her mother's 'off' color and not recognized color. This little cutie couldn't have come at a better time. After some emotional losses in the goats, I think I have a handle on it and its good to see a healthy jumping little girl. Pinta surprised me with just baby after twinning the past 3 years. I think its because she's kinda hefty :) But I still love her!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

BFL ewe lambs

Isn't it interesting to see two very related ewe lambs with two very different looks? Callaway is the finer boned, lighter build, shorter fleeced girl, Kershope is the huge beast with the longer fleece. They are related quite heavily and haven't figured out the inbreeding coefficient, but they are quite line bred similiarly. And yet they are quite different in appearance.


They are by far my most friendly ewe lambs from last year (also included is the white shetland girl, Rahu) and they all come and stand at my side and look up at me longingly. They don't want to be pet, but are waiting to see when the oat and alfalfa pellet pail will magically appear.


These two girls are so laid back, mellow and carefree....well except when its supper time, then they push and shove to the feed! There will be room this fall for a few more BFLs. I have two natural colored ewes from Brenda on hold until after lambs are weaned and i'm hoping to get a white ram that carries natural color, as well as another white ewe lamb or two. That should make a good start to the BFL group, and I'm hoping to take several of the shetland ewes that might micron too high to 'fix' and put them in with the BFL to get some mules next year. Time will tell.


After our first significant snowfall (4" wohoo!) last night, and a long morning of cleaning up the wet heavy stuff. I got home to a gorgeous blue sky and lots of warmth coming from the sunshine. Although it only reads 19 degrees currently on the thermometer, I was out in a t shirt and pants, and a hat sitting on a log in the mature ewes pen. Lots of scratches later, I wanted to get some photos of the girls and I had to wait patiently for them to lose interest in me.

Those photos will come in the next blog or two.

This one is for the boys!

Remember Jazz? Well we fondly refer to him here as Mr Jazz Hands. Don't ask me why, but it stuck. He sure is looking like Mr. Universe huh? His lamb fleece tests were AFD 19.8, SD 4.4, CV 22.2, and %>thirty on .9! Yes POINT NINE!! I'm really excited to see what his yearling fleece will be tested at. The entire group (all 37 animals) will be having a fleece sample sent to Texas A & M. I've normally gone through Yocum but don't have THAT much extra money to have them tested. The down side is I'll have to wait at least a month through Texas to get the results back. I wish they'd be like Yocum and send them via email...

I digress.

The second photo is of most of the other boys. Clockwise from the top left is Hansel, Heath, PayDay and Rolo. Barish was standing under foot when I was taking all the photos. He's not pushy or rude but stands and waits to be paid attention to. The camera can't get far enough away from his nose!

Again these boys lamb fleeces tested as follows:
Rolo: AFD 21.9, SD 6.7 , CV 30.6 %> thirty 12.1
Heath: AFD 22.4, SD 5.9 , CV 26.3, %>thirty 8.5
PadDay: AFD 23.3, SD 8.8 , CV 37.8, %>thirty 17.5
Barish: AFD 24.5, SD 6.4, CV 26.1, %> thirty 15.6
Hansel: AFD 27.8 , SD 10.3, CV 37.1, %> thrity 34.0

Jazz will more than likely stay here indefinetly, unless by chance there is a ram lamb that comes along with a better test and look to him :) Barish will probably go as I am AI'ing several more ewes to Timothy this fall, and he is a 1/2 poll. PayDay's fleece is exquisite (there i finally used the word) and if he isn't sold as a ram, I'll probably keep him as a whether as his fleece is amazing, even though the micron is a tad high. Heath is not NASSA registered so he will hopefully go to a fiber flock, and Rolo I'm undecided about. I may keep him around because I love his length of fleece, his presence (like Jazz's) and his color keeps getting lighter at the skin. Hansel will more than likely be going to the butcher when he gets big enough. Not only is he the meaniest and biggest boy of the group, but his fleece isn't what I am looking for in my Shetlands. he also still doesn't like me, no matter how many treats I try to persuade him with!

Of course all of this could change depending on what I raise for lambs this year. These boys are not the largest but then again I have to remember they are only 9 or 10 months old and still have a long ways to go to grow up and be big boys :)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Growing up

Just a few days over 5 months old. Her first show will be the national towards the end of April. I don't know if we are ready for that, but it will be an experience nonetheless! Isn't she looking STUNNING!? *sigh* my little girl is growing up! :)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Midwestern Bio-Ag

This is a great company for those who wish to "go organic" or all natural.

I am not certified organic, I'm not certified natural, because we have in the past used conventional fertilizers on our fields. But I can tell you that all of my animals are fed feeds that are as natural as can be, are not fed hormones or injected with such things. I can tell you where they came from and what they've eaten.

I digress.

So when I got my first sheep from Cynthia Allen in Cazenovia, Wisconsin, I decided that if what works for her, would work for me, and why change what the sheep are used to?

Last thursday as I was at the closest MidWest Bio-Ag dealer, we were discussing how to fertilize my fields and pastures the clean and organic way, and how it will overall affect my feed and animals in a positive way. I'm hooked! Last fall we had taken feed and soil samples. While some of the numbers were well within what I thought was in our soil and feed, other numbers scared me. We were quite deficient in certain minerals!

So this is why I feed ALL of the things free choice:

1. Sea Kelp. Not only is it good for them, its good for all livestock and the manufacturers are taking wind of it by increasing the prices by nearly 25% in the past year. They are now $42 a 50# bag and I know that with my 45 animals eating it, they've gone through about 12 bags in the past year, give or take a little that was spilled and swept up.

2. Redmond Sea Salt. Another free choice, single ingredient. They go through this mostly in the fall for some reason. It tends to collect moisture from time to time, so just check it and replace as necessary. I'm so impressed with this product and how well they eat it. I'll write the story on it from the back of the bag;

" Many years ago when the mountains were being formed, near what is now known as Redmond, Utah, there existed a body of seawater. Over time it dried up and captured within the crystallization of the salt the wholesome minerals, which were in that pristine, unpolluted ocean. This ancient sea salt deposit was then buried under layers of sediment protecting it from modern man-made pollutions.

Redmond minerals simply takes this natural mineral sea salt, crushes and screens it to size, and makes it available as the best livestock salt on the market today. It is available in seven screen sizes as well as in a pressed block mineral salt lick.

Many producers report that when livestock are given this natural mineral, they refuse to eat other salts. They also report other benefits to their animals from feeding this natural mineral salt."

3. Sheep Mineral (from Midwest Bio Ag) The minerals in this mix are quite nice, and again fed free choice and as a single ingredient (are you counting tubs? we are up to three so far)
Calcium around 12%, Phosphorus at 6%, Magnesium 1%, Potassium 1%, Iron, Iodine, Manganese, Selenium, Sulfur, Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E are all in this great bag of mineral. The sheep and goats are all feed this free choice and again it depends on the time of year that they eat it. They all seem to know when they need something.

4. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) blended with Di-Cal, Vitamin A and D, and Dynamin. This concoction is a 2:1:1:1/2 blend of DE, Di-Cal, Dynamin and Vit A & D respectively. Each component does something in its own way to help the sheep. Most notably the DE is a parasite controller, either dusted on or fed. Its not the greatest tasting, so its blended with better tasting ingredients. The Dynamin can be googled to all of the great reasons to feed it. All natural again.

5. My newest tub is a midwest bioAg "SK Blend" for animals on pasture. Its a blended mixture of 50% salt, 45% sea kelp and is a great replacement for the Redmond Salt if unavailable. I figured I'd try a different salt approach that added in the Kelp (they eat the whole bin of kelp somedays...thought the salt would slow them down). Rather than replace the salt, I figured I'd just add another bin and they seem fairly keen to the idea. This blend has selenium, magnesium, sulfur, sodium.

When the animals are accustomed to being fed a certain way, I do not have to worry about the soil or feed being 'lacking' in any way, as for the most part the free choice minerals will help to balance the need. Of course there is no better way than amending the soil.

As a nutrionist, you realize that ruminants can only digest around 30% of what they need through free choice minerals, versus 80% from the hay/grass/pasture. its always better to have the minerals and vitamins in the feeds you are feeding, but if you can't, the free choice is better than hoping and guessing. And if they don't eat it, they either don't need it, or don't know what to do with it. Try adding some of these things to your loafing area and see how your sheep enjoy them :)

Monday, March 3, 2008

My garden

Eat your heart out Michelle! LOL

I saw a post of Michelle at Boulderneigh's newly weeded and planted veggie garden. WOW is all I could muster. In the photo here you will see my tomato stakes in the background, with my apple tree to the left. In front is the obvious 8 ft tall snow pile. Talk about your insulation :)

Spoiled Sheep

We finally were able to secure 30 more round bales of mostly grass hay. The yearling girls have been seperated from the mature ewes to give them a little extra boost with some oats and beet bulp and such, while they don't have to fend off the big girls. That leaves 16 in one pen, 15 in another and the 6 boys that I have left.

Feeding the 'new' hay to the goats proved futile. They still haven't touched it and its day three. I have been feeding each twosome (I seperated all my goats into pairs) some goat chow to help with the crappier feed, but they refuse to eat the grass. I think they are spoiled.

The adult ewes were brought into the barn to feed and although they didn't appear to LIKE the new hay, they all had mouths full, even while they were baaaaing and complaining. They know better than to pass up any kind of food right?

The yearlings were all quite upset by this and as of 6am this morning they still hadn't eaten any of the hay. When I let them outside for the day I brought their hay from last night outside and they ate it, probably because they were so hungy, but the goats still won't touch it.

I think I"ve created monsters..........

Saturday, March 1, 2008

No Puppies :(

Maggie is milking it for belly scratches from my sister and my mom.

Maggie was ultrasounded this past friday for the second time. Last week, they thought they saw 2-4 sacs but couldn't see any movements or heartbeats. This week they saw nothing and heard nothing. I'm not completely surprised. Maggie had a prolonged heat cycle and didn't come up in Progesterone until after two weeks (typically 5-7 days after initial discharges start). There is no shipping via UPS for Perham on a saturday or sunday, and the vet clinic is closed wednesdays, saturdays and sundays. As the stud dog breeder said, she isn't surprised either with all the walls we had to climb over to get the semen to me, get her inseminated and then get her inseminated on the right days. I'm bummed, but not sad. Its one less thing to have to worry about.

I haven't emailed the potential puppy buyers yet. I'm quite bummed. I had a really GREAT group of people lined up for the puppies and they would have made amazing homes for these puppies. They did their research and they really like the breeding, better than any others that were on the ground or in the planning stages. That makes me feel good that people agreed with my breeding choices and especially that they made it so hard to pick just 6-8 great homes.

On the downside I was hoping to keep a boy and a girl from this litter. Its not everyday that someone offers you a bitch to use for a breeding. Maggie will be going home on Monday where she will be Steve's lap dog again and they will try for a litter of red pups on her next heat cycle which will be sometime in June or July.

I cannot complain though. With two amazing girls to show now (Zoe and Ell) I am sitting pretty good for the future and I don't think anyone can stand in my way with two great girls like this :) I'm still really lucky!

Available sheep

With my work load continuing to pile up, and less time to spend with the sheep, I am offering the following: My entire flock of BlueFaced ...