Sunday, February 28, 2010

FIRST LAMBS of 2010!!!


Last night my friend Rob came and helped collect fleece samples to be sent off to Texas A&M. Yes 85 samples. Even the Texel and the Shetland-Cheviot crosses got collected. Mostly morbid curiosity as to how the medium wools micron.

I noticed no odd pre labor behavior by ANY of the sheep, and thought maybe Cross Wind Bea was in early contractions. Nope, just chewing some cud. I swear I will them to go into labor.

Since the earliest they could lamb was March 1st, I honestly didn't' think one would lamb before hand! All of my ewes that were ground bred this year, are now two year olds, and are all first time mothers. None of them were bred last year when exposed to Burma, my natural colored ram from Stephen Rouse.

I was greeted when I opened the barn door, to two distinct distress calls. Uh oh. These are lamb distress calls! I went to the BFL loafing pen, deeply bedded last night with lots of oat straw, and there were two lambs mingling with the ewes. One was loudly protesting that no ewe would stand still long enough to find a nipple. The other was laying off to the side of the pen with her back legs sticking straight out behind her. Neither were licked off, and both were very hungry. None of the ewes were fessing up to having the lambs either, so I had to do a butt check and found the one with some blood on her backside. It was Beechtree Kiloran.

Some of you may remember my post last year about my very first BFL who lambed. For a recap following this link:

As tradition continues here, my second BFL lambing ever and the first time mother, now a two year old is completely uninterested in her lambs. *sigh*. So to the jugs we go, lambs under each arm. I get the heat lamp installed and working, and then bring in Kiloran and halter tie her to the side of the pen. I then take baling twin and tie it around her loin area and then also another set under her armpits and around so she cannot move.

The little girl was a bit chilled so I sat under the heat lamp and wrapped her in my jacket. I then took this photo. Shortly after she fell asleep, while her brother, madly stopping his feet, was trying to find a nipple. I had tried to assist, but he seemed very stubborn (like a Brown Swiss bull calf) in finding the nipple on his own!

After a quick nap, the ewe lamb jumped out of my arms and loudly thrashing worked her way over, unsteadily to mom.

Here is the ram lamb......he's thinking "dum, de, doo....WOW this is great stuff! I can't believe this is so good!"

"If I could only eat all the.....hey! Excuse me! I was nursing on that great stuff!"

"Hey! What are you laughing about?! That was MY nipple!"
As sometimes is with our calves who are quite large, their legs are sometimes in a funny position after birth as they were crammed inside the cow. I am guessing this ewe lamb is the same way and after a day or so, will be able to stand for longer periods of time. The ram lamb is chasing his mother around the jug (I've released her to eat for a while, and will retie her again in a bit)

I think once she realized they were nursing, that it felt GOOD to let them nurse, she was ok with them and did not fuss much, but she still isn't calling to them and claiming them. Proud papa is Sheltering Pines Burma!

Since Ell my bitch is due to whelp any day, any hour, I'm going to jug a few other BFLs that look much closer to lamb than Kiloran did by the diameter of their vulva and swelling of the tail heads. I'd rather have them lamb in jugs, than in the loafing pen and having multiple births, with lambs screaming running around the pen when I arrive in between checks with Ell.

Its going to be a very busy week!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

BFL Bad Luck already and I haven't even started lambing!

After finishing up with hoof trimming the mature rams today (and rooing the necks on Jazz and Pogo) I walked through the barn and spotted some pink hanging out of one of the BFLs. It wasn't the pink that is part of the placenta that makes your body jump in excitement. It was the kind of a vaginal prolapse that makes your heart race with anxiety and fear.

I've only seen two prolapses in cows when I was REALLY little. One the vet sewed up and we sold her. the other one sewed up and reattached itself and the cow had three more calves after that with no issues.

I didn't even know sheep could have it. But I guess that shows my naivety :)

The vet came out, did a shoe string tie after getting it back in. Since Nubia hasn't lambed yet, he said I MUST be there when she lambs as the string is tied tight enough so she can't push it back in, but she can only urinate through it. If I'm not there when she lambs, the lamb will be unable to come out. Once the lambs are out I'm supposed to retie it tight, into knots, and then 10 days later take the string out completely.

This makes me extremely nervous. They are always lambing between 3-6 am, the hardest time of the day for me to be awake...either staying up, or waking up. Its a known fact. It makes me nervous as Ell is due to whelp this week, and the BFLs start to lame pretty much any time after march 1st, if they would go early. And since most of my BFLs are first time momma's this year, their udders are not all huge and plump, and some i know can bag up hours before lambing, or even afterwards.

Any advice from you more seasoned shepherds? As if I needed one more thing to keep me up at night and worrying about

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shearing Date

Anyone interested in coming up to watch/help with my shearing day, the date has been set for FRIDAY, March 12, 2010. I had planned on the first weekend in March, but my dog Ell, is due to whelp that weekend and I want to be available to her every moment of that weekend.

I realize many will work on Friday, but that is when the shearer was available as his weekends are booked through April :)

Shearing will start at 8 or 8:30 am. Coffee, cider, juice and snacks will be available for all who attend!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

BFL photos

The other day I had a few moments to snap some photos of the BFLs. Below is Cross Wind Bea, with amazing reach and drive (I've been around dog shows far too much! :) ) I moved them into a closer pen to the barn to watch them now as they are quite pregnant, and she was trying to find her old pen and was dashing about the pen :)
Below the natural colored one is Beechtree GlenLuce, she was Reserve Champ in the NC BFL show at Jefferson last fall. The white head looking is Beechtree Kershope.
A group photo of 9 of the 10, although some of them are hiding.
Another shot of 9. The sun was gloriously bright that afternoon!
Another shot of Beechtree Kershope.
Bea on the move again, and a few of the other ladies.
Three of the BFLs from Stephen Rouse. ShelteringPines Catalonia, ShelteringPines Morovia aka "Ears" and Beechtree Kearlsey, who is Morovia, Kershope, Prima Facie and Sine Qua Non's mother (I like her get so much I had to get her too!)
Lambs are due around March 5th or later, and these girls are carrying big twins, or triplets, or are greedy, fat girls :) Fingers crossed for multiples!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Shetlands Available

I am compiling my 'for sale' list of sheep available.

I'm planning on traveling to Gettysburg, PA the last week of April, and also Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR in June. Sheep can be transported to those destinations. Ewes will not be ready to move until the June transport or later.

FirthofFifth Angus - dark emsket krunet gulmoget - S27909 twin, born 3.7.08, 25% UK

UnderTheSon Arapaho - dark moorit - S26588 twin, born 3.27.08 42% UK

FirthofFifth Barish - gray katmoget - poll carrier - F1 Timothy -S25042 twin, born 3.31.07 53% UK

WhitePine Uphaz - smirslet sokket musket - F1 Minder S29977 twin, born 3.27.09 69% UK

Micron reports, prices, fleece descriptions etc are available privately.

Ewes: (available after weaning of lambs)

Justalit'l Chloe - homozygous fawn katmoget - F2 Minder (Bartok daughter) S15371 single. 31%UK. This ewe I have really used heavily on AI, having had her bred to Greenholme Holly, Shirehill Minder, and Todhill Jericho (at Cynthia's). She is a 4" fleece intermediate fleeced ewe with more wool on tail than hair, but has hair and proper length of tail and fluke shape. She has given me three ewes and ram, all of them I"ve retained. I'm also borrowing her jericho daughter that Cynthia owns. She is going to be 7 years old this year but she is going strong and very healthy. She deserves to be used in another flock. She carries spots. CV of 20.7. Highly improvable. Friendly.

RYL Rachildas - Awt/Ag white ewe - 13%UK S18143, twin. Rachildas will be 8 this year. I"ve kept her two white ewes and a white ram from her out of Orion from last year. This year she is bred to Jazz. Another 'foundation' ewe with wonderful conformation, hardy, healthy and a great mom. Her Ag lambs are always spotted (bersugget) so she also carries spots as well. My 2nd favorite ewe on the farm is her daughter Rahu who is out of Forrest. Rachildas is another intermediate 4" fleece with a CV of 22. Highly improvable.

FirthofFifth Evidence of Autumn - mioget S20267 twin, born 4.22.05. She gave me a gorgeous pair of mioget lambs out of Orion last year. Typey Shetland ewe with intermediate fleece.

Justalit'l Shasta - Ag/Aa Gray smirslet flecket horned - 25%UK S21032, born 4.15.05 twin. Has some 'mane' behind her ears. Conformation lovely, great mom, solid, healthy build. Friendly.

Minwawe Dark Chocolate - black krunet domestic ewe with intermediate fleece. Conformation is outstanding. S28418. born 3.18.08

Minwawe Flopsy - moorit ewe. conformation is excellent, intermediate domestic ewe. In most of Mary Ellen's pedigrees. Great mom, friendly. born 4.12.02 twin. carries spots. proven sound ewe.

Minwawe Sea Breeze - moorit smirslet sokket, intermediate fleece, domestic ewe. twin. S27945.

Sheltering Pines Snow Cloud - smirslet gray katmoget - intermediate fleece. dam was a primitive true spotted emsket. She produces loud bling. improvable. CV of 22.5

WhitePine Castle Rock - F2 Jericho. gray katmoget S27559 twin. born 3.31.08. Retaining her sister and her daughter.Lovely black face

WhitePine Columbine - S 27562 black long silky intermediate AFD of 20. twin, born 4.7.08. Was a bottle baby and is SUPER friendly and sweet. loves to sit on your lap (if there is room). F2 Jericho.

WhitePine Twix - long moorit iset intermediate fleece. twin born 4.25.07. S26418. Her lamb fleece was crimpy and a gorgeous dark moorit. She went iset after her first shearing. Some people like it. I prefer not to use it in my breeding program.

Minwawe RedBud - long intermediate emsket fleece. Domestic. born 4.5.07 single. AFD of 22.4 as a two year old. Smaller ewe.

I think everyone who enjoys the diversity in Shetlands can find something in here that they like. This is just the preliminary round. There will be more added after micron reports and lambs are born. Some I'm waiting for a ewe lamb that is better to replace their moms. I'm hoping that I have more AI ewe lambs this year to choose from :)

Today my dad and I vaccinated everyone for CD/T and trimmed hooves. With the longer walks of the ewes this past year, I'm happy to say that the hooves need minimal trimming. Not surprisingly the rams had the longer hooves as they have less distance to travel to eat :). Spoiled rotten too.

For anyone that has read this far, I may be willing to part with my beloved Jazz. With four gray katmoget ram lambs to hopefully use this fall, Jazz is getting less and less ewes each year. I have retained about 11 of his ewe lambs the past few years and hope to keep a couple more from him from 2010's lamb crop. Please inquire.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I was out on this glorious 31 degree day, with snow melting off the roofs, water pooling, and gorgeous blue sky. Its weird that its February. Typically February is the coldest, windiest month of the year for us. NEVER temps above 20 degrees for a HIGH, and our lows are always under 0.

I had just a few moments to stare at the BFL girls in their winter paddock. I don't spend a ton of time out there because its the furthest from the house, but I was PLEASANTLY surprised to see large udders and swollen vulvas on 7 of the 10 ewes! their due dates start March 3rd but I'm sure they'll be sooner. Two of the other ewes were AI'ed and aren't due until April 5th, so haven't started showing yet, and the 10th ewe, is Llandewwi, who doesn't appear to be bred. Again. She may have been caught in the clean up pen, so that wouldn't be until the 3rd week of April, so time will tell!

I don't know what I was thinking but lambing STARTS the same time that Ell is due to whelp her puppies! Egads!!

But its nothing like LAMBS to signal the beginning of spring! Even if we are a balmy 31 and I was doing chores in a t-shirt!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Spinning Retreat

Several weekends ago now, I went and tested out about a half dozen different kinds/brands of wheels at this spinner's retreat. I was able to spin up some wool on several of the wheels and it was fun to meet so many new people who enjoyed spinning and raising fiber animals!

They were impressed with how fast my spinning was improving. I still didn't think it was wonderful, but they said I could easily make a sweater out of the yarn I spun. I said that would have to be another year :)

I've made many contacts for people who wanted to come to my shearing day. They were so excited to hear I raised BFLs in both white and natural colored. I even have a lady who is wanting to BUY a white BFL ram from me this year! That makes FOUR people who are wanting a BFL for mule production! This lady raises Icelandics and Wensleydales, and is excited to see what the BFL can do for both fiber and meat purposes.

They weren't really excited about the Shetland sheep, (yes they all knew what it was) and when I showed them a few fleeces I brought along they were more excited to come to shearing day! I feel rejuvenated that my goals with the Shetlands is spot on. And all of these ladies wash, card, spin and knit their own fleeces!

I have between 10-12 people promising to come up for shearing day. I just have to confirm once again the date of the shearing. Once that is done, I have flyers lined up to be mailed out to the local guilds, and yarn shops to come join in on the fun. Coffee and hot chocolate will be served as well as some munchies.

The wheels I've tried I've liked. Especially the Louette S75. I"ve heard others like the S10 and also the Lendrum brand. I learned on a Majacraft Suzie Professional, which worked well, but I think its out of my price range. I'm also amazed at some wheel they called the 'rose' it Majacraft too? Price has doubled in the last 10 years. What a bummer.

If anyone knows of an S75 that works well that you'd want to sell, or a Lendrum wheel, do let me know!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A fine day

I'd like to post about my spinning retreat but I am WAY TO EXHAUSTED to think too far ahead or back for it.

Today I traveled to the MN/WI border to pick up my two rams that were being borrowed by my good friends Cynthia and Christopher. Burma, my natural colored BFL ram and my F1 mioget Shetland ram Ephraim. I also delivered a puppy to Sharrie and one to a gal who flew in from Oregon to pick her up. Two pups down, one more to place. If you are looking for a wonderful herding dog who will love you and cuddle you his entire life, let me know. :)

It was really fun to see Cynthia and Christopher and have some coffee and catch up with them. its amazing it had been three months since I had last seen them!

Burma and Ephraim also I think were glad to be home tonight. Burma is turning into such a handsome boy....almost being two now. He's really filling out and is SUCH a gentleman. I lead him through the barn and alleys with just a finger under the chin. And he's never been halter trained :) I love the BFL breed!

ok I'm heading to bed.

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 ...