Wednesday, March 31, 2010

another AI ewe lambs

WhitePine Centennial (Wintertime Jazz AI x Justalit'l Chloe) was bred to Campaign Timothy. She produced a cute little black ewe lamb! Yay! my first AI ewe of the year! I hope there are MANY more to come :) Photo when I have time, as I'm back out making more jugs!

lamb photos

trying to catch up. seems to be my life currently :)

These are backwards but no time to switch them. Minwawe Red Bud, shaela three year old ewe with her F2 Orion son (with krunet). He could be modified. The pair is available for sale.

2nd photo of Red Bud's son.
Owl Hill Miss Lilly. F1 Holly, F2 Orion etc with her Orion son. He also has a krunet and the tightest, crimpiest, most consistent fleece born this year.
I like him :) He looks modified as well from the color at the skin.
Below is Winter Sky Layla's son out of Orion. He also appears modified.
And again with his mioget momma (to show the color difference)
White Pine Rush (FirthofFifth Aman x RYL Rachildas) with her Wintertime Jazz daughter.
Below is ShelteringPines Snow Cloud with her Wintertime Jazz daughter.
Snow Cloud with her baby. See the body spots?
WhitePine Castle Rock (Jazz x Chloe) with her WhitePine Roman (F1 Orion) daughter

Two more ewes lamb - ewe lamb streak broken!

Sometimes you just 'know' when a ewe is going to come in. I'm always thinking I am getting better at 'reading' ewes. I thought Minwawe RedBud would be lambing last night. By morning check she had a cute moorit krunet ram lamb. Sire is my F1 Orion ram WhitePine Ephraim. I was truly hoping for an emsket ewe out of this breeding. As I didn't get this, this mother/son pair is available for sale. Please inquire. RedBud's fleece is always sold right away and is a gorgeous shaela color.

Owl Hill Miss Lilly surprised the heck out of me this morning! I had no idea she was even 'close' by her antics and she had the most striking 90.5%UK moorit krunet ram lamb I've had! Sire is Heights Orion. I'm tickled he's moorit and has a krunet. I also love his amazing fleece, consistent down the tail head even and very crimpy, like the UK Shetlands. Lilly had a second 'fetus' that appeared to have mummified at some point in the gestation. Such a pity, but I'm very happy to have this little boy on my farm. Thank you THANK YOU to Susan Kimball for letting me have Lilly. She is a F1 Holly, F2 Orion herself (amongst other lines) and she is the highest UK girl I have at 81.25%.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

First AI lamb - Layla

Karen Valley is leasing back Winter Sky Layla (Heights Orion x Underhill Loretta Lynne) and had her bred back to her father. So far a huge moorit ram lamb. I'm waiting on several other ground bred ewes to pop at any moment. Looks like a long night ahead of me!

Another white ewe lamb! I don't believe it!

Last night I thought for certain WhitePine Rush (FirthofFifth Aman AI x RYL Rachildas) looked 'fishy'. I did several barn checks in the night to her just chewing her cud. I went out at 6:30 to see her water bag break and I went back in the house to feed the dogs and check some lively debate on the Shetland lists, which of course I had to respond to. Its my nature :)

Afterwards I went out to find Rush with a WHITE EWE LAMB! I couldn't believe it! Its my third one this year! Out of every possible breeding that could throw white, they did and they are ALL GIRLS! Just what I seriously wanted! The proud papa is again Wintertime Jazz AI. This ewe lamb is F2 Jericho, F3 Orion. She is just adorable, and running around already when I went to check on her. Yes! Photos soon.

Monday, March 29, 2010

two more ewes lamb with ewe lambs! *edit*

This morning at 1am, just when I was doing my last barn check, WhitePine Castle Rock (Wintertime Jazz AI x Justalit'l Chloe) gave birth to a splendid WHITE EWE lamb when I got out there. She was just getting her up to stand when I got out and moved them to one of the waiting jugs. Such fun lambing when this happens this way! Happy father is my F1 Orion white ram WhitePine Roman (out of RYL Rachildas). I was hoping for white ewes out of him and I got one!

This afternoon, at 1pm, ShelteringPines Snow Cloud had a cute-as-a-button gray katmoget ewe lamb with body spots which will fade. Snow was laying down and her lamb was doing races around her when I got out there. She hasn't passed the afterbirth yet, and I'm hoping for another lamb as this girl is quite petite. Happy sire is Wintertime Jazz, and full sister WhitePine Salome from last year is happy she is a 'big' sister now. Well not really. But I like to think so :)

I'm quite happy with three ewe lambs so far in the purebreds :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Mule lamb photos

twin mule ewe lambs from Autumn and Burma. They are English Blue (Aeb) carrying solid (Aa). They do carry moorit and modified from their mom so curious to see how the Aeb pattern is affected, if at all by the modifier gene. Cute spotting on the faces huh? They weighed around 7 pounds each.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lamb photos and catching up!

Well I'm a little bit behind. ahem. I have 47 (yes forty seven) ewes to lamb on or around April 5th. Yes. That is correct. I have 21 ewes due from AI on the 5th. Only two look not bred to that. Which is phenomenal! One is a BFL that was bred to Titan, and another is a Shetland ewe that was bred to Minder. Oh well. so that is still 19. All 5 crosses bred to the Texel are for sure bred. Three of the ewe lambs (out of 5 that I exposed) from last year are also bred (yes!). I'm kind of overwhelmed. Or will be. I guess I'd rather have it all over with at one time, than spread out over two weeks. :O)

Below is Beechtree GlenLuce's twin girls. (Lady) Gaga and Gwen (Stefani). They have to be G named...and i'm doing musical artists this year. Cute names huh? Notice the different markings/color? Isn't that cool? They are the most beautiful things I've ever seen!

Another shot of the girls. Both of them were 10.5 pounds!!

Here is my first Shetland lamb! RYL Rachildas with her Wintertime Jazz daughter. Her name is Regina (Spektor). She could be katmoget under the white, or is Aa. Either way she is most likely homozygous black, which is ok. Regina was nearly TEN pounds at birth. This is Rachildas' first time singling, but its a BIG GIRL! She is exactly like Rush. Same kind of fleece, super crimpy and consistent from front to rear. She has brown legs like her momma. Its too cute. Grey nose Bill. sorry :(

Ok I guess I still need Clover's lambs and the mule lambs. They are on the PC, i Just have to find them.

lambing weights and update on BFL lambs

Since I am a man of numbers, and like doing graphs, pie charts, spread sheets all based on numbers and performance, of any animal (dog, pigeon, sheep, goat, cow, horse, chicken etc) I find these things fascinating!

BFL lambs. 14 born so far, 12 alive (I lost one of the prolapsed ewes lambs last night at 3 weeks of age. They were never really gaining and unthrifty, no matter how many other ewes they nursed off of. The other one still remains quite small).

BFL ewe, weights of lambs, sexes of lambs:

Beechtree Kiloran, 11# 7oz, 7#, ram and ewe - didn't accept lambs initially. lost ewe lamb

ShelteringPines Morovia, 9#11oz, 7#11oz, two rams - great mom

ShelteringPines Nubia, 6#12oz, 8#2oz, two rams - prolapsed, didn't accept lambs initially. lost white ram lamb.

ShelteringPines Catalonia, 11# 6oz, 11# 4oz ewe and ram - great mom

Cross Wind Bea, 8#, 7# 6oz, ram and ewe - great mom, ewe lamb is stiff legged, been giving BoSe, Vit B12 and Nutri Drench. Still nursing good.

Beechtree GlenLuce, 10# 11oz, 10# 6oz, both ewes - didn't accept lambs initially

Cross Wind Clover, 11# 6oz, 11# 10oz, ewe and ram - didn't accept lambs initially

All the ewes that didn't like their lambs initially are now taking them, even if they aren't calling to them, but they sleep with them and let them nurse.

RYL Rachildas had a single white ewe lamb out of Jazz. She was nearly TEN pounds!

FirthofFifth Evidence of Autumn had twin mule ewe lambs out of Burma. They were 7# and 6# 11oz.

Yes photos are here. I just have to uploaded.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My first mule lambs! Both ewes!

I try not to bore you with my day to day personal issues such as money, love (or lack of), religion or stuff like that on here, although at times I feel the need to vent. I have been dating someone for the past few months that lives three hours away. While we've made the effort to see each other as often as we can, it ended last night due to 'lack of spark' on the other person's part, not mine. I had to drive to Minneapolis to discuss all of this and see if there was somewhere to go from there. We decided we are really great friends, and are still going to plan on hanging out, which I think is very adult of us, and something I've always believed in, remaining friends, after a relationship on such a deep level has failed.

I drove home this morning after staying with a different friend and having brunch with them, and came home to find my first mule lambs ever!

FirthofFifth Evidence of Autumn, a mioget 4 year old Shetland, gave birth to twin natural colored MULE EWES! It will be interesting to see if the modifier of the Shetland will alter the English Blue pattern that they are right now. Both were up running around in the barn when I came home. A wonderful sight to see. Especially since their mom likes them :) These two look very BFL in their look, so will be fun to see how they grow on. I do plan on keeping them and putting them to the Texel this fall, along with any other girls I get out of the Mule Ewes.

Photos will be forthcoming

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Gone to the birds...chickens that is!

Well I did it. My enabler fleece friend Lisa, has enabled me to take home my first trio of yearling egg laying hens! AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! I'm terrified of the big chickens, I am not even going to lie, but they are extremely tame and beg for being held. Its really quite silly. Her chickens lived out her garage door in a state of the art chicken coop and aviary (read spoiled). I hope I can live up to their standards ;)

While researching the different egg layers, I am not in any need to get the most eggs per chicken per year, but its more of a novelty idea. I can feed many of the eggs to my dogs in their raw diets, and I can give many to my family (both my parents and my sister and her hubby and kid), and I'm sure it wouldn't take long to get a following for egg customers!

I was able to bring home 1 Barred Rock, 1 Buff Orpington, and 1 Red Star named Helen. I can't remember the other names, forgive me! :) Since its such a novelty, I'm curious to see what you, the readers and blogger friends have for choices for additional egg layers. I would like to try a black Australop and a silver-laced Wyandotte for sure, but was curious about other breeds. Sussex? Marans? Other colors of Orpingtons or Wyandottes? I don't mind white egg layers either but want to stray away from breeds that are hybrids like the Red Star (I just thought this one looked neat). What breeds are out there that lay white eggs and are more heritage?

I don't want 25 chicks, for a minimum order. I"m thinking 6-8 more hens tops. Preferably started or yearlings, just to get a 'feel' for them, but I am also open to chicks, but would have to split an order with someone.

I think maybe Corinne could pick me up a few 'locally' right??

I'm crazy yes. But these three girls are so tame and gentle (AND BIG), but I'd like some variety in the coop, especially with such small numbers, and I want to be able to tell them apart ;)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Busy 12 hours

Beechtree GlenLuce gave birth to twin natural colored ewe lambs. I have photos but no time to post! Luce didn't want her lambs, the first lamb was quite large and she took a long time delivering her. She is haltered and tied up so the girls can nurse. I'm getting used to this. Almost as much effort as a Holstein cow! The lambs I must saw are the most gorgeous lambs I've ever had born here. period. So beautiful. And Vigorous.

My first Shetland lamb was born! RYL Rachildas gave birth to a large single WHITE EWE LAMB! The happy daddy is Wintertime Jazz AI, and this is exactly what I wanted from Rachildas! The lamb is quite large for a single, but haven't weighed it yet. She gave birth between Luce's twins. She reminds of Rush, who was Rachildas white ewe out of FirthofFifth Aman AI.

Having been out in the barn most of the night, making sure Luce lambed and her lambs nursed. And having to put Rachildas in a jug with her baby as several other Shetland ewes were also claiming the lamb as their own (God bless them for being such great moms!). They are still adamant that its theirs, and they are very heavy with lamb themselves, and didn't have to do the work!

After most of the morning nap, I went out to make sure Cross Wind Clover was going to lamb. I pegged her for an early morning lambing, but she decided to wait until 4pm this afternoon to do it. She produced a white ewe and a white ram, and she LIKES them, although she isn't really sure about cleaning them up, but she is calling them and following them around the jug. Both Clover and GlenLuce's babies are out of Sheltering Pines Burma, a natural colored ram out of ShelteringPines Nightwatch and Beechtree Blyth.

photos most likely on sunday, in the evening, when I have more time

Monday, March 15, 2010

Another good mother and freedom!

Well, I have so much good news!

This morning Cross Wind Bea, gave me a white ram lamb and a natural colored ewe with loads of 'white' on her face. It'll be fun to see how that changes as she ages. This is the fourth and final ewe bred to Kirkdale for purebred lambs. Notice Bea was sheared and see how light her 'saddle' is? Its nearly her whole body at this point. Its a beautiful color.

Nubia actually called to her lamb as I was putting the elastrator band on his tail tonight. I nearly hugged her. I think she's SLOWLY coming around, but I have her jugged yet nonetheless. Her natural colored ram lamb was caught jumping around and running around yesterday and today so he must be getting enough to eat. I've increased her grain to make sure she makes enough milk for the boys.

I am sick.and.tired. of the GUINEAS! They have had spring fever so I let them out a few days ago. The OEGB's (Old English Game Bantams) went out just yesterday. I have three yearling Silver duckwing roosters and about 12 Silver or Fawn Silver Duckwing hens too. I can't keep them all. Anyone wanna trade for something? I love my 2 year old Fawn Silver Duckwing rooster. He's busy courting the ladies.
Unfortunately I think ALL of the NINE guineas are HENS. I can't believe my luck! Two of them were inside the barn eating their grain when I took this photo. I could HEAR them, that's how I know! These dreary days are real downers. Come on sun!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I survived shearing day 2010

The night before shearing, ShelteringPines Catalonia (ShelteringPines Nightwatch x Beechtree Blyth) lambed a ram and a ewe also out of Beechtree Kirkdale. The ewe has pink ears, but blue nose, is that considered a pinky? She is a fabulous mom and both lambs were quite big. I was hoping for smaller triplets, but I am not going to be choosy now! Just a happy family!

What a long ass day shearing was!! I was out around 7am getting the finishing touches done to the barn in preparation for shearing. Brian Fitzpatrick showed up around 815 and by 830 we were on our way. My dad was not around the entire time so most of the time it was just Brian and I. I also was giving CD/T vaccine shots, and Dectomax dewormer at the same time (less times to gather them up and stress them out), as well as having to get the bag and name tags ready, sweep the boards off and gather the wool to put it in the bag. Needless to say with all of that to do, it took awhile. Since shearing was on a Friday, instead of the weekend, I didn't have any of the help that had originally offered to come up and help skirt fleeces. Which is fine. It gives me a better chance to go over the fleeces and make notes about each one. Every year I believe I am getting MORE and more of the fleece type I want, and the lamb fleeces were just stunning! I was really happy to see how many of the older ewes fleeces were also lovely. its great to see the fleeces when they are 'upside down' so I can see the crimp at the base of the fleece where the shearer sheared it. Happy Shepherd!! :)

His final count was 88 sheep sheared. I guess I have to double check my spreadsheet! I had only 86 written down :) :) He ended up leaving around 430, and then I spent the next hour or so bedding all the pens REALLY deep with straw, feeding their beet pulp mixture and giving extra hay. Even the rams got some alfalfa pellets and roasted soybeans (the shetlands never get extras or they get too frisky) to keep them a bit warmer at night. Fortunately the night time temps have been above freezing the past few nights so everyone came out of it ok.

Below is Champ, my Texel, getting sheared by Brian. He looked mighty meaty after the shearing!

Ephraim below is getting sheared. He and the two Orion daughters are all very mioget at the base of the fleece. Very pretty! Now if I could just get that dang emsket when I breed him to shaela or black!!
I was REALLY happy with the condition of the Shetland ewes and crossbred ewes. They were really in perfect weight and condition, with NONE of my girls being heavier than 85 pounds (they sure look bigger with all of that fleece!) I was also really happy with the mature Shetland rams condition. The yearling rams and ewes were fed separately from the adults all winter so there was no pushing and they were able to get some of the better quality hay I had. While none of them were thin, they sure had the 'gangly teenager' look going on. I am so amazed how they mature over their 2nd summer, from photos I've taken over the years of different sheep.

The BFLs were a surprise! I had the older ewes obese, the two year olds were trim, but not skinny, and the yearlings were just a tad over weight. I cannot fathom how sheep look after they are sheared every year, but I know the wool will quickly start growing back again.

We were talking about fleece type/length on the BFL briefly on their yahoogroup the other day. This is ShelteringPines Nubia out of Beechtree BLack Pearl and ShelteringPines Nightwatch (yes a linebreeding). She has super fine fleece, and its shorter stapled. She has no belly wool and she does not peel (could be because she is natural colored?) I haven't skirted or weighed their fleeces but will let you know how heavy they were.

These are the three yearling BFL ewes that I have. The natural colored ewe is WhitePine Kacy, my ewe lamb from last year. She's out of ShelteringPines Burma x Beechtree Kershope. The white ewes are twins out of Beechtree Kearsley and Beechtree Cragganmore. All three have lovely drape and purling of fleece, but I would consider it 'heavier' obviously than Nubias. I took fleece samples to be sent to get micron tested so will be interesting to see what they come back at. The girls are stacked or primped, so just working clothes here :)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Recap for 2010 breedings

Since it would help who I bred everyone too (and i know its hard to keep up with me, with so many sheep) I'm going to re post the breedings I did last fall.

I'll just post the ground breedings right now, as the AI group isn't due until April 5th.

White Pine Ephraim - mioget - F1 Orion. Was bred to:

FirthofFifth Booto - fawn katmoget - F1 Timothy. her son out of Orion last year was amazing. Hoping for ewe lamb this time around

Wintertime Galina - black gulmoget (solid sided). She has a wavy intermediate fleece, but am hoping for a nice crimpy moorit gulmoget out of this pairing.

Underhill Ulla. - moorit/fawn F2 Jamie. She is a powerhouse girl, shorter on leg, but I love this ewe! Hoping to improve fleece with this pairing. And they will be moorit based so that is a plus. (i have hardly any moorit based ewes, although most of my ewes carry moorit)

Minwawe RedBud - shaela - domestic. I am really hoping for an emsket ewe out of this breeding, and fleece improvement.

WhitePine Roman - white illget - F1 Orion was bred to:

WhitePine Castle Rock - gray katmoget. Crimpy fleece. Just really hoping for a white ewe that is as nice as she is.

ShelteringPines Myra - fawn katmoget. Roman obviously carries moorit and solid, so hoping for a moorit or fawn kat out of this pairing

WhitePine Neriah - smirslet gray katmoget - hoping for possible spots and Roman's mom is a proven spot producer.

WhiitePine Eve - F1 Orion - mioget ewe - hoping for something moorit and with nicer fleece and Eve has.

FirthofFifth Angus - shaela krunet gulmoget - was bred to:

WhitePine Naomi - fawn katmoget - Neriah's sister. I'm hoping for moorit gulmoget or gul/kats

WhitePine Bethany - F1 Orion - fawn ewe - (out of Justalit'l Black Lambo). Modified lambs would be nice from here, or solid lambs. Heck even gulmoget :)

WhitePine Sedalia. F2 Jericho - smirlset, sokket, gray katmoget. Sedalia, as we all know is my favorite ewe. Fleece, structure, size, pattern, markings, personality, and she is even tame sometimes. I don't care WHAT I get out of this, but please be a ewe. I am truly hoping for spots, and fine gulmoget ram, but I will be happy with just about anything from her :)

Sommarang Eva - F3 Minder. gray katmoget. I'm hoping with her histogram, she'll correct Angus' higher CV, and again, happy with just about anything from this pairing.

Wintertime Jazz - F1 Jericho - smirslet gray katmoget

WhitePine Candace - F1 Holly - smirslet fawn katmoget - fleece improvement. Maybe a solid black?

WhitePine Rush - F2 Orion - white ewe - a lovely white ewe lamb out of her would be nice

RYL Rachildas - F4 Lightning - white ewe - again another white ewe lamb out of her and Jazz, or Ag Katmoget would be ok too.

Sommarang Emerald - flecket black/white ewe - I'm hoping for LOTS of loud spotting here, and fleece improvement.

ShelteringPines Snow Cloud - gray katmoget - I'm hoping for more spots like Salome last year.

That's it for ground breedings for purebred! 17 ewes! My lamb theme this year is musical artists. Probably more recent ones on the Top 40, rap, Christian, or dance channels I listen to on Sirius Satellite Radio :)

Peace on farm (also goals and sale sheep)

So the last few days I've been preparing for Shetland lambs. And mule lambs. And shearing. In. the. rain!

I've moved the ground bred ewes to the pen connected to the lambing jugs. The open yearling ewes in with the AI bred ewes and there is PEACE in the ram pen. THANK YOU LORD JESUS!

With the frost not out, and a few inches of 'snow cone ice' instead of snow on the grass, and 3-4 inches of mud on the field roads (frost still isn't out), we have over land flooding like we did last March when we had a week of hard rain. While its not raining nearly as bad, it IS in the 40s every day, and above freezing at night, its just crazy weather for MN.

Every paddock and pasture is flooded, or half flooded. In a normal rain, it would drain way or soak away naturally, however with the frost not out, and not in the foreseeable future, we will have several more weeks of this 'in between' crap. Good thing the barn is dry and full of clean straw!

I let the Guineas out as they were madly protesting their spring fever in the barn and they proceeded to look like ducks the past few days, playing and splashing in the rain and running through puddles and streams in the roads. Such characters.

I've made tweeks to my goals on the farm. Don't worry, nothing drastic, but some decisions that I feel are worth sharing.

Awhile ago, Theresa had mentioned that she was only going to keep ewes with soft fleece and within what she saw as her ideal micron, length, crimp etc. I totally agree. I talk a lot about fine vs coarse in my sheep. Some feel coarse to me, or coarser than others. When Jerry was here on Sunday, I had made mention of several ewes that I thought were more coarse and he thought they felt extremely soft and fine! I guess its all in perception. Words like "fine, crimpy, soft" are all very subjective. I didn't have him feel my softest ewe, but he thought the ones for sale were quite soft. I went through all my ewes again tonight and I can honestly say only ONE ewe FEELS coarse, and even the few ewes that I have that are over 30 AFD, they still FEEL soft, and have low CV and SD.

Since I've gathered quite the collection of sheep (both purchased and bred) I am really honing in on my preferred type of fleece (length, crimp, fineness, density etc). I truly believe after I sell the remaining ewes I have for sale, that I will be at that goal. Some of the ewes for sale are in the high 20's for AFD, but don't have the crimp I am looking for. Whatever the reason, the ewes I have retained so far as all winners in some respect.

In looking to the future I have 25 ewes that I would like to breed to purebred. Most of them are quite young and I have several rams I'd like to try them with to see just how far I can go in my goal for the ultimate Shetland (at least to me). Those ewes that I do not breed pure this year, will not be for sale, but will be bred to the BFL for Shetland Mules. Since those ewes are nothing to sneeze at, I may use them for pure in the future, or I may just keep them for mules. Is that wrong? No! I will still have the ewes, I will still have their fleeces and I will know what to expect from them as the years go by and they keep lambing beautifully for me.

I may occasionally have one or two ewes for sale, but I can make a more definite income on mule lambs or market lambs that I can on the wishy washy purebred market.

So in saying that, this is what I have for sale:
Minwawe Sea Breeze: moorit smirslet sokket. Shorter intermediate fleece. She feels coarse to me, but still is under 30 AFD. I guess I should say 'less fine' than the rest of my flock. She does not have any crimp. 65 pound ewe, great mother, lambed easily last year. Produced smirslet sokket katmoget ewe lamb last year with gorgeous crimp (she was bred to Jazz. so she is improvable)

Minwawe RedBud: Shaela, krunet. carries moorit. Throws wild spots. Long intermediate fleece. AFD of 22.8. Her fleece is already sold from this year. Her fleece is a gorgeous blue color. Great mom. 65 pound ewe, with shorter legs. She has a longer tail, but her lambs, when bred correctly, do not have that tail. She is also very improvable.

Minwawe Flopsy; moorit. proven mom and spot producer. She is 8 years old but still has several good years left in her. 80 pound ewe who's last year ram lamb was the most amazingly crimped lamb I had. Even better than my AI lambs (he was out of Jazz). I retained his twin sister who is a krunet sokket katmoget. super improvable.

WhitePine Columbine. Jet black Jazz daughter. She was a bottle baby. 65 pounds, long intermediate fleece. Her yearling AFD was 20.6. She is very soft, but does not have the crimp definition I'm looking for.

Justalit'l Chloe and RYL Rachildas are still available. They are 4" length, intermediate fleeces but super improvable. I think they deserve a chance in another purebred flock for sure. Those that are after UK style fleeces and improvements. Structure is spot on.

That's it.

My next post will list the girls I have currently. If you see something you might like, let me know, but chances are I won't sell them......such a tease I know!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

update on BFls and Shetland rams

Yesterday afternoon Nubia, the prolapsed ewe was allowing her lambs to nurse without me in the pen! While this is great news, I don't believe she actually LIKES them, but has come to accept the fact that to make her udder feel better and not so tight, they must nurse it. Each lamb is always found at his official 'spigot' every time I come to the barn to check on them, and she is chewing her cud and standing for them. When she decides that that is enough she just starts walking, with no regard to the lambs safety or whereabouts, but again, this is still progress.

The first ewe that had the ewe lamb die, she is accepting her ram lamb enough to let him lay on her back, and next to her at night now, but still does not call for him. This could be jsut because I'm not out there all the time, or she has had no need to do it. Time will tell. She'll be jugged until the other new borns are ready to be put in a nursery pen, so at least a few more days for the white lambs from Morovia. the further between terrible lambing experiences the more forgiving I get, but it still is ripe in my mind.

I still hate Shetland rams! Tonight, after 24 hours of being squeezed with the polled boys, a yearling ram, Veni, completely knocked the texel Champ over like a bowling pin and he rolled completely over back on to his feet. I almost didn't believe it. The Shetlands know they are less than a 1/3 of the size of the polled boys so they go in under the rib cage and continually bash them, sometimes tag teaming from both sides. I can't babysit all the time, but when I'm there I am quick to flip the Shetland boys over and tell them what for. ugh. The polled boys look a bit stressed so Friday can't come soon enough! Hopefully by then the ram paddock wno't be flooded with the spring thaw/melt that we have going on. The sooner the better for these boys. I guess I do need to run the polled boys seperately. All year. Until then they'll be squeezed again for the night. You'd think breeding season was 5 months ago or something?

That's the update for now!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Why mules keep looking better and better!!!

Let's recap the past 48 hours (grab some tea or coffee!):

Sheltering Pines Morovia aka 'Ears' (BFL ewe) gave birth to twin white ram lambs between 7 and 8 am. Both were up nursing and she was being the greatest mom ever! My bad luck lambing BFLs was over! Both lambs were dried off and she was being the most attentive mother, letting them nurse, and laying next to them when they fell asleep. They have the bluest pigment. Having her only be my third BFL to lamb here ever, they were my first white lambs, and my first good mother.
Proud papa of these boys is Beechtree Kirkdale (F2 Titan, F2 Titus) I believe...

I spent the rest of the morning sweeping barn alleys, organizing troughs and buckets I wasn't using, cleaning the feed room, stacking hale bales, liming jugs etc. Around 1pm, Jerry came up to visit and talk sheep. I 'knew' Jerry from years ago when he had pigeons and we corresponded via email for quite a few years. Fast forward now and he has his first Shetlands. He came and reserved six ewes from me that will be going to his place once lambs are weaned, sometime after July 1st.

What was probably closet to two hours spent with Jerry in the barn, going over sheep and such was quite enjoyable. After he left I quickly checked in on the pups in the house and came back outside. Lo and behold, the prolapsed BFL ewe, ShelteringPines Nubia, was in labor, contracting. I had to quickly undo her strings that were tied shut, and upon undoing them, she water bag came flying out and the blood bag. I reached in and found two feet, no head. * le sigh *

I had to let her dilate somewhat longer but she was pushing heavily and contracting every few minutes. I ended up having to push the lamb back and find the head, bring it forward and pulled. A smaller 7 pounds natural colored ram with a 'krunet' came out. I went in to find more feet and a head and out came a 9 pound white ram lamb. Both were ALIVE but Nubia was in shock. Unable to move her hind end (I can't blame her), she called to the babies as I dried them off with clean towels and put them by her head. She sniffed them briefly and proceeded to go into shock further. A call to the vet and explanation, I gave her some electrolytes with a drencher, some penicillin for infection and some oxytocin to have her expel the placenta. Within minutes she was up but was refusing to let the lambs nurse. Realizing that her udder must be swollen and sore, and her back end was extremely tender, I tried to bottle the lambs with some Kolostrum from Premier. They each ate a few ounces but were calling for mom.
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"Ears" who was in the next jug was calling to the babies, so I ended up putting a tarp between the jugs so she would stop calling to them. Nubia had to be haltered and stripped out and eventually tied up so the lambs could get something to eat. I cut sleeves out of my hoodie and put them on the babies as jackets. Up until that point I refused to coat any lambs. If they can't make it, they shouldn't. Brutal farm mentality. Hardy animals win.

I was surprised at my midnight check to find both lambs looking MUCH happier, fuller and dried off under the heat lamp. I released the ewe this morning from her halter and tied position, and she denied the lambs nursing. I then got into the pen, haltered Nubia, but just stood with her, scratching her brisket and she calmly stood for the lambs to get their fill. I did this numerous times and she seemed to give in to the lambs nursing and I took the halter off and stood in the pen with her while she nibble on her hay. I don't expect this to be the end of it, but she is getting better, but still not calling to the lambs.These are also sired by Kirkdale.

More cleaning in the barn in the morning and then took the puppies in for dewclaw removal. When I got home with them and from running errands, it had started to RAIN. Since the shearer is coming on Friday morning, I didn't want sheep to be wet.

So i gathered up the Shetland girls and brought them in. I soon realized that the Shetlands bred to the BFL for mules AND the purebred Shetland ground breedings were due on the 6th of March or after. Whoops! I separated out the Mule ewes and AI Shetland ewes and ewe lambs into one group (they aren't due until April 5th or later) and the early group into another pen closer to the jugs. Once everyone was separated (yes I did this all alone) and fed/watered and mineral tubs refilled, I went to get the yearling rams in from their winter paddock furthest from the barn. What sissies!! They wouldn't walk through the many mini creeks that were in their paddock and I had to take them on a hike around the far pastures to get them into the barn. Buggers.

Then the four mature Shetland rams from their far winter paddock were brought in and reintroduced to the Texel ram and the two BFL rams. The Shetlands, although 1/3 or 1/2 of the size of the three polled boys were molesting and bashing the bigger boys incessantly. I was extremely irritated! Its MARCH boys! No breeding for four months! Get over it! Get over yourselves! After flipping several Shetland rams into submissive stances, I ended up squeezing them all into a corner. Those poor polled boys stared at me like "dad what did WE do!??!!" I truly was sad for them, but I am limited in pens in the barn, especially during lambing and when its raining before shearing.

Thus far, four BFL ewes have lambed here. Three with issues and rejecting lambs initially. I think they need to be bred for better mothering abilities, ease of lambing and parasite resistance. While I can understand if they had lambing problems or lots of pain, but hey let's work on this!

I have had mature Shetland rams and they are always fighting with each other and on buildings, fence posts and feeders.Year round. Bored. Today was a day I could say I hated Shetland rams and BFL ewes.

Mule production keeps sounding better!! I love the docility of BFL rams, their easy going nature, ease of handling, ability to breed smaller ewes with ease and their fleece. I love Shetland ewes for their wonderful fleece, array of colors, smaller size, SPECTACULAR lambing abilities, mothering instincts, milk, and ability to lamb either pure or cross bred lambs.

If only Shetland rams were more like BFLs in their personalities and the BFL ewes could be like Shetland ewes in the mothering department.

Yep. Pretty sure mule production seems more and more my thing.

Then again I've had little sleep (every 2 hour barn checks, leaves for little deep sleep) between lambing and whelping and with the rest of the month supposed to be in the upper 30's and lower 40's for temps, snow removal business is going to SUCK this month. Maybe I'm a bit crabby too....

that can happen with no sleep....

DEEP BREATHS...tomorrow is another day. I can change my mind too.....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Rooing Levi

I forgot to post this!!

This was me and Levi the other day. It took me about 7 minutes to roo everything off of him minus his brisket and haunches. I rooed that off four days later quite easily. I know I couldn't do this on every sheep! My carpel tunnel was acting up after this! Why do you think I stopped training horses!!??!!

Levi is my F1 Jamie ram lamb out of River Oaks Lucy, who is a ShelteringPines Bombarde daughter. Levi microned around 23 AFD last fall, and will NOT be tested this year as his fleece mid side was already rubbed off before I did this. I'm going to use him on a select group of ewes this fall, depending on purebred sales this year. If they are good, I'll use him. If not, I'll use the BFL :)

Levi's fleece is by far the shortest staple length of just under 2 inches. Stretched out it is almost 3.5 inches. Its super crimpy, the UK style crimp (not merino) and his fleece weight was around 2 pounds. Not terrible for an almost yearling single coated lamb who is super crimpy and soft, and around 60 pounds.

Oh and he's polled :) Carries moorit, and has a krunet. He is one of very few Willocroft Jamie offspring around and so will hang on to him indefinitely or until someone who is REALLY serious about polled, UK fleeces, and fine fleece comes forward with an offer I can't resist :)

He was used as a clean up ram for most of the AI girls last fall after Ephraim was pulled from that group, so we'll see if anyone took from him!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ram lamb update

Well Mr Ram Lamb appears to be nursing on his own and without having to have momma tied up. She isn't gushing over him yet (aka being motherly) but she is allowing him to nurse , actually ever time I went to the barn today he was nursing! So let's hope that this remedies itself and she continues to produce milk for him!

Lamb update

Well last night at the 6pm feeding the ewe lamb was not the bright eyed and rambunctious lamb she had been before. By the 9pm feeding she would not nurse at all, and I had to tube feed her. At the 11pm she was distress calling and laying flat. I propped her up under the heat lamp and at the 1am barn check she was looking ok. By 4am, she was flat on her side and had barely audible distress calls. This morning she had passed. To be honest I did the best I could and just regret not being there for the birth. I didn't think she would make it, as with babes of any species of livestock she did not stand in the first 48 hours, which I think is crucial. I didn't think she'd have a super good chance, but try we did. Especially because she's a ewe lamb!

Considering I've only lambed TWO BFLs ewes to date, and I've had issues with both (and one prolapse ewe prior to lambing), it sure doesn't give me great confidence in their mothering or lambing abilities. I've heard longwools as a general rule don't tend to be great first time mothers, although 2nd time moms are great and it really does pay off in the long run. It reminds of Holsteins versus Angus (dairy vs beef) breeds.

I'm not trying to bash the BFL breed. I honestly and sincerely believe that the breed is totally worth the hassle. They are extremely docile, friendly, inquisitive, elegant sheep, much like the other longwool breeds. I must admit they are NOT Shetlands in terms of hardiness, and I have had one incident of birthing issues with the Shetlands, but I've also lambed close to 100 Shetland births at this point and can say they are much easier lambers and I although I still check the barn every few hours, they are usually born between the barn checks and up nursing already when I do find them.

I know after talking with other BFL breeders, they are not all this way and I'm sure the rest of my lambing will go smoothly, but I am a bit apprehensive. :) I'm not jumping ship, or selling out, but I just need to be more prepared for the BFL lambs and I'm glad they are lambing at a different time than the Shetlands so I can concentrate on them 100%.

BFLs are poised to enter the market/commerical lamb market as more and more people are becoming aware of the awesomeness that BFL rams can transmit to their mule lamb offspring. BFLs as purebred are not for the faint of heart, but with some determination and basic supplies, I think you can do it, heck, if I can, you can too.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Update on lambs

Well today is a new day. After every two hour barn checks last night on the BFls (especially the prolapsed ewe) and then coming back in to check on Ell, I didn't get much sleep.

The ewe lamb is still unable to walk. She can stand if I help her get up. She can almost get up, with three legs, but the fourth is still weak. After consulting with several more experienced shepherds, my thoughts that it was a en utero or lambing injury is most likely correct. Since I found her yesterday morning, I've been holding her legs in the laying down position, bending all the joints, rubbing her legs and running my finger along her spine to see if there are any injuries with her spine. She isn't in pain, and she did not have frost bite as her legs are NOT hot. She has a strong will, a great determination to nurse and tonight she almost got up on her own. I'll keep working on her hind legs and hope that she comes around. Yesterday was awful as she was dragging her rear around like a seal. Today she is NOT doing that, and so I'm hoping that my leg rubbing and massaging and holding and warming her every few hours is helping.

Since i have to tie the ewe up still to let the ram lamb nurse, I haven't started bottle feeding ( I HATE BOTTLE FEEDING!) so I'm tying the ewe up 6x or so a day to let the lambs nurse their fill. Once I untie the ewe, she lays down right away so the lambs can't nurse. She isn't mean to them, and does lay next to them at night, but she still isn't calling to them, or allowing them to nurse without me in the jug. Usually I just need to have my finger under her chin and she'll stand for them. Hoping for better results tomorrow.

No other lambs. The six other BFL ewes are due any moment. I'm hoping for lots of lambing action tonight! It'll be worth the lack of sleep!

Best blog post ever!

This is pretty much the most cutest, funniest blog post ever!

As I laugh uncontrollably due to lack of sleep, food and sanity....muwahahahaha!

oh. its because I'm waiting for more lambs. geesh. I'm not ALWAYS this crazy!

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 ...