Thursday, March 31, 2011

Some lambs FINALLY

These girls are going to show me up! All of these ewes are lambing from the 'not close yet' pen, while the girls in the 'any time' pen are all laying around, or trying to lay around, with their huge bellies and udders. I"ll have to get some photos of their backsides for you to see. I think I have Dairy Goats their udders are getting so large.

Below is a giant single modified black katmoget ewe lamb out of Jazz and WhitePine Eve (twin sister to WhitePine Ephraim) This was Eve's first lambing and I have no idea where this 9 pound lamb was hiding as Eve still looks the same from before the lambing. I found this girl popcorn-ing around the pen when I got home from my day trip.

This is Wintertime Galina (Wintertime Black Forrest x ShelteringPines The Holy Grail) and her twin gray katmoget lambs (ram and ewe) out of Wintertime Jazz. They were both up nursing and tail wagging at the 9pm barn check. I can't believe no gul/kat OR gullies but Rayna leased her so I'm not too mad.

What I am mad about however is the ewe lamb is quite SPOTTED. Ahem. Pink nose Bill! Sorry the blurry photos. they were taken with the phone!

WhitePine Skor, a true shaela (modified whole color) was bred to WhitePine Levi (black krunet F1 Jamie) in hopes of polled rams. Instead I got a jet black ewe lamb! I am glad this is a SOLID ewe lamb Aa/Aa as the rest of my lambs born this year have all been katmoget! Her fleece looks pretty nice and again, a fairly large lamb, and her mother doesn't seem to have lost any of her figure..... ahem.. She was up nursing and jumping this AM at the 6am barn check.

Better photos hopefully soon. I need to just bite the bullet and get a new digital camera. They are so cheap right now.....

Chicken Math at its finest!

If you can count properly you will notice that my FIVE new chickens are actually SEVEN. ahem. Yes. Chicken Math. Totally blaming it on that. Well and Corinne. Maybe Rayna too.

These girls are from my enabler and friend Lisa who got me in to the laying hens in the first place by trading fleece for chickens. Hey I 'needed' chickens, and she needed fleece. Problem solved. Lisa also taught me how to spin, and she knitted my hat/scarf out of Jazz fleece.

The two Barred Rock and the two Easter Eggers are the same age as the two layers I have left, Helen and Henrietta. So they are just about 2, but still laying well. The three Black Australorps are GORGEOUS girls, but are more aloof and tend to hang together. They are just yearlings.

There was quite the introduction yesterday Henrietta (my original barred rock and sister to these girls) made it quite clear that they were all peons and she was queen B. In the photo above where the two australorps are standing was off limits last night to the new 7 girls! The new 7 had to smash on to a tiny saw horse to roost, while Helen and Henrietta had the ENTIRE area you see above to lounge on during the night..... *SIGH*. those silly girls.

I checked on them during the night to make sure everyone was OK (while i was out doing lamb checks...which is in the NEXT post!) and those seven girls looked so sad crammed together. lol Below is a photo of one of the new girls modeling the saw horse.

And yes I have the 11 chicks yet too! They have upgraded to a larger area of the 'coop' pen. I was walking towards the barn from the house this am and heard a terrible commotion! The hens were all screaming, the bantam chickens were screaming and the guineas were all screaming and alerting. I dropped the bucket i was carrying and ran across refrozen snow drifts, mud and newly fallen wet snow to get to the coop thinking there was a weasel or mink in the barn.

It wasn't.

It was one of the White Wyandotte pullets who happened to fly over the wire caging keeping them separate from the big girls and was in with the new 7 and 2 original girls. WHAT A BUNCH OF WUSSES!! They were carrying on like the sky was falling. And they can even SEE the pullets so it wasn't like it was a big surprise or anything. Silly girls.

Below are the young pullets...

All of the adult girls are from breeds that are very cold hardy. And the new pullets, aside from the Sicilian Buttercups are all cold hardy. So the Buttercups are more of a 'let's see how it goes' trial and will report more as they are growing up. So far so good!

The chickens are of course all part of the sustainability i'm trying to get a better grasp of. If the layers can provide eggs for myself, the dogs, and my family then they are doing their job (plus being free range bug/frog/rodent eaters in the summer)!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chicken Math

I can't get the Trademark logo to show up behind the Chicken Math idea. Corrine you really need to get the TM on that saying! Its catching on like...well....chicken math.

A while back Rayna and I went in on an order of egg laying day old pullets. I ordered 7 but only 5 arrived because several were not available or the hatch was poor.

Well the day I went to pick them up I ended up bringing home 11 :) See how this chicken math works???!!

They are really in an ugly stage but I'm happy with the group I got.

2 White Wyandottes
1 Gold Laced Wyandotte
1 Silver Laced Wyandotte
2 Buttercups
1 Partridge Rock
2 Easter Eggers
1 Buff Orpington
1 mystery chick that has yet to be identified. It is either a Minorca, Lakenvelder or Andalusian, which any would be fine with me.

Tomorrow I am picking up 3 yearling Black Australorps and 2 two year old Barred Rock from my Enabler and fleece friend who taught me how to spin (she also made me my hat and scarf from Jazz's fleece). I'm trading more fleece for these 5 chickens and so that should help with my current egg supply.

Since the my first original two hens are also two years old (a Barred Rock named Henrietta, and a Red Star named Helen) and now laying daily thanks to me moving them from the barn where the two rats were spotted (and later killed by our last remaining barn cat), I've been getting a dark brown (not Maran brown, but still fairly dark) and a lighter brown egg from each girl every day for the past 9 days.

With the help of these 5 new ladies I should be able to feed my 3 egg omelet breakfasts AND feed the dogs their raw eggs that they get twice a week (two times a week x 9 dogs = 18 eggs).

I ran out of my eggs and had to buy eggs from the store. The 'yolk' if you could even call it that was such a light yellow it mimicked banana color AFTER you peel off the skin. No kidding. Gross.

Since I know these 2 year old ladies probably won't lay forever I'd like to get a few more pullets this year. I'd like a variety that are good layers and will be able to free range and not give up laying in the winter months.

I LOVE the look of the Wyandottes and am looking at other varieties of them but also would like a few different Marans, Chantecler, Sussex, Egyptian Fayoumi, Hamburg, etc. Now I don't need 40 chickens laying, but a variety is nice.

My goal this year is to be more sustainable than I already am so if I am able to have enough eggs for myself, the dogs and my family, plus maybe a few neighbors in the future that would be great by me. Help pay for the girls' feed.

If you might have something in the forms of pullet chicks, or yearling laying hens to trade or for sale, do let me know!

Ah yes....chicken math at its finest....


Well the girls are holding out on me!

Aside from WSR Alisa lambing very unexpectedly with twins on wednesday things have been quiet.

I'm always wrong as who will lamb first in the Shetlands. The girls with the 'caution wide load' signs on their bellies and udders are all still just hanging out in the 'close up' pen. The girls in the 'aways a way' pen is the pen Alisa came from.

If you remember Alisa is a light badgerface moorit ewe I traded Wally Rutledge for while I was out in Eugene, OR for the Black Sheep Gathering. Alisa has .78% UK (that's less than ONE percent) in her (Greyling waaaaay back) and still has the breed character fleece that is hallmark of the breed in the UK and Canada.

Alisa was bred to Jazz. I knew I'd only get black but I was hoping for a light badgerface black based ewe lamb. And I got one. But she was chilled when I found her with her mom. The gray katmoget ram lamb was off with one of the Shetland-Cheviot ewes who swore it was hers, even though I know she isn't due for another month. Got Alisa in with her twins in a jug but the little girl wasn't getting up. So off to the house for a lambing warmer. Five hours later she's up and eating colostrum from a bottle (Thanks again Shel!) and by morning she's jumping out of the laundry basket.

Reintroduction to mom was not good. I even waited and smeared poop from her brother on to the girls tail but mom wasn't being fooled. She smelled differently. Alisa doesn't have enough milk to feed twins so supplementing will have to do. I can't believe she twinned either as she wasn't very large, or had a large udder. Some of these Shetland girls surely will have huge twins or maybe triplets based on the size of their bellies and udders. Crazy how different they all can be.

Of all the BFLs that were exposed (10) I have had only 4 lamb, with one due any moment to Wycliffe. There are three that look bred to the back up ram Burma, and three that don't even look bred at this point which is extremely frustrating.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for pandamonium surely to ensue.

lamb count:
2 BFL ram lambs, 4 BFL ewe lambs (lost two)
Shetlands 1 ram lamb, 1 ewe lamb

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

BFL lamb photos

Sheltering Pines Catalonia (out of Beechtree Blyth) was also bred to Beechtree WyCliffe. She produced a ram and a ewe. Nearly 3 days old and I think we are out of the woods. The ram is on the left and the ewe on the right. Both were around 10# at birth. Hey that ram isn't blind...he's looking at the camera :) Apparently they were maybe born a bit early and needed to finish developing?

Lovely fleece on these lambs. Excited to watch it grow! (ram in front, ewe in rear)
Below two photos are of Kershope's twins at 8 days of age. They are in a 'nursery' pen all by their lonesomes since lambing has been slow going here. Well and we got a ton of snow after most of ours was almost gone. *sigh*
Sorry for the eyes...the flash was on and the barn was kind of dark (its an old dairy barn!)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Minnesota March

Details for Tuesday, March 22
Windy with a wintry mix of precipitation. Temps nearly steady around 30. Winds E at 25 to 35 mph. Snow and ice accumulations less than one inch.
Evening: A wintry mix this evening, becoming all snow and windy overnight. Snow may be heavy at times. Thunder possible. Low 18F. Winds ENE at 25 to 35 mph. 6 to 10 inches of snow expected.

Details for Wednesday, March 23
Snow during the morning will transition to snow showers during the afternoon. Significant blowing and drifting snow. High 22F. Winds NE at 20 to 30 mph. Chance of snow 80%. 2 to 4 inches of snow expected.
Evening: Scattered snow flurries and snow showers before midnight. Becoming partly cloudy later. Cold. Low 1F. Winds NE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of snow 30%.

lambs so far

BFLs are starting to lamb. It looks as though several were bred to the back up ram Burma.

The first four ewes have lambed:

Kershope: white ewe, natural colored ram - great mom - healthy lively lambs

GlenLuce: white ewe - terrible mom, rejected baby, baby died after several days of me trying to feed it and try everything i could think of. Luce is going to a fiber home where she will not be bred.

Kearsley: white ewe - great mom, only one nipple worked. Came home from a weekend at the Fiber Mill and found lamb dead. My dad 'didn't see anything wrong'. This will haunt me for life as I wasn't there. She was healthy and nursing when I left. UGH! Kearsley is very distraught too poor girl.

Catalonia: white ewe, white ram - great mom - she had milk fever but got it under control, ram lamb appears blind. Gave B-complex and thiamine shots, he can sense light and doesn't run in to his sister but its very frustrating.

I need to invest in an E-Z milker as my carpal tunnel sure doesn't seem to help when I'm milking out the BFLs. For all the work of the BFLs I surely love them and want to see them remain here. They are SO docile and loving towards me. Like big 'ol dogs. They come up for scratches and such and follow me around on a lead/halter after only seconds of being on one. They are very trusting.

Shetlands still look a ways away. Udders are not as large as they were last year so that apparently means later lambs this year. Thank goodness I didn't pull the rams out early last year like I do for the time period around the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Nationals. My luck they will all be due around that week!

I'm really getting anxious for easy lambing to commence with the Shetlands.

My weekend

Here is what I did last weekend. Photos and all!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nekomis' Fleece

FirthofFifth Nekomis is a strong contender for elite ram status here over Jazz :) Nekomis as a 2 year old microned ridiculously low numbers. AFD 21.8 / SD 4.6 / CV 21 / CF 97.8%

Jazz is Nekomis' uncle and I'm curious to see if Nekomis carries moorit as he hasn't been used until last fall. He was put over a good portion of my ewes. He has lovely conformation, nice horns and loads of breed type. If he carries moorit I'm hooked! :) I am either way. Those numbers are fantastic!

His fleece weighed in at 3.5 pounds unskirted. Here it is on my kitchen table.
Here it is rolled up and ready to be put back in the bag
Here is a close up of his fleece. I took the photos with my camera phone so not the greatest but you get the idea. I believe I will enter this at Jefferson this year in the fleece show. I think its amazingly fantastic.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Lambing Begins

This morning at my morning feeding I heard a very LOUD and adamant lamb noise coming from the BFL pen. I dropped the hay bale and ran to see that Beechtree Kershope had given birth to a large set of twins!

My lambing theme is "Brands of Beer" and thanks to I was able to find two names that were fairly fitting. I also like to name the lambs starting with the first letter of the ewe's name. This helps me follow ewe lines in my flock (I started this with my Simmental herd 20 years ago, and its amazing how the make up of your herd favors certain lines). The lambs are out of Beechtree Wycliffe (F2 Rossiebank X003).

This photo was taken with my camera phone so not the clearest but I WAS running behind for work today! The English Blue ram lamb is WhitePine Kent (Australia) and the white ewe lamb is WhitePine Kestrel (Scotland). Both lambs had full tummies when I dipped their navel and gave them a squirt of Nutri-Drench. Weights when I get home from work!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Got Wool?

Well this is MOST of the wool from my flock! I was very pleased with Shearing Day 2011. More help, more customers (new and old), more fleeces, more efficient, more food, more laughs. More fineness of fleece. Overall extremely pleased with the flock! I'll be taking some photos of some of the fleeces as I clean them.

This weekend I am going to visit some Shetland friends and take some of my cross bred fleeces in for a quilted batt, the BFL fleeces will go to roving, and a few of the Shetland fleeces will go to see what this mill can do with fine fleece. Most of my fleeces are in the fine category so I'm nervous to have any of it processed at a mill.

The dogs love running in circles around the new 'toy' and they now have three race around the table, one around the bags of wool and one around the couches. Oh the joys of being a dog!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Shearing Day Tomorrow!

Well come snow or sunshine, we'll be shearing tomorrow! All 106 sheep! Brian Fitzpatrick our awesome shearer will be starting at 8am. I will have help coming in shifts for most of the day, but you are welcome to help, or just sit back and watch too! The more the merrier!

Food and Drink will be provided all weekend for those who wish to stay over.

Fleeces right off the sheep will be available as well for sale :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shetland Mule and Shetland-Cheviot ewes

I'm really not going to show you all 106 sheep. But I wanted to show you some 'special' ones.

Below is UnderTheSon B17. She is a Shetland Mule and will be two this spring. She's a gorgeous ewe with a gorgeous fleece.
B17's fleece

Below is UnderTheSon Y06 who is a Shetland-Cheviot. She's my favorite of the S-C ewes I have.

Her fleece is below:

UnderTheSon Y03. She is also a Shetland-Cheviot. 2 years of age. She loves to pull hay out of her fleece...hence the 'hot mess' *sigh*

Her GORGEOUS fleece below:
UnderTheSon Y40. Has the most 'grey' face of the S-C ewes. She's also two.
Her fleece below:
This fleece below is of a now yearling Shetland Mule (English Blue, Aeb/Aa, BB/Bb, SS/Ss)
Here she is.....albeit slightly hunched up...she hated being 'cooped up'
This is one of the Shetland Mule's out of FirthofFifth Evidence of Autumn (Ephraim, Eve and Aman's mother). This is Aeb/Aa and long, lusterous fleece.
Below she is sporting her lovely new purple ear tag!
This fleece is of her twin sister who is slightly larger than her sister.
Below is her profile. they retained the white spotting on the face and ears. Super cute :)

WhitePine Sedalia

Yes she gets her own post :)

For anyone who knows me, has followed my blog or talked to me in person, they KNOW how much I LOVE this ewe. Her dam is 100% domestic, her sire is Wintertime Jazz (87.5% UK) so she is around 44% UK.

I did a repeat breeding of her and got WhitePine Selah. They were so similiar I was in heaven! I then took Selah and Ruben (Black ram out of UTS Arapaho x FirthofFifth Rahu) to my good friend Kathy Davidson in Glen Rock, PA. I hope that both of them help Kathy in her quest with her Shetlands. I hear Selah is still incredible in the fleece department too! Selah is one of my favorites!!

And who could not LOVE this face? She's becoming increasingly tame, after a year or so of being completely rude and standoffish. LOVE this ewe. LOVE LOVE LOVE this ewe.
Two white socks and a white tail to boot. She was bred to WhitePine Levi and I got a gorgeous ewe lamb with small smirslet named WhitePine Sarai. I'm almost certain Sarai is a poll carrier. Time will tell. Sarai is getting bred to WhitePine Ludacris this fall (Smooth polled F1 Holly moorit bielset ram).

Sedalia is bred to WhitePine Barnabas (F1 Orion F2 Timothy) Mioget Katmoget ram. These lambs should be amazing given their parents!
And this yummy fleece. Its about 3 inches long and when stretched out it is around 5 inches. Super crimpy its hard to get a photo to show it off well.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

BFL fleece and photo shots Part 2

The white BFL is an amazing animal. Their blue pigmented head with the roman nose and erect long ears took my breath away. Its not a look that every can appreciate and I respect that. The BFLs are just amazing animals when you look at all they have to offer, and all that they can do.

Without further ado I bring you my white BFLs!

Beechtree Kearsley.
Foundation ewe ( I have four of her daughters here, Kershope, Morovia, Sine Qua Non and Prima Facie). She herself is more domestic looking (less than 50% UK) with only Carryhouse V2 and Rossiebank Laird in her pedigree. She is not my ideal ewe but produces them! See how she produces in her daughters below:
Below is her fleece parted.
2010 Micron Results: AFD 26.9, SD 4.3, CV 16, CEM 7.5, SF 25.1
Not bad for a 5 year old!

I have no secrets on this farm. Kearsley has frost bite and gets it every year. Its not that she isn't hardy enough, or that its too cold. I believe its because she's too fat. It happens in the same spots every year. Usually around mid February. She does NOT pass this on to her offspring and she is not a peeler. Her daughters all have lovely fleeces as well.

Beechtree Kershope
She was my very first ewe lamb I bought and she is F2 Titan F3 Carryhouse V2 among other things. She had Kacy the Natural Colored ewe in the previous post. Last year she was AI'ed to Titan but didn't settle. This year she is huge and looks to have triplets or more in that gigantic body.
Kershope's fleece
2010 Micron Results: AFD 30.1, SD 4.6, CV 15.1, CEM 7.7, SF 28

Cross Wind Clover

2010 Micron Results: AFD 30.4, SD 5.7, CV 18.6, CEM 10, SF 29

ShelteringPines Morovia
2010 Micron Results: AFD 26.9, SD 4.7, CV 17.4, CEM 8, SF 25.4

Sheltering Pines Catalonia
Her fleece below:
2010 Micron Results: AFD 26.2, SD 4.7, CV 18, CEM 8.2, SF 24.9

ShelteringPines Sine Qua Non
(latin for: absolutely essential)
She has the most awesome fleece. I love how it drapes and how fine it appears! She is out of Beechtree Cragganmore and Kearsley. Lovely blue should see them in the summer!
Below is her fleece:
2010 Micron Results: AFD 25.3, SD 4.2, CV 16.8, CEM 7.3, SF 23.8

I also missed a photo of her twin, Prima Facie (means at first look), but below is her fleece. Its fantastic!
2010 Micron Results: AFD 26, SD 4.2, CV 16.2, CEM 7.5, SF 24.3

These last two girls are exactly what I am looking for in the breed: drapey, long fleeces that open cleanly to the skin. Deep blue pigment. Typey heads and proper ear set. Below is a photo of them being shown at Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival in Jefferson, WI last September.

BFL fleece and profile shots Part 1

Natural colored BFLs are my favorite. They are not registrable in the UK, but thankfully the founding members of the BFL associations in the USA permit them.

Natural colored BFLs are really English Blue in pattern (Aeb) and that pattern can be very dark to very light. I have both ends of the spectrum in just a few specimens.

The BFLs are just big dogs in wool jackets. They are inquisitive, friendly, sassy, and tame by nature. They accept handling quite readily and free stack naturally. Unfortunately the photos below are not all perfect as I can't see what I'm doing from in front of the sheep (yes that's my red arm).

*As always, click photo to biggify*

Beechtree GlenLuce
WS&WF Reserve Grand Champion Natural Colored Ewe 2009
GlenLuce is bred to Beechtree Wycliffe, an F2 Rossiebank X003. Below is a photo of her fleece.
2010 Micron results: AFD 28.9, SD 4.6, CV 15.9, CEM 8.3, SF 27

Sheltering Pines Burma
Burma is my natural colored ram. I have his triplet sister (white ewe, Catalonia) and his triplet brother is making Mules in Indiana at UnderTheSon. Burma has produced a lovely ewe below named Kacy and several lovely Mules here. Burma is available for sale for either purebred breeding or making mules. Very handsome and mellow man.

Burma's fleece below (apologies for blurriness)
2010 Micron Results: AFD 27, SD 5, CV 18.5, CEM 9.2, SF 25.8

WhitePine Kacy
(her wool on her rump was quite fluffy today, she is level)
Kacy is my only lamb from 2009. Burma's daughter out of Beechtree Kershope.
2010 Micron Results: AFD 26.3, SD 5, CV 18.9, CEM 8.5, SF 25.2
Kacy's fleece below

I forgot apparently to take a photo of Cross Wind Bea in profile, so all you get is her fleece photo for now. She's my lightest Aeb (English Blue) girl.
2010 Micron Results: AFD 27.9, SD 4.5, CV 16.1, CEM 7.7, SF 26.1

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 ...