Goldie lambed between 9 and 10am today, with boy/girl moorit twins

We haven’t had a chance to weigh them, but they are on the smaller side.  She went over on her side with the girl after delivering the boy easily, but rallied and now both are walking and nursing properly.

ETA 1:30pm: The girl is named Katara and weighs 6lbs, and the boy is Zuko II and weighs 8lbs.


The boy


boy’s on the left, girl’s on the right


A month of lambing awaits us

If our two smaller ewes Goldie and Badgerface have singles rather than later conception dates, we could see lambs this weekend, and it looks like our two big heavy ewes Grey and Black N Tan are due up mid-month.  One of the joys of having a sheep breed with a bit shorter gestation than the books/extension sites mention is that lambing always happens sooner than you were quite expecting.  Icelandics lamb in a typical range of 140-144 days, with 137 being term and 154 being late-term.

I was operating on the assumption that the two small ewes missed two 17 day cycles and would thus lamb close to the end of April or early May, but it is increasingly looking like they didn’t miss that many cycles and did get covered before mid-December.  So we’ll be starting the lambing watch this weekend, but low-key, with the big push after April 15.  So hopefully we’re done at the end of April.



Rooing the day

Recently we rooed one of the ram lambs, Dingus.  It was a pretty successful experiment, we got a lot of fleece off him.  We are going to try rooing the entire flock and shearing whatever doesn’t roo off ourselves instead of doing a professional spring shear.  This will avoid the “carpet” look of spring fleeces and also provide more open locks for spinning instead of a more felting-friendly dense wool.

I also snagged a few locks from the other rams while feeding them.


Locks from Scottie, Dingus and Bucky, from left to right. The crumbly bits at the bottoms of the locks are mostly dirt or skin flaking. Both wash right out and are not a processing problem.


Rooed fleece from Dingus. Looser and more open than if we’d sheared, as it’s the natural wool break, so the denser new growth stays on the sheep instead of matting.


More of Dingus’ fleece. It looks a lot more like the fall shearing this way, which is why if an Icelandic shepherd can roo their flock, it’s really a great way to collect the spring wool.



Quick updates

  • Updated the pictures of our flock.
  • Updated fleece sales page for the current year.
  • Ewes are looking on track for late April through mid-May delivery.  Grey, our biggest, fattest ewe is favoring a back leg, but is not off her feed or showing any other signs of weight or health trouble.  She’s always a little overconditioned, and the whole flock is about a month off from when we wanted to get hoof trims done, so we will take a look at her this weekend and try to tackle that maintenance with the others as well.
  • I’m back to working with the fleeces again, but I need a (cheap) camera to do closeups, the old cameraphone isn’t able to do that.  So I’ll pick up a little point and shoot so there can be more and better pictures of all those different processes.  A record as I go would be really useful these days.
  • The kids are coming out of sick season and our latest arrival is struggling to learn walking as soon as possible.  Hopefully this tires him out enough to start sleeping more than an hour at a time.  We are still awaiting the arrival of his first tooth, he has three buds right now, so it could be any day.


Sheep are good, weather is not

It’s all soggy and and swampy.  The sheep are looking ok, but we’ll have to watch out for worm load.  With all the rain we are definitely learning what all needs to be fixed/patched during summer when it’s drier.  Still not sure how to deal with some of the soggy areas near the barn.

Everyone’s settled into the sniffles, and the baby has settled into not sleeping at night because that’s what little babies do best.

That’s all for now, I should try to get more pictures even with the rain because I need to set conditioning baselines for future lambs and pictures will help more than my soggy memory.

Sheep roundup

The pregnant ewes are finally all together with their daughter lambs, and all the rams are together, which will make management easier.  The breeding pen was not really set up for hay feeding, but now we have two groups with access to the hay feeders, so that will go easier.

It’s been a really mild winter, grass is already coming up.  We should have fairly rich pasture this year with the extra time.  Still had to order more hay though, and we also have to fix a barn leak so we can safely use the remaining hay.  That’ll be fun.

We’ll try to get some hoof trims and worm checks in this month, while the ewes are not too heavily pregnant and then just focus on minerals and adequate hay until lambing season.