On Saturday we had to slaughter Sokka. He’d recovered well from his flystrike, but it made his horn grow back wrong and during the last week or so before his slaughter, he had a ton of new growth…right into his jaw. We caught it before it could kill him, but he was starting to experience discomfort. He hung around 90, not unusual for Icelandics and ok for a ram who’d been through what he had. His carcass was in great shape and he was in fighting trim.
The ducklings are outside in the old run, we lined it against weasels, we’ll see how that goes. They are very happy and enjoying a diet of greens and bugs to add to their feed. Looks like only one drake, so we may get a broody girl and some natural ducklings in a year or so.
We have to slaughter all the males Shaft produced. They favor fleece more than we’d like and aren’t making weight like their sisters. At least we’ll finally have that freezer of lamb/hoggett.
Now that we have two kids old enough to do the feeding and watering when they hit laying age, we’ve decided to do ducks again. We are doing ducklings again for the pure cuteness factor and also because it turns out to be nearly impossible to get 20-30 dollar a bird laying ducks. Cheaper isn’t cheaper if you can’t get it readily.
We didn’t get any cool colors, just went down to the feed store on Friday for a straight run of Khaki Campbells and Indian Runners, three of each. Straight run means no sexing was done, so we’ll see how many drake feathers we get. Last time we had 0 drakes on straight run, perhaps it will happen again.
In sheep news, Shaft is trying to get jiggy with all his daughters and may have succeeded with Ripley. But she weighs enough to handle a birth, so if it happens, well, that’s sheep for you. The other three lambs don’t weigh enough to conceive, and have speedy little legs.
The rams have twisted and bent cattle panels with their horns. They also broke through the panels and are now hanging out with the ladies. This is not really that bad, even though there are lambs there because it’s the tail end of the Icelandic breeding season and the lambs are unlikely to conceive anyway.
It wasn’t lack of food, it was hormones (they left their food to go do this). Spring is a funny season.
We bolused the eligible ewes and put them in with Shaft, who completed the mission nearly instantly with Badgerface but who has been struggling to figure out the logistics with the other six breeding ewes. I think he’ll be done by this weekend, but we’ll keep them all in another week at least. This blog has been the best way to track breeding dates, so there we are.
The ewes are stripping the trees of bark even though the grass is not that dormant and they have plenty of hay available. This makes the trees look like they’re bleeding.
We’re going to journey into the world of giving minerals via bolus next week and do a very late, long delayed breeding then as well. We will probably do this one in Feb with the seven adult ewes and one with Shaft’s daughters in October or November. I think that’s just how it’ll have to be and then we can see how both Bucky’s and Shaft’s daughters produce before beginning the work of closing the herd.
It’s sunnier lately, we’ve been quiet because we went back and forth about whether to keep going with the sheep. We will, but probably go with things like the staggered breeding plan above.
Late summer lambs will be challenging, but Shaft was one and he turned out great.
A lazy possum got tired of fighting the cats for their cat food and went after our two free ranging chickens who sleep in a coop with a busted latch. One chicken ran away to live to chicken it up another day. The other did not. The possum received a bite of chicken and two bullets from my husband, probably not quite the meal before a long rest it was hoping for.
So one chicken is alive somewhere in the trees and the other is dead, along with the predator that came after it. We have the darnedest ill luck with poultry in winter.
No pictures, and I think that’s for the best. The sheep are doing all right though. They like the mild winter.
Here is the nice shelter. The rams like it. It currently (for a few hours at least) has some hay in the feeder. It keeps the hay dry well and we’re already seeing a lot less waste.
The wind blew it loose in the back, but that’s getting fixed up this weekend. Cattle panels+tarp=happy rams no longer shivering in the rain and wind.