Dottie lambed a spotted girl and a fawn boy on Sunday afternoon

She was pregnant when we left for church and when we got back there were two little lambs at the top of the mountain.

Grey lambed today, it looks like twin girls.

 

So our final lambing tally is 8 rams and 5 ewes.  We will know for certain when we catch and wether half the rams, roughly.

Pictures later today or tomorrow.

 

Azula had a little fawn colored lamb today

She is showing great mothering instincts, very protective and birthing in a safe, cool clearing.  She didn’t show signs of having a second lamb, but gotta make sure with those first time mothers.  Getting pictures off my phone is a challenge since I switched away from Windows Phone, but it looks like everything will be able to be posted tomorrow.

Five lambs from three ewes so far, four more mature ewes to go and 1-4 one winter ewes due in August or September.

 

Lambing has begun

Goldie gave us two chocolate moorits in the morning and Badgerface gave us one chocolate spotted and one brown/white spotted a few minutes ago.  So we’re at 4 lambs right now.

Goldie’s are probably boy/girl and I could not get close enough to sex Badgerface’s or get pictures of her night twins.  I’ll have some up tomorrow though.

 

 

Sokka slaughter and ducklings outside

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.

Vaccinating little lambs and not-so-temporary fencing

We managed to get all the lambs vaccinated with their initial shots today.  As is the case with many folks who do not farm full-time, we have been trying to change our electronet over to other types of fencing, but we aren’t done yet, so it’s still up.  Our solution to the entanglement issue is boosting the charge with a plug-in charger instead of a solar one. And it’s only on one side instead of two, so that’s a sort of progress.

We also got the shearing for spring done, I may offer some of that in July, it looks much nicer than I thought it would.  I hope to have some more pictures up Monday of the sheared sheep. In the meantime, here is a picture of some ferns.

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Pretty cute ferns!

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.

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The boy

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

 

Quick year end notes

We’ve decided to pursue fiber sales, but not meat ones.  Pursuing meat sales is something we’ll worry about once we’ve made it through enough breeding seasons to have extra lambs at all.  And the economics of a fiber flock work out better for the current life circumstances we have going on.  With a fiber flock, you can always skip a breeding season and focus on only breeding the ewes that will give great fiber and good-enough lambs for slaughter.  Then they eat way less, but still pay their hay bills.

Selling fiber is ok, it just tends to be more of a slow trickle than a burst.  And we have to be open to the entire country to get reliable sales.  I don’t mind shipping though, and we’ll certainly explore sending fleeces to the mill once we get into 20 or more fleeces regularly. Fiber milling is an interesting field, given that as infrastructure goes, nobody is really taking it up, so there will be lots of machinery available as the mill owners, who are generally like 70+, retire or pass on.  Something to think about in a few years, maybe.

Preparing fleece is a lot of work.  There are ways to cut down the workload, but sheep grow that stuff pretty long because they need it, so it’s always going to be a bit of work, even if we ultimately send everything to a local mill and focus exclusively on high-value yarns, roving and felting batts.

And next year, since I won’t be growing any babies myself, we’ll go ahead and put in a real garden, finally go back to having poultry (going to go all-in and get ducks, chickens and geese) because the eggs really are Just Better and hopefully have a successful second lambing season.

I hope to post more to this blog and get more pictures up in the new year.  It does help to take little snapshots of how things go.