Sokka is eating hearty and full of energy

I am not going to make any predictions, I’ve learnt at least that much with sheep the last few years, but he is going in the right direction and we’re going to let him spend the day hanging out with his flock tomorrow and see how that goes.

He’s got enough energy that he’s no longer easy to grab for checking his healing progress.  Which is good news.

The rest of the flock is doing ok, but we’ll try to check them later this week to see if they have anything going on.  Nobody looks to have the telltale matted wet wool when I’m giving hay though, which is good.  Apparently this time of year even in this climate is when flystrike is likeliest to occur, not high summer.  We should be out of risk season by the next of September though.  It’s getting cooler, the 50 degree nights are definitely speeding his recovery even if the 85 degree days are not exactly helping it.

Sokka got flystrike

No pictures, went ahead and called the vet.  Husband and I had to shear/trim the infected areas where, well, flies had gotten in.  DO NOT IMAGE SEARCH FOR FLY STRIKE OR FLYSTRIKE.  Unless you have a strong stomach.

Apparently it happens to lambs even in cooler climates like ours.  Hopefully the little guy will pull through.

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.

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.

Wingus choked to death on electronet

I was able to bail him out a couple days ago, but today he snuck by and we just didn’t catch him in time.  He was tangled where there is a lot of bramble and it’s not easy to see if a sheep is actually tangled or not without stomping out there in the mud and thorns.

No more electronet for us.  This is the first (and hopefully only) death from it, but we’ve had so many close calls with our other sheep that we’re just going to have to put up something else that is higher-hassle to move around for our temporary fencing.

I know it’s our first year (from when we got our initial sheep), and my husband keeps saying that part of starting out even on a small scale is losing animals due to inexperience, but we were really hoping to eat Wingus, he was really massive.  And the punchline is that we don’t know enough about dead animals to know if the meat is salvageable, so he’s going straight in the ground as fertilizer.

I’m just feeling very overwhelmed right now.  My own child is gaining like crazy, if his current gains persist, I’d have a 90lb one year old.  So it’s hard to wait for the old energy levels to get back up.  But it’s good to have a healthy, comically large newborn.

Anyway, we have a lot to learn, and in the meantime our bellies will have to be filled with humble pie as we gain that wisdom from experience.

What we did today (Fall Shearing Day)

shaftfleeceSix pounds of Shaft’s unskirted Icelandic wool, fresh off the sheep.  We also got the other 12 sheared and hoof trimmed.  They have held up pretty well the last few weeks.

The shearer we used this time was a very professional guy from Concrete, Pierre Monnat.  He was careful with the sheep and did nice work.

I finished my own addition to the farm, a little boy who is growing ridiculously fast.

I’m still pretty tired, so that’s all for now.  But we do now have some raw fall fleeces.  They are softer than the spring clips and it will be interesting times preparing the best ones for sale.