Quick updates

  1. The King is dead.  Bucky went off to freezer camp in late April.  He’d gotten crankier in late middle age and was hassling everyone.  Clovis followed two weeks later.  I will get around to the pictures later this week hopefully.
  2. Life finds a way.  Zuko IV was castrated last fall, but somehow, against all odds, he regrew a testicle.  It’s small, has a bit of scarring, and is totally functional.  Oopsie.  Now he’s a possible candidate for the surprise lambs we thought we might have narrowly averted.
  3. Speaking of which, his dam, Brunhilde, dropped surprise twins Sunday evening while we were enjoying the nice weather.  The likely possibles include her own son and her half-brother.  It’s just a little Wagnerian.  They are a large black ram who is a little slow on the uptake and a vigorous but tiny little brown ewe who is simply adorable.  Pictures also to follow later this week just as hopefully.
  4. Faux Cow fell victim to predation.  Coyotes and black bears have been partying it up in our way way back.  We had gotten her back into good health and she was getting hearty and lanky like her dam, Dottie was in youth.  Oh well.
  5. We have a lot of yard work to do, the grass is going hog wild.  And we discovered the barn is too damp to store feed or pellets in sacks, so we’ll have to switch over to the garage for those.
  6. Icelandic rams are delicious at 4 years of age.  Tough, but flavorful without greasiness or bitterness.  Slow cooking them gives a really delightful repast. Honestly comparable to standard sheep breeds’ 18 month hoggetts. We had butchering help from a friendly local down the road and we sent him off with some mutton, which was turned into burger and was excellent, delicious, great in omelettes.  This made us relax about future slaughters of the older animals as they age.
  7. The kids are really taking to chores and starting to develop the general habit of tidying up before bedtime and after dinner.

That’s all for now.

 

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I was born yesterday, mega sheep update

13987409_1220353764655454_1601393727707132599_oThis black badgerface ram lamb being petted by a mysterious stranger is Zuko IV, out of Brunhilde.  She had him Sunday afternoon right before my eyes.  She is going to be our first ewe cull for conformation defects, her teats are located in very poor positions for nursing lambs, equivalent to under the arms.  Her little guy is cheerful and of hearty spirits, but totally unable to figure out suckling.  He has the strength, but not the instinct.  She was one of the unexpected lambings.

 

So was Ripley.  Hers was sadder.  She miscarried 8/4/16.  (GRAPHIC FETUS PICTURE BELOW)

 

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So we are at 15 lambs delivered of 9 ewes and 13 live lambs, of which one is currently a bottle lamb.  9 live males, 4 live females and sex indeterminate of the miscarriage.  Still waiting on Toph and Katara to give us a sign they got pregnant.  Nothing yet.

We got enough fencing in place to keep the yearling rams from roaming.  And roam and roam they did, apparently in the wild it is normal for young unbred rams to find a little pasture away from the herd Rocky-style and train (via eating lots, the sheep version of lifting big and posting gains) to take down the Big Ram.  So that is what Clovis and Zuko II were doing when they kept busting out of the fencing.  But now they’re stuck in our roughly 4 acre pasture, until we can send them to freezer camp.

We met several neighbors, who were pretty cool about things and have really nice pastures, at that.

We are done with breeding for the next few years and will just focus on fiber.  We will probably just eat and/or sell all the rams.

 

 

 

Breeding logistics begin

We moved the ram lambs in with the adults.  They formed their own little mini-flock far away from the big older rams.  Bucky sniffed Sokka, our recovery story and declared him in decent enough health.  Shaft is thrilled to have moved up three places in the pecking order.  Selecting for temperament really pays off when you do have to keep rams of different ages together.

Registration is what we’ve decided to pursue for the flock as a whole going forward, but it’s complicated to set up initially, so we’ll be breeding around Thanksgiving again or whenever day after I can get the registration people on the phone, whichever comes first.

It’s weird weather, wet and green, but cold nights, though not cold enough for frost where we are.  The sheep are ok with the new grass but like us they are not fans of the mud.  Straw-spreading season has definitely begun.  I hope the winter stays mild.