She’s gone to lamb heaven

The ewe who got sick with what was probably a very rapid E coli infection from being born in dirt is dead now.  She had a seizure and it was over.

 

So no baker’s dozen for us.  But we have a leaping, frolicking dozen lambs remaining, 8 boys, 4 girls.

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.

We have chickens

A friendly acquaintance needed to find their chickens a more rustic home, so we offered to take them since we were wanting to try chickens over ducks this year.  Pictures hopefully this weekend, my husband is working out the final roaming/run area for them.  Right now they are parked in our front yard and getting stirred up by a very silly little big girl.

Speaking of, I might call her Ram Tamer, since that is what she’s done.  Our rams now will stand still for petting due to her valiant and persistent efforts at feeding them by hand.  They are “right” kind of tame, not the kind of tame where you can get head butted (which usually is from roughhousing with lambs too often).

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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!

Pasture improvement is slow and steady

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This used to be a massive blackberry thicket.

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Grey and Ripley love hanging out up here in the shade. I wouldn’t enjoy sticks under me, but I’m no sheep.

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You can really see the slope and how they tore into the blackberry here.

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This was much more brownish-yellow before the sheep got to it.

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Now that’s the start of some soil fertility.

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Not a golf course yet, but maybe someday? Hehe.

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Miracle or mundane?

The sheep are doing a pretty decent job.  As much as we fret about how terrible and sparse our pasture is, right now the sheep cannot eat as fast as new growth comes in, and that’s from all their stompyfoot and grazing and pooping.  So it is getting better, but the process is years-long no matter how hungry the little sheeps are.  (The older kids call them “sheeps”).

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

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.