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.


The boy


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



The latest lambs look good.

I checked on all of them this morning and the little ewe lamb looked a little wan, so I reached out to gently poke her to stand up as I had yesterday and she jumped up, ran for her dam and immediately nursed.

If they can run from you, things are probably fine. And they both already figured out how to do that.  The new mother hasn’t cleared up all her placenta, but that is not so uncommon.  It’s just lying around, and the black and tan ewe herself doesn’t look bad and was eating with typical vigor when I showed up.

These lambs are still less than 24 hours old, but it looks good from here.

No new lambs

The two ram lambs are growing about 1lb per day per lamb, based on the weighings we were able to manage.  They are increasing in vigor and size visibly.  They’re also darkening up, with a lot more brown than when they were newborn.  They are not likely to have much white, that is both recessive and not heavily selected for in the American Icelandic genetic pool.  As far as I’ve seen, shepherds of Icelandics in America cater to wool buyers who want a range of colors and not just white dye-friendly wool.  White wool isn’t rejected, it’s just not necessarily as sought after by people who want this fleece.  Also, many Icelandic-raising shepherds like working with wool themselves and also have a personal preference for the color variety of brown, black and spotted that is typical for the breed.

I think the other ewes must have been covered later than my recollections.  I looked back at my posts around that time and it looks like the first week of November might be when they were bred and not the very tail end of October.  The grey ewe was settled very quickly, which is surprising given that she remains our most skittish and feral ewe herself.  But I thought the gap between her and the others was just two or three or maybe four days.  If it was a week or so, then we could be waiting until the first few days of April for all the lambs to finish making their appearances.

We’re going to see if we can put together a permanent ram pen rather than a temporary one.  Even though Icelandics are not prone to out of season conception, their season goes through April, and they return to fertility during that time.  So it will be easiest going forward to keep the rams completely separate from the girls, especially since it will mean less work separating ewelambs from breeding ewes.  It’s too bad, it would be easier if they could stay in all summer with the ewes and the new lambs.  But our rams do better without the distraction of the ladies, surprisingly.  No dominance fighting, sharing food occasionally, and generally calmer.


First lambs of the season today

Two little white lambs out of the grey ewe I am always fretting about.  She only has one working udder (shearing accident took out the other one), but she’s previously nursed twins with no issues.

The lambs look pretty fresh, both are standing up and didn’t look weak or wobbly and seemed to know where the milky udder was, so I am going to give them a little time right now while I take some time to wake up myself.  She ignored all the fresh dry straw we put out in favor of the soggy grass (it was pouring rain all night long), which is just so typical for sheep.

Still waiting on the other three ewes, though.  Bucky, Shaft and the other ewes are being very protective.  Not so I couldn’t get to the new mother and lambs, but definitely not their usual (lack of) flocking behavior.  Icelandics tend to have poor flocking, but our experience has been they remember how when they think the flock needs protection.

It’s a pretty special day, hopefully the lambs continue to have a good start.

Another day, another bramble rescue

Little Shaft, against all sheep sense, got tangled up this morning in a blackberry bush.  I had morning treat out and he wasn’t there with all the others, he was up the hill quietly getting rained on and struggling with the stupid bush.  I had to cut yet more branches out of his fleece, and I thought he was knotted up, but he was actually just stuck to the root of the bush.  I was able to cut that out with the trimming shears pretty easily and then he ran away, shaking himself out and joining the rest of the flock.

I am going back out in an hour or two to see how he is doing, if he can run on both back legs, he was blessedly not stuck very long, maybe an hour or so.  He is so silly, this weekend we have to make yet another pass at his fleece to get the little bits out.  Shearing is not an option because he needs the length to keep the bramble from cutting him.  The crazy part is that there isn’t much bramble!  He just gets tangled in the very few bits that are in that pasture.  We may need to take the brush mower out anyway, though.  We’ll see after we catch up on hoof trimming and fleece trimming.  Again, this very stupid little lamb has an excellent, soft, water-resistant fleece.  I marvel endlessly as I cut little bits out because they’re attached to blackberry branches.  Better the bramble’s in the fleece than his skin, of course.


Fancy city thinking, fancy city problems

To keep this very simple, it is pouring rain right now, we’re utterly wiped out and we didn’t get everyone’s hooves trimmed.  Still two ewes and one of the rams left to take care of.  We will probably have to try tomorrow or even have to push it out to a random day next week.

But the way hoof trimming works if you don’t try to think like a fancy city person is that goats go in stanchions and sheep are sat up on their butts, either by a second person who isn’t the trimmer, or a sort of hammock/chair thing that does it if there’s no second person available.

We put sheep in the stanchion and oh how we paid for it.  In the stanchion you have bucking, frightened sheep that you have to hold down in addition to the stanchion.  Sit a sheep down, though, and you have a calmer animal that is UNABLE to freak out enough to cause trouble and you have an opportunity for the animal to know that you aren’t a predator or a jerk so they will be easier on successive maintenance days.

For some crazy mixed up reason we thought since the stanchion works awesome for goats it would just be dandy mcdandy for sheep.  Even though I can’t recall anyone local using a stanchion for their sheep and none of the sheep books mention stanchions for basic maintenance like hoof trimming.  Yeah, when your references don’t say to do a thing you think is more “logical” and provide an alternative that is easy and fast, they know of what they speak!

We were quite foolish to think changing it up would be easier or better.

Anyway, of the goats and sheep trimmed, the goats were easy, the sheep were hard until we sat the last one down and then it was easy (last one was little bramble-filled Shaft, his hooves were in nice shape and there wasn’t much bramble left to clear, but his fleece has a few burrs in the top layer, not near the skin, that will make spring skirting an adventure).

One sheep got cut (our gray with one udder because a shearer took out the other nipple), and she also has some kind of hoof issue on her front left hoof.  It is neither red nor stinky, the twin signs of rot, but there’s a lot of random hoof badness that isn’t hoof rot, so we’ll have to include her in the roundup of the three sheep remaining and get a better look at it.  It may just be a lot of impacted material from delaying a trim so long.

So we’re not done yet and we may be stuck waiting until next Saturday to finish the job, but we will definitely try to carve some time out ASAP and then we basically have to be very treat-happy for several weeks straight to get everyone used to us, since, you know, we (possibly) knocked up the ewes already and then proceeded to spaz them out.  We really planned this one out with thought and care, you betcha.