Something pushed part of the fence down and took our smallest ewe lamb Lovely with it. There have been some teenaged black bears and whatnot running around. It’s hard to say what happened. We looked for any traces of her, but there was no sign on our land or the neighbors bordering us.
The rest of the girls are fine and boys were in a separate paddock. I’ll have to record her as a probable predation loss.
We’ve had a lot of health issues, and scaled our flock down. We have about a dozen total between girls and guys, plus a healthy wether in Zuko 4. The land can support them even if we don’t get around to eating the rams this year.
Preliminary plans are to shear in a couple of months. Should be interesting.
This 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)
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.
The rams have twisted and bent cattle panels with their horns. They also broke through the panels and are now hanging out with the ladies. This is not really that bad, even though there are lambs there because it’s the tail end of the Icelandic breeding season and the lambs are unlikely to conceive anyway.
It wasn’t lack of food, it was hormones (they left their food to go do this). Spring is a funny season.
Grey just lambed, and I was leaving her to do her thing, but after two hours, I went up the hill where she was hiding out and there was a dead black ram lamb, still in the sac. The other black (ram, probably, couldn’t get close enough to check for sure) lamb was up, a little wobbly, but able to nurse. She has only one teat, so that’s not the worst thing. She hasn’t passed the placenta yet. I took some pictures, will post them later today. This is depressing, but she is the most skittish when lambing and I had to choose between hovering over her and risking more labor complication vs. leaving her to it and taking this chance of a dead lamb. We may have to try in the future what we did last year, moving her to a small pen until the lamb(s) are established. This year we let her lamb on the main pasture and she ran off into the woods where it was full of twigs and moss and fallen logs and branches. Not easy to observe her or for her to move around, but definitely isolated the way she likes it.
Husband and I: Coming off a very sick holiday season, but doing better and may be up and about this weekend.
Sheep: Pregnant ewes are pregnant, looking ok, we just have to find a Saturday to move them back in with the ewe lambs, hopefully it can be this one. Scottie is bold as brass, which will make sending him to freezer camp easier, but that’s probably still a couple weeks away. All the sheep are miserable about the rain. We have to order a ton or so more hay and a bunch more straw this week.
Kids: It’s a rainy enough winter that even they don’t want to be outside constantly. But they do want to run around and finding places for them to do that has been a bit of a challenge.
That’s all for now, next week should be more normal and busy.
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.