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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Sokka slaughter and ducklings outside

On Saturday we had to slaughter Sokka.  He’d recovered well from his flystrike, but it made his horn grow back wrong and during the last week or so before his slaughter, he had a ton of new growth…right into his jaw.  We caught it before it could kill him, but he was starting to experience discomfort.  He hung around 90, not unusual for Icelandics and ok for a ram who’d been through what he had.  His carcass was in great shape and he was in fighting trim.

The ducklings are outside in the old run, we lined it against weasels, we’ll see how that goes.  They are very happy and enjoying a diet of greens and bugs to add to their feed.  Looks like only one drake, so we may get a broody girl and some natural ducklings in a year or so.

We have to slaughter all the males Shaft produced.  They favor fleece more than we’d like and aren’t making weight like their sisters.  At least we’ll finally have that freezer of lamb/hoggett.

Scottie’s summer slaughter

…was messy but went decently (no contamination of anything we wanted to keep).  66lbs of meat plus offal was the approximate final tally, which means a live weight of about 200lbs.  He did have a full belly though, because we weren’t planning to slaughter this weekend for sure, so we didn’t restrict his food to reduce that.

More on Monday, including pictures!

Slaughter success and breeding victory

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Skinning Bart. He was very bony.

 

With the help of some relatives, one of the ram lambs, Bart, was finally slaughtered, skinned and broken down over the holiday weekend.  It didn’t take very long and we now have some Icelandic lamb in the freezer.  We should have Scottie and Dingus taken care of in the next week or so.

As for breeding, all the adult ewes are finally in with Shaft and hopefully everyone gets pregnant.  Due to the ewes’ cycling not being synchronized, they’ll be in there until January, or when they show conclusive signs of pregnancy, whichever comes first.  So we are going to have May lambs, which means April spring shearing.

Bart was a light yield, about 15lbs of finished cuts including the organs we kept.  That is a hanging weight somewhere past 20lbs, but not much past.  He weighed more before the weather got colder, but he was in fact weaker than Scottie and Dingus and lost some weight the last month.  Dingus has inherited excellent parasite resistance, as he was stunted but has a well formed, meaty frame.  He is smaller physically than Bart’s rangier, lankier frame, but will give more meat.  So that’s good.

My husband feels pretty good about his ability to slaughter sheep going forward.  Bart was stunned unconscious and then had his throat slit.  It all went very quickly.  The cold weather has helped a lot.

Now that Thanksgiving festivities are over (we celebrated with friends and family and it went pretty well and was delicious), I have to get back to the fiber prep.  Speaking of weight gain, we have a baby that went from 16 to 17lbs over the course of Thanksgiving week.  And still waiting to hit three months old.  I guess he’s taking lessons from the lambs.