Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hannah Delivers!

After doing my best to completely ignore the fact that Hannah refused to leave the barn yesterday, I found this little black ewe lamb all dried off around 8pm last night.
Yaaaayyy!  At least I got ONE ewe lamb from Courante this year. 
She has the tiniest white spot on her poll.  And the most uniform dog hair coat I have ever seen.  It's just plain odd as all the other Courante offspring are super-crimpy.  It'll be interesting to see how her fleece grows out.
I think I'll call her Justina.

Then at 9pm I found this little guy bouncing all over the pen.  To say I was surprised is an understatement.
I've never bred for spots.  So he was charmingly unexpected.
I'm calling him Trans Am! ...after Clancy's flashy silver and black restoration project!

Love the white tail!  How cute is that?!

And one more just because I like his little pink nose.  :)

Notice the horn buds?  Since I am breeding for polled sheep, this little guy will be for sale if he develops into a breeding quality lamb by the end of summer.  He carries moorit and solid.

Hannah has since returned to the size of an average ewe that is pregnant with twins... how does she stay so huge?  Now I'm only waiting on Lana, my gulmoget, to lamb.  I'm thinking sometime after Wednesday...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Lamb Races

I have yet to capture any spectacular photos of leaping lambs.  But I did get some snaps of the little bunnies flying past me in their wild lamb races.  I laugh out loud at their fierce enthusiasm to expend as much energy as they possibly can!

Head On!  Tucker and Jane raced right past my ankles

Split around the tree!

And a little "kick"

Up and down!

Moving out.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Please, Hannah...

...Have your lambs while the sun is shining and it is 60 degrees.
Don't wait for the rain and snow that is supposed to move in tomorrow afternoon.
I'm begging...
(photo taken yesterday...her udder is even bigger today)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spring 2011 Micron Data

The micron data on my wool samples came in the mail this week.
Click on the photo to make the image larger (and legible).
The flock as a whole is getting finer each year, so I'll count that as progress.  Though I wish for finer fleeces than I have now. 
On the "Our Flock" page I have listed age and micron data for each sheep.  I will add the same info to the "Fleece For Sale" page soon.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Yes, I Cry

I lost one of my 3 ewe lambs tonight... Glisten (Ash x Vianne).
I found her sprawled in a corner of the barn at 6pm.  She was still able to stand at that time but she was breathing heavily and had a racing heartbeat.  I had my own foreboding thoughts on the matter, and a call to an experienced shepherding friend confirmed my two suspicions: pneumonia or being crushed/hurt by an adult ewe.

Clancy and I administered the proper dose of penicillin for pneumonia.  And since she seemed unable to stand, we also gave her a 0.1 dose of selenium.  I didn't think deficiency was the problem since she had been active since birth.  But I wasn't overly hopeful of saving her so I decided to just do whatever was possible.

We also milked out the ewe and Clancy bottle fed her just a bit while I went back to the house to prepare the shots.  He said the feeding didn't accomplish much except to exhaust her.  I was going to take her to the house for observation.  When I was removing her from the pen, though, she kept calling to her mama.  So I left her in a private stall with just her dam, thinking the mothering bond would be better for her than anything else I could offer.
  A few hours later she was gone.

It is hard to lose a lamb. 
I could elaborate...  but there is no use.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Two of the Sweeties

I'm in love with Sian's little twins, Francesca and Jane!
They are so perfectly delicate and sweet.
Francesca, the slightly smaller twin, was more bouncy and adventurous on her first visit to the great outdoors.
Jane was a bit more timid, but just as cute.
I'm so delighted to get some solid colored girls in the flock. 
And I can't wait to spoil them with smooches. 
I love the smell of clean baby lambs!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

All at Once - corrected

In a 24 hour span, starting around 7am on Monday morning, 5 of my ewes lambed.  I know some folks lamb out dozens of ewes at a time.  But since I usually only have a tiny handful of pregnant ewes each year, this spring felt like a flood of lambies!
Gwilym:  Courante x Nhu
Plus, my little barn is set up to handle three or four penned ewes.  Clancy had to use some chipboard to improvise a couple of extra pens.
Francesca (moorit) & Jane (black):  Ash x Sian
So far Courante has given me 3 ram lambs from his ewes- January & Nhu.  My favorite is Gwilym because his fleece is super crimpy.  But all the boys are very solid and nicely fleeced.
Ash has given me 3 ewe lambs and 1 ram lamb from his pen of girls- Sian, Vianne, & Leil.  All three are wonderful and I just might keep them.
I'm pretty sure Lyneth from Courante's pen didn't take again this year.
And each pen has one more ewe to lamb...Hannah/Courante and Lana/Ash.  I'm hoping for ewe lambs!
Ian:  Courante x Nhu
My friend with the Icelandics, Mary, made me a whole stack of these wonderful little lamb coats.  She modeled them off of a Premier One Supply coat that she had bought.  I am SO GRATEFUL to her for this gift.  The weather has alternated between cold/windy to cold/windy/wet.  So these little coats helped the shepherd sleep so much better knowing her lambs had an extra layer of warmth those critical first days.  They do cover up the fleeces so it isn't as easy for followers to see what I got this year.  But I am very happy with the fleeces.  One thing that is great with this lamb crop is uniformity.
Glisten:  Ash x Vianne
All in all, I'm very pleased with the babies from this first round of lambing.

*~*~*~*~*~  SUMMARY  ~*~*~*~*~*

S'more Courante:
LRO January: "Sextant" single black katmoget ram
BL Nhu:  Twins: "Gwilym" black katmoget ram, "Ian" moorit katmoget ram with head spotting

Little Red Oak Ash:
BL Leil: "Tucker" single gray ram lamb with tiny head spotting
BL Sian: Twins: "Francesca" moorit ewe lamb, "Jane" black ewe lamb
BL Vianne: "Glisten" single black katmoget ewe lamb

This Can't Go On

River Oaks Hannah has grown to be about the same size and shape as a hippopotamus.
I thought for sure she would be the first ewe to lamb.
All the other girls have given birth to their lambs, though.  And Hannah remains laboriously unconcerned with the fact that she can hardly waddle.
I think today might be the day, though. 
She was a bit separate from the group yesterday.  And when Leil and her lamb escaped the jug for a few minutes last evening, Hannah seemed determined to kill Leil and steal her baby.  That kind of vicious behavior usually means birth is less than 24 hours away.
I'm hoping she lambs today, if only for the fact that it hurts to look at her!

Friday, April 15, 2011


Grandlambs:  definition. offspring produced by one's own sheep that have previously gone to live at other farms.
photo note: the broom was used to keep a naughty rooster at bay.  :)

A dear friend from church, Mary, took Beck, one of my 2010 ram lambs, home last fall to use over her two Icelandic ewes.  Her two girls each gave her a set of twins this week.  A set of black ram lambs, one with HST spotting.  And a set of black katmogets, a plain ram and a HST spotted ewe lamb.
HST stands for Head Socks Tail spotting pattern
Since both of my friend's ewes are wildly spotted blacks, these lambs told me a bit about Beck.  Though he is a plain brown katmoget, he does carry spots (never would have guessed) and he does carry solid (his dam and sire were both kats).  Not that this info does him much good.  He'll go to the freezer as soon as he's sheared next week.  But that is no surprise to me.  Mary has a small farm and I totally support the fact that some folks choose not to keep breeding rams year 'round.  Adult rams do not make good pets.
I snapped this photo of the dam to the katmoget twins for those Shetland folks interested in spotting genetics.  It looked like the "caped" pattern that was mentioned a while back.
And here is that little ewe lamb up close.  I think Mary is super lucky to have the only ewe lamb of the season turn out to be fanciest lamb in the bunch.  Best wishes to Mary and all my little Grandlambies! 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Odd Angles

Boston Lake Sian

Boston Lake Tecwyn

River Oaks Hannah

River Oaks Lana

Boston Lake Clennam

Little Red Oak Ash

S'more Courante

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Amongst the Nibbling Green

Once again the grass is starting to show the slightest tinge of green, so I decided to let the sheep out of their pen for a few hours of wandering.
Just like in springs past, they loved it.  My older ewes didn't think twice about their change in situation.  The River Oaks ewes and the two ewe lambs were a little disbelieving of the sudden freedom.  They spent a little more time sniffing about.
Shachah, our livestock guardian dog, was startled to notice the sheep wander up to the house.  He barked a few times, and I told him 'thank you' for the notification of loose sheep.  Apparently, he was willing to accept the new situation as long as I was fully aware of the matter.  I more or less followed the flock around, picking up sticks and tossing them into the brush pile as I went.

Yearling Esyllt really tested Shachah's patience.  She insisted on walking right up to him and investigating his face at close range.  Shachah barked a warning and she didn't even hesitate to move in closer on him.  He bared his teeth and she sniffed his ears.  He growled and she stepped forward.  I thought for sure he would  knock her down at least... if not actually bite her just a little.  But he never did.  He was disgruntled and upset with her lack of respect, but he also seemed to understand that she was simply curious and not threatening. 

I have a theory that ewe lambs are quite prissy and naughty because they expect their mommies to come thundering in if anyone threatens them.  At least the ewe lambs of dominant ewes seem to do this.  The other yearling, Carys, approached Shachah later and his warning barked worked on her.  She gave him about 5 feet of space.  Could it be that Carys didn't have as much nerve since her mother was sold last summer and she has been on her own since then? 

All the older ewes either completely ignored Shachah or sniffed at him as they passed by and he didn't even mind them.  And to his credit, Shachah also moved with the flock.  He wasn't always close to them, but he made sure the flock was always in sight.  It was really neat to watch him work!  
If my schedule allows, I will let the ewes out for a few hours every day until there is enough grass in any one place to set up the electronet and keep them fed.  While the grass is still sparce, though, they will continue to get their regular ration of hay.

We Got Away

Clancy and I got away for an overnight in Walker, MN this past weekend.  Our only plan was to spend time with each other... it was so nice to not have any cares for a couple of days.
Our real wedding anniversary was near the end of February, but this was our official date for the year.  I'm happy to say that I am still in love after 17 years of marriage.
Thank you, Clancy, for being such a fantastic person.  I love spending my life with you.
And thank you to our sons... they did all the farm chores while we were away.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Byron Johnson sheared our flock last Friday, April 8.  It was wet and soggy all week, and then the sun shined bright on Friday morning and shearing went off without a hitch.  I feel infinitely lucky to have it over with before lambing begins.  Lambing could begin this Saturday, April 16.
Sian, 5 year old black, once again shows some iset on her hips.  But it took three years to develop that iset, and so far, her ribs and shoulders are still black.  Maybe some more experienced breeders could tell me whether she is a non-fading black with ordinary age graying, or if she is iset.  I've had other black Shetlands that were frosty with iset from head to tail by their first shear.  Just curious to hear opinions on how other breeders would categorize her.
Little Red Oak January and her black kat daughter, Esyllt.  I was pleased to see that all the ewes, bred and open, had good flesh under their fleeces.  They were fed grass hay all winter.  I did start a whole corn/oats/molasses blend feeding at 6pm each night about 2 weeks ago.
River Oaks Hannah is the biggest girl out there.  She looks like she is carrying triplets compared to the others.  But I'm truthfully just wishing for nice twins out of her.  I was happily surprised with her soft fleece this spring.
The shearer had a hard time with River Oaks Lana's fleece.  He couldn't get the clippers underneath the rise all along her back and hips.  And her belly had completely rooed.  She is skittish of me so I don't know if I'll get her cleaned up later on or not.  Lana does have the lighter flash marks along her hips now.  They are not as dramatic as some gulmogets I've seen.  Some breeders prefer solid sided gulmogets.  I can't say I have an opinion either way.  I am just so pleased to have Lana in my flock.
Here is little Carys, unbred yearling.  I think she looks like a little dolly. 
And finally, some hind shots.  White Lyneth is the girl that didn't take last year.  Her kat twin in the background gave me twins for her first pregnancy.  I think Lyneth might just be really fat again this year.  If that is the case I will decide her future based on her micron results.  Excellent numbers may persuade me to offer her as a fiber pet.  I had wanted lambs from Lyneth especially because of the deep depressions in her skull.  I figured she has the polled gene for sure.
The shearer thought she looked bred.  Ah well, we shall see.
Let the waiting for lambs begin.