Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Guess What's New?

If you guessed fur of the canine variety...you are right!

Two more Great Pyrenees came to live with us on Saturday.  They came from Tim and Kim's alpaca farm down in LeSeuer, MN.  A female, Fuji  front, and her neutered litter mate, Bannon  back.  They are 4.5 years old and have been guarding alpacas for the greater portion of their lives.  My goal is to have them adjust to guarding Shetland sheep and learn to love living here on Boston Lake.

But first I have to get them past the stress of moving to a new farm.  I also need to finish grooming Bannon's backside.  As you can see, Fuji has already been trimmed. She looks like a white lion now!  Then Shachah has to accept them.  He doesn't seem to mind the fixed male at all.  He won't let the female come near the house though, unless she is on the leash with us.  All Shachah does is bark to keep her just beyond the car park area.  He doesn't seem to mind if she wanders all around the rest of the farm.  So the aggression isn't very intense.  I am hoping that more time...and getting Fuji spayed...will help.

For now we are rotating the new dogs through the kennel, on the assumption that they are so bonded that they will not leave the other one behind.  This has been working...with the exception of Bannon following Clancy to the mill yard this morning. (about a mile away)  I had to walk him home from the mill.  So tomorrow morning, Bannon will have to be in the kennel when Clancy drives away.  We learned early on that they will not stay in electronet.  Dang! that worked so well for Shachah when he first came here.

I admit, introducing adult dogs is more difficult than introducing puppies to adult dogs.  And introducing very instinctual working/guardian/territorial breeds is harder still.  I am trying my best to rise to this occasion.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sudden New Friend

 (LRO Ash x RiverOaks Lana)
Thanks to a mad flock-wide rush to the grain treat being served, I was able to catch this wary little ewe lamb and get her coat on her.  She is incredibly soft.

This is Penelope's dam, Lana.  Lana came to live here about a year ago, and I have never had such a flighty ewe in my flock before.  I couldn't tempt her to come near me.  She kept the flock between herself and me at all times.  She was shy about coming up for grain.  She would climb the walls when I entered her lambing jug this spring.  Nothing seemed to ever reassure her that I wanted to be nice and gentle to her.

Then Clancy and I caught all the girls a few days ago to put coats on them.  Lana freaked out when we caught her diving in at the grain pan, and she struggled while we wrestled with her coat.  But we didn't just let her bolt as soon as we finished.  We held her gently and rubbed her chest and scratched her ears for a moment while we softly let go of her, and then she trotted off as soon as she realized she was free. 

Later that day, I visited the pasture to take some pictures.  Without any sort of warning, Lana walked right up to me and put her head in my lap.  I was stunned...even more so when she didn't flinch as I raised my hand and began scratching her ears.  After a nice long lovey session, I was the one to move away first.  And ever since then, Lana has come straight up to me for pets as soon as I enter the pasture.

I treasure miracles such as this...so unexpected and precious!  It might be only a matter of time now before Lana's bewildered, flighty eweling, Penelope, decides to come in close enough with her mother that I can pet her too.  I'm hoping.  :) 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Late Summer Ram Lambs

Ta-Da! The inspiring Trans Am!
I never get tired of photographing this boy.

Tucker's head.  Just minutes before he broke off one of his button scurs.  Wish all my ram lambs had so little horn material!  Tucker has improved in his attitude.  He is seldom even interested in me anymore, and when he does come forward, he sniffs and walks away again.  I never did get him banded.  So I am impressed that he seems to have outgrown his shenanigans.  Tucker is my second largest ram lamb, recessive for moorit, and carrying solid.
Nhu's twin ram lambs, Gwilym & Ian.  Both have gorgeous fleece.  I'm showing their back ends because the moorit was born with what appeared to be a long hairy tail.  It was so out of line with his parentage.  But look at him now...a very small and proper tail!  How these lambs can surprise me.

Here is Nhu's moorit, Ian, from the front.  One of his scurs broke early on, the other is it's original length.  This boy had a spotted forehead at birth.  And I'll be coating him as soon as I get out the needle and thread to repair one more C coat.

Monday, August 8, 2011

August Already...

...how can that be?
Boston Lake Esyllt ('10) & Sextant ('11)
(both wearing size D coats)
We have been having a hot and humid summer with ample (too much!) rain so the pastures have been as lush as can be.  It has almost been hard keeping up with them, but the sheep are doing their best.

Boston Lake Lyneth
Yesterday, Clancy helped me put coats on the ewe/lamb flock.  I wish it hadn't taken me this long to get that accomplished.  At least they have been on pasture since shearing this spring.  No hay feeding without the coats on is my rule around here.

RiverOaks Hannah
All of the ewes are looking good except for Nhu.  She still has her twin ramlings with her, so that might be part of it.  She also tends toward the thin/narrow type.  But I gave her some Valbazen de-wormer anyway.

Boston Lake Trans Am
(S'more Courante x River Oaks Hannah)
Even the lambs were coated.  Most are in a size C coat now.  But Trans's twin, Justina, is still in a B; and Sextant is in a D!  He will be a nice butcher lamb this fall.