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We generally like to have our American Blackbelly Ewes give birth in March. The weather has warmed up enough by then that we don’t need to worry so much about a newborn getting chilled, or mama being stressed enough that she decides she doesn’t want another mouth to feed. Because sheep have a 5 month gestation, that means that we put our ram in with our ewes in early October.
But not last year. Kenny, our beautiful ram, had only one fence between him and his girlfriends, and he had been pining after them for MONTHS, and so he promptly rammed his rather substantial head and horns against an inadequate wooden fence post until he broke the post. That, along with the bottom of the fence not being well attached, and in he went with his girls in early September. Read the rest of this entry »
Barber pole worms. A phrase I was familiar with, but only in a passing way until a few weeks ago.
We recently weened our flock of lambs, at approximately 10 weeks of age, separating the ewes from the rams. We had a total of 21 rams, two adults and 19 lambs. (Once again, we had a hugely skewed sex ratio this year, about 75% male). We now have 10 rams total. We lost a ram a few weeks ago. He was small. It sometimes happens. We didn’t think a whole lot of it. Then a few days later, we lost another one, and I started calling our vet. They basically told me, “we’ll just send the pathology out to the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (WADDL) at Washington State University in Pullman. Cut out the middle man and talk to them directly”. So, two Thursdays ago, after several “let me transfer you” phone conversations, we found ourselves driving to Pullman with a lamb that we didn’t expect to make the trip (he didn’t). Results were extreme anemia and presence of Barber pole worms (Haemonchus contortus). Read the rest of this entry »
March is baby month. We started a bit early this year, with the first baby born on February 23rd. (We put the ram in with the ewes on September 26th, so right on time, 4 months and 28 days later, our first lambs were born). We have a total of 17 ewes and 2 rams. All of the ewes should be pregnant. Most ewes will have a single their first year, and twins the following years. Which means we’re gonna have a LOT of babies. Read the rest of this entry »
Babies. Boy do we have babies. We have 12 ewes of breeding age, and we ended up with 21 lambs, born from March 2nd through March 23rd. Five sets of twins, two sets of triplets(!), and 5 singles. We weren’t expecting the triplets. One mama, Cocoa, is doing just fine with her three, but the second mama, Maggie, has rejected one of hers. So we have one bottle baby. Of the 21 lambs, 17 of them are male. SEVENTEEN. Seriously?! We have no idea why our sex ratio is so skewed, though something very similar happened the first year we had lamb babies (10 out of 13 were male), and they too were also all born in March. Read the rest of this entry »
This week, it’s all about the babies, or toddlers, really, in most cases.
Our last lamb was born on May 5th. Our first lamb was born on December 28th. That’s a pretty good spread for 13 ewes. We weren’t sure this one was EVER going to deliver. It’s really hard to tell if they are pregnant when they are only carrying one. But its a beautiful long legged little ewe, and we’re very happy to be done with the season. Note that mama looks so scruffy because she’s starting to shed her hair. We run American Blackbelly “hair” sheep, which don’t require shearing.
I just returned from the Washington State Farmers Market Association conference in Vancouver Washington. It was a great opportunity to talk to other farmers and market managers, find out what the latest Department of Ag rule changes are (take home message: don’t put anything in a clam shell or a sealed bag, including twist ties – unless you have a food processor license, because doing so makes it “ready to eat”), and most importantly, get away from the farm for a few days. Bless my husband for feeding everyone (including the Bean), collecting eggs, and generally holding down the fort. Read the rest of this entry »
The title of this post is in honor of all the football playoffs happening today. As in “Da Bears”. This is Bean. As in Little Bean. As in Beanie Weenie. As in the cutest little sheep baby you’ve ever seen. On January 8th, Wallula gave birth to twins, one girl and one boy. The boy was the smaller of the two. At first, everything seemed fine. But after a day or so, we started to see her push him out of the way when he tried to nurse. We put her and the babies in a stall for a couple of days, and secured her head so the little boy could eat 3 or 4 times a day. But she still wasn’t interested in him. Read the rest of this entry »
On December 28th, we were finally going to make a trek up to Spokane to see my husband’s mom. We were out feeding critters in the early morning before we left, and I look over and see four new little feet. Maggie, one of our American Blackbelly/Soay sheep, has had a baby, and its a boy! We weren’t expecting any babies until late January. Surprise!
Well, Peggy lost one of her turkey chicks Monday. I hadn’t thought about it (and I should have), but we have a big stock tank that the animals drink out of and the ducks swim in. Turkeys will try to fly at a really early age. One of the little guys flew up, probably trying for the edge of the stock tank, fell in and drowned. Damn. So now she has just one chick. Read the rest of this entry »
We had a couple of families come out on Sunday to see babies. One of the teenage daughters said that there was so much cute her head was going to explode. I know just how she feels. Read the rest of this entry »