Tag Archives: sheep

Spring is for Babies!

It’s baby season here on the farm!!  The finally farm babies were finally born a few days ago, so the anxiety of the farmers has gone way down, and now we just get to enjoy adorable sleepy, bouncy babies.

Baby lambs…

…so many baby lambs….

baby goats!  Caitlyn finally had her twins, a boy and a girl.

And baby chicks! These guys are mostly meat birds, an experiment here on the farm.  Looking forward to seeing how pasturing works with these guys!

A Brief Sunny Day

This weekend we set up some temp fencing on the steep hill between the garden and the house, and let the sheep come eat down the tall grass. We’re keeping them off the pastures to try to recover from the hard year last year, and they’ve been stuck eating hay for weeks, so they were pretty excited for the break. Well, the adults were, anyway.. the lambs took a little training before they figured it out…

But once the lambs got used to the idea, they settled right in on the garden steps and organized the cutest photo op ever!

While the lambs napped, we hauled compost to repair the garden beds, and pulled weeds. Last frost date is fast approaching!

Sam’s Broken Leg

Back in mid-January, our ram Sams somehow managed to break his right foreleg – probably cavorting around with the goats on the hills.

2015-01-16 08.34.26

When we first put him in solitary, he wouldn’t put any weight on the leg at all.  We called the vet — $800 to amputate, $1300 to set and cast.  We love Sams, but he’s only worth about $300 on the market and since we got him from our neighbors at Distracted Acres down the hill from us, finding a well-bred replacement wouldn’t be that difficult.

Our next step was to call our mentors at Distracted Acres and ask them for their guidance.  Heath dropped by the next day to take a look, and recommended we try setting it ourselves with split PVC pipe and vetwrap.  Since the worst of the pain seemed to be gone, and we knew we wouldn’t be spending more, it was worth a try!  As a breeder, his hind legs were still intact, so all we needed him to be able to do was get around comfortably, not necessarily have full use of the broken leg.  And if it didn’t work, as long as we kept him fed and comfortable, we still had the option to harvest him after giving him time.

The local Ace Hardware folks helped us by cutting some short lengths of PVC pipe, 1.5″ and 2″ diameter, in half the long way.  We packed the pipe with cotton batting, and attached it to Sams leg with vetwrap tight enough to hold the swelling and keep it in place.  At first he didn’t put any weight on it, and he certainly didn’t enjoy being confined to his stall for 6 weeks, but when he’d put in his time, we were thrilled to see him able to put full weight on the leg!

2015-02-14 11.13.25

Photo above is Sams out for a brief sunny visit to the lawn, still limping but with just vetwrap, no PVC for support.

After about 8 weeks, Sams shows no limits with the leg.  We’re so glad we didn’t give up on him too early, and that we managed to get the same results with $10 worth of supplies as we might have for $1300 at the vet!

Gathering Wool

Our small flock of sheep can technically be shorn twice a year, preferably early spring and late summer.  Last summer we had a few other things on our minds, though, and fewer hands than usual (some hands being busy holding an infant), so the poor sheep got through the winter with an extra heavy coat. They probably didn’t mind all that much during the solid week of below-freezing temperatures we had… but now that the weather is warming up again, it’s clear they’d prefer to be able to take off the heavy coats.

20140315-223614.jpg

The first photo is the day before shearing – they’ve started getting itchy and the two adults scratched off a lot of their back wool against a small walnut tree in the pasture.  Looking a little shaggy, girls.

20140315-223628.jpg

Eureka mid-shearing.  This time around we tried using a stanchion to keep the sheep still during shearing and found it worked a lot better for us.  Our sheep are BIG – holding them in one hand while shearing with another just doesn’t work well for us, and it’s stressful for everybody.  This way they got a snack while we worked on their wool.  It’s still not their favorite activity: she only looks calm because she’s actually given up ever being able to move again and is resigned to her misery.  Sheep are a strange bunch.

20140315-223634.jpg

All shorn!  Happy shearing weather was a little overcast so nobody gets a sunburn today or tomorrow while they get used to being naked again.  Looking forward to new clean coats for summer!

Lambs

The LAST farm babies were finally born!  Lambs!  And oh, my, are they cute.

20130927-230838.jpg

They were both born in the night, with no difficulties.  Both singles… it appears that is the way it will be with these ladies. But, healthy, huge lambs, both ewes, so we can’t complain too much.

20130927-230921.jpg

The farm brims with cuteness!

Happy Christmas!

20121229-181554.jpg

We hope your Christmas Day was warm and bright, whether you spent it unwrapping presents with family, or eating Chinese and seeing The Hobbit!

20121229-181612.jpg
For our Christmas Day, the sheep were feeling in a giving mood, so they led us on a merry adventure by getting loose and running off down the road. Then they got ‘lost’, and we had to help remind them how to get back to the pasture. On the way, Eureka’s will to live flagged (it’s a long way from the end of the road back to the barn!), and I got the chance to get this shot of her, giving up, lying in a mud puddle in the snow, while Thaddeus looked on in amusement.

We did finally get the ladies back to the barn, slightly more soggy than when they left it, and made our way to our own Christmas Day events.

On Borrowed Ram

We are really late on this task for the year, but we finally brought home a ram for Eureka and Blackfoot today. We are borrowing him from a friend of Thaddeus’s.

20121229-180228.jpg

His name is Magnus, and so far he is WAY more enamored of the ladies than they are of him. But hopefully everyone will settle in and we might get a few lambs.. Sometime in summer, because sheep gestation is about 5 months, and we won’t be sure the ladies are bred til early Feb. oh well, you can’t get it all right the first try!
20121229-180245.jpg

Gathering Wool

You may remember that we brought home two sheep last week. They were, as you recall, quite woolly, having not been shorn in two years!

20120817-144319.jpg

We tried all week to find someone to come help us shear them, but, no less than three people flaked on us and failed to show. They not only looked miserable, the local heat warnings were going from HOT to REALLY VERY HOT!, and we were worried about their health. Finally, in desperation I remembered driving past a local farm that raises sheep. I emailed our neighbors at Distracted Acres, and begged them for help – even just expertise to come make sure we didn’t kill the sheep if we tried to shear them. Troy agreed to come up and shear them for us the next day… we have the BEST neighbors ever.

20120817-141242.jpg

The whole event took 20 minutes start to finish. I wish I’d gotten some video, but it was way too dark in the barn, unfortunately. Here’s Talina’s feet next to the pile of wool sheared off of Eureka — she’s just 2 years old, so this was her first time being sheared!

20120817-141250.jpg

Here’s the final result: a massive bag of wool, all piled up and ready to be used for garden mulch next year, and, some naked sheep – out in the heat of the afternoon and not panting:

20120817-141039.jpg

Sheeps!

Well, we’ve really done it now.

20120811-123538.jpg

Earlier this week, we went to look at these two over-wooled lovely ladies.  They belonged to a friend of John’s, who hadn’t been able to care for them fully in the last year.  We have been tossing around the idea of adding sheep to our menagerie, but didn’t think we were ready quite yet… but it was tough to say no to these guys, who clearly needed a little help.  Also, SHEEP!

20120811-123547.jpg

The rest of this week has been filled with scrambling to figure out how to get to very hairy sheep moved up to our place.  Thank heaven, at the very last minute, we found someone willing to lend her horse trailer to the campaign.  We managed to get them loaded and brought up relatively easily.  The ladies aren’t totally happy about being around people, but if you’ve got some grain in your hand they might deign to stick around long enough to let you grab them.

So here we are:  sheep owners.