Thursday, April 30, 2009

Goodbye, Pretty Princess Penelope

It turns out that I don't have a good picture of Penelope. she's the almost all-white sheep in the back of this shot. I thought she was so pretty, with her big white strip down her face, I named her Pretty Princess Penelope.

One of the stall doors was left unlocked in the barn. The sheep got into the tack room and demolished the chicken feed bags in there. We have many many sick sheep today - some just don't look good, most are having elimination issues, if I can try to use a euphomism there. But it was too much for Penelope. Too much chicken feed can give them bloat. Penelope died last night. She was a sweet sweet little sheep. Goodnight, my sweet sheep.

There are a few repercussions of this. Good for one little lamb, bad for another. Here is Daisy Maisy. This is Penelope's lamb. She now has no mommy. The lambs are old enough now that they are eating grass and drinking water - but Daisy Maisy is looking for a momma sheep that isn't to be found anymore. The lambs are still nursing and Daisy Maisy has no where to turn. She's old enough that she is scared of us, so catching her to give her a bottle will be hard.

However, because we are trying to bring our flock to 12 ewes year round - we got to pick another female to keep. The pity in my heart wants me to keep Daisy Maisy. But Penelope was one of our smaller ewes, and she got sick and died. Do we keep her off spring? Larry thought we should keep one of our bigger sheep's lambs. We could keep one of Laverne's lambs - we know she is a stout and strong sheep. We could keep Marcia's ewe, since she is big and had triplets - but she also rejected 2 of her lambs. So we decided to keep Fat Cindy's ewe lamb. So we will keep Pebbles to replace Penelope. Here is little Pebbles with her momma, Cindy.

I am so sad to say goodbye to another of our ewes. It breaks my heart. It makes me feel like a bad farmer and a failure. We failed her. If she hadn't eaten the chicken feed, she would still be with us, and still be there for Daisy Maisy. I'm not a happy shepherd today.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Mowing the Lawn

Who needs a lawnmower? Larry and I have a push reel mower anyhow - which is good exercise for me. But really, who needs one?

Well, we actually do have "one" - it has a set of 27 blades of varying sizes, fully automatic, and it fertilizes as it mows.

I am putting the push reel into retirement. This lawnmower does a much better job. For the weekend - the sheep get the back yard, as we are still letting the pasture get a good start this spring, we don't want them chomping on the fresh grass just yet. They can have the backyard!

This is Shirley. I am happy she can graze freely. She doesn't need to fight for her share of a big bale of hay. She's a little on the thin side. She had twin rams in September, and triplets earlier this month. Poor thing. We are going to keep her out of the "rotation" this fall. I don't want her to have lambs again until she puts all her weight back on. So she gets to roam the back yard!

Here are all the sheep in the yard. Larry fenced them out of the garden beds, since my tulips are blooming, I didn't want them to eat those, too!

Here is Gertrude and her ram, Simon. IF we keep a ram, he's going to be the one. Gertrude is a very protective momma sheep, and her ram is very very big!

Here is Bam Bam and Pebbles. You can see Bam Bam nomming on a tree. That's not really what we intended, but it's OK.

Here are 3 of the little lambs - Trouble, Fiona and Arlo. We are keeping Fiona. She is Shirley's ewe lamb. She also had 2 ram lambs (Shrek and Donkey). Fiona is the lucky girl that will raise our flock to 12.\

This is also as it should be - we finally got (most) of the chickens out of the barn. Boy was that a fun project last night. We have maybe a dozen more to catch and get out to the pasture. That will be tonight's job. Yay.

Friday, April 10, 2009

We now have 16 baby lambs!!

OK, we MIGHT be done with lambs now. Velma has not given birth, and she might not have gotten tagged from Jean Claude. There is a chance that she may have gotten tagged from Charlie Brown, or Linus, so we'll just have to wait and see.

Our original 2 ewes, Laverne and Shirley gave birth this week. On Tuesday, Laverne brought us 2 ewes - Wilma and Betty. Wilma has the small black spot in her back, and Betty has the large black spot on her back, seen here, nursing with mama. Laverne and Shirley are sort of our favorites. They were our first, they are friendly with us, and they have been good mothers, as well as stout sheep. If we keep any of these lambs, we will keep from Laverne or Shirley.

Here is a picture of Laverne and Shirley the summer that we bought them.
Shirley surprised us with triplets today - 2 rams and a ewe. It's highly likely this is the ewe we will keep. And we REALLY need to make sure miss Shirley doesn't get pregnant again any time soon. If we choose to keep a ram from this lot - we need to keep him away from Shirley. The poor girl needs a break! She just had Charlie Brown and Linus in September. She is now the proud mama of (this is for you, Stacey...) Shrek, Donkey and Fiona.

Here is little Fiona

This is Shrek

And this little one is Donkey.

Now I have the dubious job of keeping all their names straight. Larry thinks I like to say their names just to hear my own voice, but really it's about repetition. The more I say their names when looking at each one of them, the more likely I am to remember them. It's sort of easy now to see which ewe they latch on to, but as they get older and more independent - it'll be hard to remember who is who!

But I do have fun sheep names... for our mama's, we have: Laverne, Shirley, Marcia, Jan, Cindy, Alice, Daphne, Velma, Lucy, Penelope and Gertrude

For our little lambs, we have: Fred, Ginger, Trouble, Sparks, Simon, Daisy Maisy, Little Orphan Annie, Arlo, Angel, Pebbles, BamBam, Wilma, Betty, Shrek, Donkey and Fiona.

Until and unless Velma is pregnant, that's all folks!!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Lambs #10 and 11

Cindy has been busy today. She's had 2 lambs (so far) there was at least an hour between lambings, which surprised me. She had enough time to clean off lamb number 1, and let it nurse, before she laid down to have lamb #2. While I sit here typing this, for all I know, she is having lamb #3. Yes, she is that big of a lamb, that we expected triplets, like Marcia had.

Cindy's last push (on lamb #1)

A lesson for Alice - this is what you are supposed to do after a lamb is born... lick it clean (sure glad I didn't have to do that to my little lamb)

Good job Cindy! Another all-white lamb. This one is a ram, and he's all clean and warm now.

An hour or so later, we went back to check on Cindy and her lamb. Atlas knew something else was up - we didn't think there would be that much time between lambs...

but we were wrong. Here is Cindy's second little lamb. We haven't even gone in to see if it is a ewe or a ram yet, and I haven't named either of these guys yet... still thinking and waiting to see if there is a 3rd.

Goliath likes his lambs! Goliath and Larry are hanging out in the sun with Sparks, Freddie, Trouble and Annie.

Little lambs are hilarious! Here is Larry trying to help Arlo nurse from his mother, Alice - while the other lambs play and act silly!

OK - I finally named them: The white male is Bambam, the black ewe is Pebbles. :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Lamb # 9

Introducing Arlo - Alice's little lamb. A warning in advance - I got to WATCH this birth. Camera was in hand. So I have some pictures and videos of the birthing process, and poor Alice. I stayed out of the stall, but could tell she didn't like an audience. I think, however, we expected her to bond with the lamb right away, and this poor sheep was just off in la-la-land. While Arlo was trying to get up and walk around, and was shivering, Alice just laid there. OK, maybe she earned the right to a short rest. But instead of waiting for her to snap out of it, Larry went in with a towel and wiped Arlo down a bit, because he seemed so cold, and put him next to Alice to nurse. She still hasn't taken to him a day later, so I think the towel may have been a mistake. It might have affected her ability to bond. Anyhow - here are some pictures and videos of Arlo's entrance to this world - as well as some other pics I took yesterday.

This is Alice in labor. She would get up and rearrange herself between contractions. I don't know if she was just trying to get comfortable, of if I was making her nervous, or if that's just what sheep do...

You can see a little lamb head and a hoof in this picture. The lamb has just broken through the amniotic sac, and you can see it's little tongue.

This was the last push, lamb and sac all came tumbling out.

Here is little Arlo finally on his feet, and trying to figure out where to find food.

Here are some of Arlo's little friends. These guys were having relay races yesterday. They would run out to the pasture, around the water tank, and back to the corral. When they saw me, they all let out a bleat and then ran back out to the field again, taunted the dogs, and then came running back until they saw me. Such little trouble makers. These are the eldest of the lambs - Ginger, Fred, Sparks, Simon and Trouble. Looks like Simon is trying to cause Trouble some trouble...

We also only have a few days left with Charlie Brown and Linus. I got this video yesterday showing the true depth of brotherly love! :)