Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Shearing cancelled---busy weekend anyway!

I'm tired, and I'm cranky. But I'm happy too. :-) Not getting a full night sleep tends to wear one down. I've managed not to hover too much this year, but I do still try and get up and do a middle of the night check on the ewes. It seems I'm spending an awful lot of my 'spare time' plugging up holes in the fences. These aren't holes per se, but these little Shetland babies are worse than cats and can slip thru the tiniest of spaces. Over the years I've purchased or put together panels for lambing time. But this year, it just seems they are finding new places to slip through. Even the specially made sydell lambing panels are just something to slip through!

So shearing was cancelled, after much angst and worry and decision making. This is a chore that needs to be over. The sheep are hot, the shepherd is tired of worrying about it. All week 'they' called for rain. Tuesday it rained, Wednesday was great, Thursday was nice.....calling for scattered showers on Friday. I get off work at noon on Fridays, so while at the grocery store it started raining. It kept raining. I got home and got all the girls up--some were quite wet, some weren't. The boys pretty much stayed out in it and got soaked. I went ahead and put them up later that night. It was still raining--hard. I don't know how many inches we got but it was wet. The sheep were wet, water was standing everywhere. I had visions of taking every towel I own out to the barn and sponging off wet sheep. I didn't, but it did cross my mind. After dark I finally got the shearer and we discussed it, and I prevailed to his much vaster knowledge about the shearing of wet sheep. SO, we rescheduled for April 7...two more weeks. The positive aspect of that is that most of the girls should have lambed by then. Oh well......this is only the second time we've had to reschedule in 7 years. (The other time we rescheduled twice...argh...once due to rain and the second time due to massive area destruction from tornadoes...)

I still have a few more hooves and vaccinations to give, so I'll do a few here and there. No pressure now. With the rain, the hooves will be softer to clip.

Now on to the good parts of the weekend! Early Saturday morning before 6 a.m. Rouen lambed. She had been trying to seclude herself since Friday afternoon. Bless her heart she was not happy to be shut in the barn with the others. Rouen has a long history of taking a day or so to seclude herself and 'think' about lambing. It used to worry me sick, but now I know her pattern so I just accept it and not worry. She was very happy when I went and released the captives around 9:30 that night, after I called the shearer! When I went out around 6:00 a.m. she had a nice little black lamb, nearly dry and quite spry. Rouen's rams always have huge horn patches and buds, so it was easy to tell the little guy was a ram. He didn't have the normal huge buds, but the patches were very distinctive where his horns will be. I left her alone, aside from shutting the gate into the barn to give her privacy. When I came back out at 8:00 a.m., Rouen had produced a lovely little Moorit, with some small white krunet markings--and even better an ewe! Rouen quickly produced her afterbirth, which I removed. Then a little later, as I bedded and set up the stall for her, I noticed that she had another water bag dangling. Uh oh......I sure didn't want Rouen to have triplets--she has always raised twins, but its difficult as one side of her udder dries up quickly. I'm not sure what happened but it was obvious a couple of years ago that 'something' had. Before I could finish getting her settled she had passed a second afterbirth! That was a surprise.

Later in the morning I went out to do a head count and check the babies, and I saw Willow standing in the barn, with a small black shape next to her. What the heck? Willow isn't due until Tuesday, but she definitely was standing over this baby. I went up there and quickly saw that it was Rouen's baby that had slipped out of the stall. It was unusual that Willow would take such an interest in it, and that Rouen would be calm about it. These two have a 'history' of fueding. I moved Rouen into a more secure stall and all was well. Willow was obviously secluding herself the rest of the day.

This morning, when I went out around 6:00 a.m. Willow had produced two lovely, little ram lambs! Both are Ag I think--one is moorit based and the other black based. The musket has some nice head markings and the black has an interesting mix of splashes of white and black with extra cute face markings. These two boys are very brave and bold. They come running right up to me, and I even caught one standing right by the fence nose to nose with Boone the French Mastiff! Now Boone's face can make most dogs run! He is very fierce looking, but this tiny mite was not a bit afraid.

Lamb count:

4 Rams--Grey Flecket, Black, Musket Krunet, Grey Flecket
5 Ewes---Moorit Krunet, Grey Flecket, 2 White, Moorit Krunet

Two more ewes to go!
Pictures from the top:
Rouen's cutie black ram, Rouen's Moorit Ewe, Rouen's ewe again, Next two pictures are Willow's Musket ram, then Willow's Grey Flecket ram and the last picture is Willow and her new babes.

1 comment:

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

So nice to see the signs of spring at your place -- lambs and flowers! Hopefully all your girls will have lambed by the time your shearer comes; I can't imagine being manhandled and contorted when you are "heavy with child. " Ugh! Of course, you'll probably have total pandamonium for awhile, because the lambs won't recognize their mums....