Tag Archives: lambs

Its Baby Time!

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I’ve been waiting on lambs all month. I put the ram in for early Feburary lambs…I’ve been waiting. And waiting…Finally came the lambs! Polly went first. I went to bed know she was in her last 24 hours. I was late to the barn in the morning and found her finishing up. She looked at me a little incredulously that I was late, but she knew she didn’t need me anyway. Still its the thought that counts and clearly i don’t think because i was late, harumph! I had a first! An all white ram! And a ewe lamb. Lovely!

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Off I went to work, but not before Peppercorn began to nest. I saved wool from skirting fleeces for her in a bag (as she was so fond of Blazes virgin fleece that she used it in her first nest) and as i was pulling it out of the bag she motioned “gimme gimme gimme!” so i gave her another bit of fleece and she looked at me “gimme gimme gimme!” *Shrug* I gave her the feed bag full of fleece and she happily dragged the bag to her nest and proceeded to happily fumble with the bag until I left for work. Weird pig.

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I came home and she’d done her job nicely. I’ve even got an Elvis impersonator piglet!

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Two days later Ash lambed. Again, boy and girl.

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Glam, a ewe lamb, might be as cute as they come.

The next day Monk went. She did quite fine…

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3/3 ewes and rams.

Today Leche pigged. 7 piglets and all pink.

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Lastly we have Blaze and Princess. Blaze is getting so big I thought she was going to lamb first but shes just growing and growing. Hopefully it all goes well for my big girl!

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And soon! she looks miserable! Though shes walking around with sass so i guess shes not too bad.

Suprise!

Do do doo….off to do my morning chores. Doot de doo de—hey pigs! how are you! hey,, hold your horse, I’m making your breakfas–oh my. What do we have here?

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Oh. A lamb. In August. I was thinking the ewes were looking a little shapely.

Well, congratulations Ash!

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(and Khoresh whos on a vacation at a friends pasture)

The ram is excited to be the proud father of a ewe lamb!

The ram is excited to be the proud father of a ewe lamb!

Healthy little ewe lamb, and you had it in time to get bred again for spring lambing. Very good!

Now, if you’ll just let your udder fill up and feed the baby so she’s fat I can sleep. ‘k. Thanks.

Blazey Had A Little Lamb

I’ve been keeping a hawks eye on Blaze. She started balloning and I was worried there were triplets. She’s a little small, probably should have not bred her first year but I wanted to know how the breeding experiment of diary X heritage breed would go. So bred her I did with the knowledge I’d need to keep an eye on her during lambing. I’d started keeping her in a separate pasture from the main group with her sister so I could keep an eye on her.

Wednesday I came home and she greeted me, I noticed she had dropped, then walked me over to a pile of sawdust and plopped down to try and lamb.

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She was in the process, but I don’t know how long for.

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Two little feet were out. But the pushing didn’t seem to be making any progress.

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I don’t feel good…is it tool late for an epidural?

 

Since I didn’t know how long it had been going on I decided to wait for a bit longer before helping. I really want my animals to handle their lambing by themselves, and in my circle of farmer friends “helping” an animal is almost considered a sin as you help keep the weak alive. But, Blaze is young, so she gets a free pass. Eventually I had to pull the lamb. I’m not sure why it wasn’t coming out, it was positioned correctly, but it felt like possibly the next lamb was trying to come out at the same time. It was hard to pull out, even for me. I got it halfway out, but by the Blaze was so tired she didn’t want to finish pushing. So little lamb was hanging out squirming and Blaze was going in circles trying to see the lamb/whats going on back there. FINE DON’T DO THE FINAL PUSH.

Another lamb was on the way, but again I tried to let her do it. She had no interest in birthing anymore, just licking her little lamb. That one was huge, but freshly dead. Clearly, I should have assisted sooner. I figured I’d loose a lamb from Blaze, anyway, so I’m happy to have one girl.

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I believe “Princess” to be the right name for her. Blaze is a good momma. Her face looks a little different to me. A bit more grown up.

Next up we have Monk.

On the pig front Rosie is bagging up. She looks soon. Dot looks like shes a week or two behind, though that doesn’t make sense since they got bred I think at the same time.

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I’ll be gone on a business trip next week. My mother is coming up to watch everyone. Shes praying everyone pops this weekend…I think they are going to wait until I’m gone and give her some fun. Wish my mother luck!

Is This Mastitis or What?

A few weeks ago I finally committed to milking the sheep (a month or two later than i should have) and got that creep made. But something had been bothering me. Polly’s udders were uneven. ALWAYS uneven. WHY?Image

I was getting concerned and for a while was milking her at night, too, assuming she had mastitis. But the weird thing was although her udders were kinda hard, they just felt volupious. Not what i think of mastitis possibly feeling like. Her udders were warm/hot…but like i imagine full boobies to feel like. However, she did seem like it was tender and would proffer me her wimpy side so i could massage it.

But what the heck is going on? I was getting 1-2 cups milk out of one udder and 1/4 a cup out of the other! Was the lamb only using one side so that side was the only side producing? Meanwhile, Ash in mid lactation looks like this, still:

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Ah, but what happened? I finally caught him in the act early morning, getting up before i normally do and sneaking up on the animals

ImageA little thief! Polly would let him milk one side when i wasn’t around, always the same side. When I was around she’d kick him off on and not let him milk. I assumed she always kicked him off, but no. It was a sheepy conspiracy!

These animals are not as dumb as we think they are. Meanwhile Blaze is doing well, though still much smaller than her sister or Mooney.

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Polly Had a Little Lamb

I noticed on Wednesday morning Polly was looking pretty ripe. I asked my neighbour to keep a eye on her while i was at work. I didn’t get any frantic calls at work so i figured either it happened and all was good or nothing had happen yet. I got home and fed the pigs and looked out to the sheep pasture and saw Polly with something hanging from her bottom: he water had just broken.

I was excited and thankful she waited until I came home. Good sheepie! So I got the other sheep fed and checked up on her. She was trying…sort of. I don’t think I’ll ever witness another birth where the mother is more interested in food than birthing! She was taking a while to make any progress. We had feet sticking out for a long time (i have pictures, but you probably don’t want to see)…then finally a nose. I couldn’t remember if it was when the nose was out the umbilical chord was broken….or later? since she was taking forever to make any progress i wiped the nostrils clear soon as I could and waited.

and waited. Clearly we had a big lamb coming out.  Mind you Polly is one of my smaller sheep and only a year old. She is very calm so i figured no emotional drama, but wasn’t totally sure about how her body would handle the birthing process.

Finally with all her straining I decided to help *juuuuust* a little. I carefully tried to guide her vagina around the very large forehead where she had been stuck for almost an hour? She pushed and we got the head partly out…then she stopped pushing and it slipped back in. *sigh* well, I figured once her vagina had streached once around the head it would be easy to do again. I stepped back and let her finish doing it herself.

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Sure enough, within a matter of minutes a little lamb was on the ground. She stood dazed and didn’t do anything but stand there for five minutes, but finally she turned around and started licking her lamb. Shortly thereafter he was trying to stand and suckling from mom.

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And what a pretty lamb! His wool is long, straight, silky and smooth! Nothing like my other sheep. He looks like a Jacob but is actually part Shetland (dad) and East Friesian-Lacaune. This is great, too, because I can breed him to Ash’s lambs and I will get to see how my breeding project will turn out sooner.

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Ash was very interested in the new lamb: she announced to everyone there was a new comer.

 

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photobomb!

 

Poor Blaze, though. We expected her to have someone smaller that would look up to her. And yet he came out nearly the same size as Blaze is at three weeks! He is very strong already. Two days old and already headbutting the other lambs! Boys.

Blaze is doing well, though. Still got mild scours, but she is acting fine. I am hoping to get her weaned soon. She still loooves her milk. She drinks it so fast she gets a foamy mouth and looks like a rabid lamb. Image

My little goof-ball.

A Year Ago

Nearly a year ago I was doing my daily search for farm properties when a little place in the thumb of Oregon came up. I decided to go take a look and fell in love with the place. We, my then fiance and I, were to fix the place up and make it our family farm.

Yeah. Didn’t happen. We just weren’t right for eachother. It happens, right? But its crazy to take a look at the pictures:

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April 2012

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March 2013

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April 2013

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Yeah…Yikes. Its a little misleading because one month of spring really changes the look of the place. and so does sun vs. overcast..but it still looks pretty awful. The bramble fence was not the greatest idea and Rosie the pig has tilled up ALOT. However the great news is that today we fixed aLOT of the problems. We hired a fellow to come and dig post holes today and by the time he left we has 20+ posts in the ground for the fence. We tamped them and put some cement in. By next week it should be cured and ready for us to put in the cross bracings and THEN the fence. yaay! It will look so good when we are done!

It was nice and sunny the past week then when we needed to work outside with a tractor it rained, go figure. Sadly his tractor destroyed some of the tilth. :/ Luckily it was almost all low priority ground…still i hate to see tractor marks skidded into bare mud. Then again it too only a few hours to dig, set and tamp 23 wood posts. The bramble fence had been gathered up and will make for an amazing bonfire in the summer. 

I mentioned mud, right? Well, farm dog decided it was a great day to go digging.

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Thankfully the farmhouse has a mudroom AND a shower. Guess who got to take a shower? She was so brown and wet she looked like a bear that had gone salmon fishing.

Polly the sheep is having contractions, but doesn’t want to actually drop. I think she is actually waiting for me to be there. When I sit with the sheep she starts huffing and puffing, then when i leave she gets up and starts eating like nothing ever happened.

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Blaze is a persistent, adorable, little brat and she uses her powers to get her way. Yes, she is snuggled up on the couch with me again. I moved the sheep pen and let them in at dusk. She was being hysterical and i realized i hadn’t fenced by the creek because i knew the ewes didn’t go there…but what about a crazy lamb in the dark? she was crazy enough to jump through the fence to get to my back door…

Dang it. I got worried and brought her in for the night. stinker.

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Lovely sister Tuck is  healthy and friendly. She just loves to bounce around…and sleep in the feed bin. Sheep. I tell ya….

Lambing isn’t Easy: The Story of Blaze

I knew Ash was due anytime: her udders where full and huge. I was trying to keep her in a lambing jug, but it became clear to me she was holding off on lambing until she could get somewhere “safe.” Why didn’t she feel safe in the jug?

Well, I’m still not set up that well so the pigs and sheep share the same space. This is normally fine, but for lambing it was just too scary for Ash to have a hungry, breast feeding sow walking by the jug. Rosie is very polite to the sheep (unless they try to steal her food), but she does open the door to the pen and welcome herself in. Just a little intimidating. . I finally let her out of the jug and she waddled away to the woods calling for the other sheep to come. Normally sheep like to be alone, but for some reason Ash wanted the other two to join her. I let her go figuring I could find them and rather her just get  it over and done with.

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Yes, these woods. Up the logging road.

So up she goes with her posse and i let them be alone for about 45 minutes. I finally decide to go find them carefully slipping by the pig and her brood. On my way up I realized: CRAP! there are 3 main paths they could take on this mountain side…..if  were a sheep I’d go…..this way! I took the middle road and walked for a few minutes. I finally called out to the sheepie sheep and *viola* sheep heads pop out of the bushes.

It almost seemed Ash wanted me there. As soon as I joined the party she flopped down and started breathing heavy. Then we heard something snap in the woods….coyote? what? Ash looked concerned wondering if she needed to hide again.

*oink oink HUUCKHUCK* Yes, it was Rosie. She decided to follow to see what was up. …. luckily she just walked past not noticing the sheep. She turned around and went back down the hill after a few minutes and Ash went back into contractions.

She choose a flat hidden spot to lamb….but it was cold, damp and covered in rocks. Not a good place for a wet lamb. I decided since i knew where everyone was I would go down and get some lambing supplies (warm molasses water, towel, lambing emergency supplies) and by the time I was back Ash was licking a *tiny* little lamb.

But it was tiny. maybe 3 and a half pounds? It started to move but mom went back into contractions before it could get up and nurse. The ram, in the meantime, decided that this whole thing was really HOT and he kept trying to mount Ash nearly stepping on the lamb in the meantime. I finally intervened and put the cold baby in my jacket. The ground up there was so cold it had sucked away all her body heat and she was getting cold fast. My jacket wasn’t enough so I took her back down the hill (tripping over the rocks) and gave her to the neighbors to warm up while I went back up the hill to see what happened with the next lamb. This one was a normal size, but it too started off strong and the ground started sucking away its body heat. Plus, there was no way a newborn lamb could stumble down the hillside with all those rocks, so i would need to take everyone down. Once again the ram was harassing Ash and I grabbed the lamb and got Ash to start following me down the hill. Halfway down Ash realized she lost her other lamb and ran back to look for it. I rushed the cold baby down the hill to warm up with her sister, then grabbed a leash and went looking for Ash. I ran into her, she was screaming in terror about her lost babies, and I convinced her to some down the hill with me. She was sobbing and moaning the whole way as i put her back in the lambing jug.  I went and grabbed her little ones who had warmed up by then and happy reunion, right?

ImageaWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW (MY DOG ADDED THAT. I suppose that’s her feeling on the subject.)

Wrong. Ash loved them. She licked them. She cared for them…but wouldn’t let them nurse. First time momma jitters we thought, so the neighbors and I held Ash and hooked the babies up to her teats….but she just didn’t get it. So little one was not doing great so i gave her emergency lamb food just to give her some energy, but we finally had to milk some colostrum out of mom to get little lamb some. So I was resigned to hooking babies up to mom until she figured it out. I got up twice that evening to feed the lambs, and they both seemed like they were doing ok.

In the morning momma was still moaning and seemed to not want the lambs to nurse still, so I decided to milk her out. No wonder she didn’t want them to nurse! 1/2 gallon out of just one teat! I caught some of the milk, but poured most on the ground just to get her empty. That seemed to help her moaning….but by then little one wasn’t doing well again. I tried hooking her up to mom but she didn’t do anything. I stuck my finger in her mouth and it was cold, no suck reflex. She was hypothermic.

I took little lamb inside and started warming her up with a hair dryer, but decided to give her a warm bath because nothing warms the body up like water. Washed her, dried her, started feeding her a few drops of mom’s milk to give her some energy.

She seemed to teeter on the edge of life and death when I finally gave her a name: Blaze. Oddly enough once I named her and started talking to her by her name she started perking up. A little more food, a little more awake. She was so skinny she had nothing to keep the heat in. So I made her a jacket with a scrap of Pendelton wool to keep her warm. Cute little bugger started standing.

 

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Then I noticed: her legs were jankey. poor girl had a hard time walking and standing. :/ I saved a sickly little thing. 

She was finally strong enough I could take her out of the warm bathroom, but not strong enough to spend the night outside in the barn. Since mom was having trouble feeding this one, but the other one was starting to get the hang of it i decided to keep Blaze in for the night. We sat by the fire that evening and I made her a little crib in a laundry basket with a heater nearby to sleep in.

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That probably saved her life (along with the bath) but it spelled doom for her relationship with her mom. In the morning when I returned Blaze Ash would have nothing to do with her.

I tried for days to get her to accept Blaze as her lamb, but she wont. at one point she started attacking Blaze. Poor baby.

I weighed her a day or two after she was born and had grown. She weighed only 4.1 lbs by then. Her sister was a more normal size and weight and doing just fine. Blaze needed all the help she could get. I bottle fed her mothers milk for the first several days, kept her in the jacket for a couple.She was starting to attach herself to me, but I kept trying to keep her with her mom so she would know she was a sheep. Unfortunately, all the grown up sheep knocked her around a few times, but I was there to grab her each time.

All in all, Blaze has a good attitude. She’s been rejected by her mom, but still tries to hang out with her. Its easier since her sister likes her still and the like to sleep together. She’s attached to me, so when I leave her with the sheep she gets kind of depressed. Its hard not to break down when I hear those cries of loneliness

Thats why she’s earned a place on the couch.Image

What? Everyone needs a place for an afternoon nap.

**happy birthday lambs! you made it one week!**