Thursday, December 3, 2009

Underhill Bach

Here's a picture of Bach after we brought him home from attending MFF last year.
My Bach is no more. He crossed over the rainbow bridge yesterday evening. It's a long story, so let's start at the beginning.
This year for breeding, we put him where he was next to the non-breeding ewes (we've done that before with other rams without problems) and he kept trying to break into the non-breeders even though he hadn't settled (that I'm aware of) all his girls. After a few attempts and us having to fix and reinforce the fence twice, we decided to put him in a hog panel pen on the lawn exactly where he was last year. Nice and far away from the non-breeders. Well, this year, there was no getting his hormones in line and Monday night around 10pm we heard some bashing and found he had escaped his ewe pen and was smacking the hog panel pen where Gulliver was with a few girls. Bach's girls were luckily still in the pen as he got out from a side area that was baling twined together (multiple times) and was able to squeeze his tiny frame under the fence. I know this as there was some of his wool left behind. Naughty bugger. I'm not aware that he has still settled all the four ewes he was given (only saw him breed Mulan the first day and this past weekend he was breeding Viveka). He was still looking interested in Sabrina and Rakel, but they were having nothing to do with him.

After running around trying to catch him and putting up electronet to grab him, we were able to get him back in our control after one hour. Can you say greased lightning? Once we caught him, we placed him back in with the bachelors and had them all "squeezed". They started clonking heads like usual and I thought it will be no problem. I worked on reinforcing their pen Tuesday to make sure "houdini" didn't get out again and they were starting to become more civilized, I thought. There wasn't a whole lot of bonking going on that day.
Wednesday came with still no terrible problems in the morning, but as evening fell, Tim called me at work to say that when he peeked into the ram pen, Bach was down and he wasn't sure he was still breathing. A half-hour more of work to go and then I came home to him still down and breathing raspily. The vet was coming out to put him down if nothing else could be done. When she got here, she examined him to find his pupils not reacting, a broken jaw, and figures he also had massive brain trauma. While Tim was waiting for her (before I got home) Bach went into a seizure. Needless to say, the right choice was euthanasia.
I will miss my standoffish ram with the beautiful fleece. I now have to hope that he settled enough girls to give me a nice ram lamb to keep.

May you be bounding around verdant fields with no fencing and lots of fertile ewes to breed!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Breeding Groups Together

Every Veterans' Day Tim and I put the breeding groups together. It always seems like a good date for us. Firstly, because we have the day off and secondly, it gives us lambs in April when the grass is starting to appear and the dreaded snow is disappearing.

This year we opted to use two rams with 7 ewes total. Last lambing was a blast with 11 ewes pregnant, but we really didn't need the extra work and there are a few lambs left over that didn't get purchased.

First group is SheltrgPines Gulliver's girls. Gulliver is a black smirslet gulmoget (At/Aa BB/Bb Ss/SS M?/M?).

Gulliver's ladies are Sabbath Farm Sylph, a light grey ewe (Ag/A? BB/B? Ss/S? M?/M?). Sylph is our oldest ewe, but is still going strong! In this picture you can see her chowing on a pumpkin. We've bred her twice and each time she singled. This year we're hoping for twins.

Contented Brisingamen is the black ewe chowing down on some hay. Her genetics are Aa/Aa BB/Bb S?/S? M?/M?. Brisingamen is a first timer with a ram and it will be nice to see what she throws.

Contented Arwen is a gentle moorit (Aa/Aa Bb/Bb S?/S? M?/M?). This will be her first time lambing as well.

Our second breeding group is with Underhill Bach. Bach is a mioget (Aa/Aa Bb/Bb S?/S? Mm/Mm). This photo shows Bach with his four girls.

Bach's first ewe is the one in the middle with the black face. It is none other than Underhill Mulan, our grey ewe (Ag/Aa BB/Bb Ss/S? M?/M?). This breeding will be very interesting. Bach threw a horned ewe lamb and a scurred ram lamb this past lambing and Mulan has thrown a scurred ram lamb in the past. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to seeing their get. They'll hopefully make it so that I don't have to wait too long. There was a bit of "activity" yesterday after they were put together.

The next two are Islandfleece Viveka (Ab/Aa Bb/Bb SS/S? M?/M?)and Islandfleece Rakel (Ab/Aa Bb/Bb S?/S? M?/M?), our two moorit katmoget twins. We weren't going to breed Rakel, but the twins have never been separated, so we said "what the heck" and kept them together.

The last ewe Bach is getting is Maybelle Sabrina, our white ewe (Awt/Aa Bb/B? S?/S? M?/M?).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Almost breeding season

I haven't blogged in a while. Life is crazy and hectic and I know it's no excuse, but it's only one I have! :-) Spent the first two weeks of October in Germany. Lots of fun and had a good time overall. Our great friends Ruth and Ed took care of all the critters while we were gone. No major problems, but Ruth has resolved that she will get chickens, just no roosters! Ed the last couple of days decided to read our instructions on how to take care of the critters and read the grain amount we give the girls a little wrong, so needless to say they were not happy to see us come back with the "puny amount" we gave them. Thanks so much Ruth and Ed for all your work keeping our critters healthy. Now it's back to reality and needing to keep plugging along. We're going into the winter with more sheep that we had originally planned. You know what they say about the best laid plans. So, knowing that we have a wee bit too many, we're working on only breeding a few of the ewes. Here's the plan so far.

SheltrgPines Gulliver (our black gulmoget) will be getting Contented Arwen (moorit), Contented Brisingamen (black), and SabbathFarm Sylph (grey).

Underhill Bach (mioget) will be getting Maybelle Sabrina (white), Underhill Mulan (grey), and Islandfleece Viveka (moorit katmoget).

With Bach and Mulan's breeding, I'll be interested to see what the get is like as Mulan is a half poll and I'm not sure what to call Bach (threw a scurred ram lamb this year from Sage and a horned ewe lamb this year from Celebrian). Needless to say, that breeding has the potential for all sorts of things!

Will have pictures posted when the groups get put together.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Horns or Scurs? You be the judge

Around the time we were getting ready to do CD/T shots on the lambos, I noticed that Celebrian's really crimpy daughter (CB0035) has what appears to be horns or scurs popping out. The following pictures show the size of the "whatevers". This was around June 20th. I haven't noticed any significant growth of them since then. They're still there, but I'm not familiar with ewes and their horns. I'm assuming that they take a while to pop, unlike rams, that pop pretty soon in their lives.
Can you see them, they're kind of small and look chocolate chip like.

After posting about them on the Shetland polled yahoo group, it appears we forgot that Underhill Bach, this little girl's sire, came from a horned ewe.
Another breeding of Bach gave us a ram lamb with scurs. He's so super friendly that he's destined to be a wether and a local family had their hearts melted by him. The little rascal layed down right at their feet and any time a family member moved, he followed looking for scritches.
So, are they horns or scurs??

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Catching up for lost time

Okay. I'm trying to catch up for being a bad blogger. I know, whip me with a wet noodle.

Sage gave birth on May 11th to two ram lambs. That ended lambing for us with 18 lambs on the ground with 10 ewe lambs and 8 ram lambs.

We've been moving the ewes over to the Gingras' grassy areas. They've been grazing like locusts! Before moving the girls, Sylph's ewe lamb wasn't paying attention to where everybody went when they moved to another patch of grass. She started to panic when she didn't see mom, so she ran into the hog panels we have up for fencing. I took her to the vet to find out she had a clean break on the bone between the hoof and elbow area. She looked like this after the vet wrapped her up.

She's now doing better - the break has healed and she's not sporting some funny kneesocks anymore. But, she still favors the leg from time to time. She's also not going to be registered. She's scritchy feeling and that's surprising for a lamb, considering her mom is the oldest ewe we have and still soft feeling. Her dad is SheltrgPines Uber and real soft, too. What a disappointment.

Rain, rain go away.
Momma needs to cut some hay.
The sheep are sad,
the weather's bad.
We'll all be glad when the sun comes again!

Thus ends your poetry interlude.

One other exciting thing that happened, was that when googling the farm name, I came across a person who bought some of Celebrian's wool and she posted on her blog about it. Check it out on her blog called Able to Dream.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Website is live!

After what seemed like many months of us and the web designer procrastinating, she came over yesterday and taught us how to upload and make changes to the website. I'm so thrilled. Keep in mind that we're still adding content (such as the color genetics of each sheep). But stop on by and see what you think.

Tim says Whoohoo! You can find us at so take a look.

I'll do another post catching you all up. Sage had two ram lambs, we dealt with a broken leg (on a lamb that is) and other fun times.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Mini Baby Explosion - catching up

Sylph lambed on April 28th and gave us a little girl. Sabbath Farm Sylph was bred to SheltrgPines Uber. This little girl is going to be grey. She already had sugar lips when she was born.

The next day, Wednesday, April 29th, Maybelle Sabrina gave us a little girl as well. Sabrina was bred to Contented Balder and gave us a little moorit girl! I know now some of Sabrina's genetics! Wahoo!

That same day that Sabrina gave birth, Sabbath Farm Celebrian graced us with her twins! Both girls.

Celebrian was bred to Underhill Bach and gave us a really crimpy moorit/possibly fawn girl.

The other I believe will stay moorit. Of course, time will tell and we'll see what we get.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Baby Explosion!

The last couple of days have been a lambing explosion! First, Islandfleece Freya lambed on Thursday. I didn't get a chance to grab the pictures and was planning on doing that on Friday. Here's a picture of Freya with her two lambs. She was bred to SheltrgPines Gulliver.
This is Freya's chocolatey ram lamb. He was the second one to be born.
This is Freya's black ewe lamb. She was the first one to arrive.
On Friday, I planned on getting shots of the new lambs and posting here on the blog, but when I got home Friday night, Tim came into the house saying that there were lambs everywhere. I quickly rushed out to help him to find that Contented Rafn had a black ewe lamb on the ground and that LaughingRiver Rosemary had just birthed a lamb.
Below is a picture of Contented Rafn. She's a black who has some heavy iset (white fibers mixed in the fleece - think salt and pepper hair). Excuse the sideways picture of her. She was also bred to SheltrgPines Gulliver.
Rafn gave us this really pretty black ewe lamb.
LaughingRiver Rosmary, another black ewe, was bred to Contented Balder. He's not registered yet - dam is Sabbath Farm Celebrian and sire is PaintedKnoll Zweiback, but will be as he is looking excellent conformation wise and his horns are nice and wide. Rosemary is very protective of her lamb.
Here's a shot of Rosemary's black ewe lamb.
Tim thought that the black lamb of Rafn's was Rosemary's until he picked up the lamb only to have Rafn baaing and following after her. Silly Tim, Rafn knew it was her lamb! After we got the lambs and moms sorted out, we placed them in their lambing jugs to bond with baby.

Not to be an exaggeration of baby explosion, we noticed that Viveka, who as one friend kindly put it, "She's as big as a table!", was wandering away from the other ewes. Sure enough, she was not going to be outdone by two younger ewes!

Islandfleece Viveka promptly (okay not so promptly - about an hour or so after the others were settled into their jugs) gave birth. She was bred to SheltrgPines Uber. Their pairing gave us two katmoget ram lambs. Here you can see her with the second ram lamb behind her. We had run out of lambing jugs, so constructed a jug around where she lambed using hog panels. God bless hog panels.
Here's a shot of the first ram lamb born.
All that birthing in two days time has me wiped. I'm so tired, you would have thought I gave birth to 6 lambs! I just looked over my paperwork when we had breeding groups together and see that I did catch when Bach mounted Celebrian. Based on that date, looks like more will be on the ground by Monday. Stay tuned. I'm excited to see what Bach is going to give us.
For those keeping track, we've had 7 ewes give birth to 12 lambs. We bred 11 so, we've got 4 more to go. The ewe to ram ratio is currently tied at 1:1 (6 ewes and 6 rams).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Helle's lambing debut

Contented Helle is one of the first lambs that have been born on our farm. This is her first year to lamb for us. Last year we put her in with one ram and he turned out to be a wife beater (he was very yummy - no wife beaters on this farm). She then was popped into another breeding group, but I think she was still way too wary of the ram to settle. This year, she was given to SheltrgPines Gulliver and settled.On Monday, April 13th, she gave us two ram lambs. The chocolatey ram lamb with the splashy looking face was the first to be born. He's going to have some really big horns. He already has some buds pushing out of his head. I'm thinking that he's going to be a musket (oatmeal) colored lamb as he's already looking kind of light around the neck when I part the wool.
The second lamb (who still had birthing fluid on his hip when I found them) is a ram lamb who at this point is looking very black. Here he's lying down on the step up to the hay feeder. You can see a real close up of mommy's ear and a portion of her eye. She was looking for some cookies.

Here's a shot of mom and the boys. One taking a snack while the other looks out the doorway.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Mulan's 2009 babies

Mulan finally came through and gave me some lambs. I've been watching her get larger and larger and her bag has been quite full for a while, so I figured she was going to be the first to go. They always like to keep me guessing. Underhill Mulan was bred to Contented Balder, an as yet unregistered offpspring from Sabbath Farm Celebrian and PaintedKnoll Zwieback.
Mulan gave me one ewe lamb and one ram lamb. So far they're both moority looking.

Mulan is a good, protective mommy. Excuse me, is that camera going to hurt my baby? No? Okay, progress with the pictures.
The little boy is a nice chocolately moorit. His horn leather is very small, so he may just have scurs. Mulan carries the half-poll gene.

The girl has a few white hairs on her head and there's some light fibers by her ears, so she may become a musket.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

First lambs of 2009!

Islandfleece Rakel just surprised me this early evening with twins. She was bred to Sheltrgpines Uber. Both are girls.
One girl is a katmoget with a nice splash of white on her head. A krunet katmoget. She weighed 6 pounds.
The second girl is a nice chocolatey moorit. She weighed in at 5.8 pounds.
I think they all make a nice family. I'm so happy that lambing for 2009 started off on a good foot.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

More chickens?

More chickens you say? Well, yes. We needed to get more chickens as our supply wasn't keeping up with the demand. Since I'll be at the Windsor Farmer's Market now, I figured a dozen or two wasn't going to cut it.

Enter the Golden Comets, a cross between a Rhode Island Red and a White Leghorn. They're supposed to be good layers of brown eggs. I found out that my feed store carries 16 week old pullets to purchase. We ordered 12 of them and I went to pick them up yesterday morning. I'm hoping that I got the chicken that laid an egg in the crate while they were waiting to be offloaded. Wouldn't that be lucky? They're currently residing in the Boober's kennel. Okay, Boober hasn't resided there since we put breeding groups together (hence the hay chaff on the ground).

Tim and I worked on a small pen they could go into for the evening (nothing more than a modified breeding hut) with a roost and guess what they chose to sleep in last night? That's right, Boo's dog house!

All 13 of them (including Limpy the second banana Barred Holland roo - thanks mom for the phrase).

The girls have taken to Limpy, including grooming him. I've not seen my other chickens do this before.

The only time they dissed him was when I let the other chickens out and they got a good look at the Partridge Chantecler roo. According to mom, they ran over to the fence and left Limpy with a cold shoulder. Here's a shot of him. He is a pretty handsome devil if I do say so myself.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The girls prior to lambing

Here's a video of the girls that I took about one week ago when Tim was cleaning out their pen in anticipation of lambing. They can go any day now.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Shearing time

On Sunday, February 1st, our shearer, David Hinman, came to the farm to shear our 25 sheep. We shear in order of color, white first and then continuing on the other colors until we're down to black. Here are a few pictures of the shearing day. All pictures are courtesy of Bryn's DH, Nick. Thanks so much! I tried getting the video camera to work, but it really takes better videos if you hit record! Can you tell I don't use it much?? We'll Nick saved my bacon and allowed me to have some pictures to share with you all.
Sabrina being sheared. She was the second to be done.
One of my kat twins with a good shot of David. He was concerned that the video camera was going to point at his rear end, so now he can breathe a sigh of relief.

Viveka coming through the door. Good to see the wool off of them as she and her twin, Rakel were rubbing against the doorway in their pen every time they would go through. Add a bit of snow and they made a horrible scratchy sound.

Here's a shot of Minard (red - in front) with Pat getting the fleece ready to be bundled and Oren in the blue coat. I have them bundle my fleeces in bed sheets and I then skirt and figure out what happens with them later. Minard pitched in and helped by taking the fleeces over to Pat and Oren to bundle. This was his first time seeing sheep being sheared and when we were done, he took some of the belly wool to take into his kindergarten class for show and tell.
This is Balder waiting his turn to be sheared.

Here's another shot where you can see Oren in the background while Mulan, I believe, is being sheared.
After they get sheared, each one gets a coat on them. This shot shows Arcturus (blue snuggly) and Wilkins (rust snuggly). You can see that they weren't all done as Gulliver's toosh is still looking very wooly! Some tend to shrug off their snugglies after a little bit, but some stayed on for a while.

This picture shows David shearing a lamb with Ruth (in the pink shirt) and I'm next to her in the elf/hershey kiss hat. Ruth and my job is to get the sheared sheep and put the snugglies on them and then take them out back to be put back in their pens.

We keep them indoors for a good solid week, then remove any snugglies that have stayed on and then normally another week to "harden them off". Then they're released to the elements. This time, Tim was chomping at the bit and they went outside a few days earlier than I was figuring. The girls had fun running and cavorting like lambs. You can see some baby bellies now. April here we come!