Friday, June 16, 2017
The ducks start courting and mating as early as February some years. This year the courting got off to an early start because February was exceptionally warm. Courting usually involves the males preening their feathers and strutting around to attract female attention and then splitting off into harems. A relatively cool March and April slowed things down a little, but once May rolled around there were ducks on nests all over the farm. The ducks definitely have different styles in terms of where and how they like to nest, although many of them prefer the area of the rabbit barn because it is more protected and close to where they are fed. The following pictures illustrate different nesting styles. This duck likes high sides and ground level, but is constantly annoyed when showered by rabbit urine. She tends to look up at the rabbit and make threatening noises, which the rabbit simply ignores. This choice of nesting area perplexes me, but this same duck does the same thing every year.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Due to an exceptionally warm February, we were able to get our bred angora does and bred Shetland ewes sheared on Saturday. The angora goats know what is up, and will glare at me as they await shearing their turn.
Sunday, April 10, 2016
I just love watching the lambs at this time of year. Today we had our last Shetland lamb of the season born. A pretty little gulmoget ewe lamb to Prydwen. Of course the other lambs are just busy at play or else napping on mama. This year's lambs are mostly brown or white with many having gulmoget markings. The only exception being Lessie who had a dark little lamb that I believe will be emsket like her (dusky bluish gray).
Friday, March 11, 2016
On Monday, March 7, we went to do morning chores and got a fun surprise. Ceinwen, a white two-year old Shetland ewe, had a new lamb - a white ewe lamb that has among the most curious color markings I have ever seen. She is mainly white, but has one 4 inch black spot along her topline, brown shoulders, and brown stockings. Her mother is pure white with a few stray black spots on her face and her father is a white mirkface called Mojo who comes to us from Rarefind Farm in New Hill, NC. The three colors in one sheep is what makes her unique in my experience. She was a bit of a surprise because, her birth date indicates that the ram must have bred her mother the day he went in. This is unusual for me because typically the ewes are with the ram for a week to 10 days before they start to cycle and settle. Plus because Mojo was a ram lamb, I thought it might take him longer to get started; instead he turned out to be a very fast learner. In the picture below, we have Ceinwen and her lamb with Ceinwen's dam in the picture too.
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Last year our beloved diary goat Maelita finally had a doe and a buck kid; this is after 2 years of twin buck kids. We named her Lita as she is a smaller version of her mother, being half Nigerian Dwarf. Initially Lita was the soul of quiet politeness. Plus being so petite she is also incredibly cute. When she finally started to really grow, she became short, sturdy and very spunky - so much so that Maelita really did not like sharing quarters with her any longer. Since Maelita is due to kid in a couple of weeks, today we decided that it would be prudent to move her our of Maelita's stall and into the pasture with the Jacob ewes and their lambs - figuring that she would have plenty of company, and energetic lambs for playmates. Lita greeted the Jacob flock by running up to them intent on play, jumping into the air and galloping along sideways. The sheep fled in terror, which is when Lita decided that it would be a fun new game to run after the sheep.
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Sir Walter Wally (NC's own groundhog) predicted an early spring. This was confirmed by the famous Pennsylvania groundhog. I see signs of spring all around. We've got crocuses.
Monday, January 18, 2016
NC028-131 (FCS Early) had twins (ewe and ram) in the pre-dawn hours of Monday, January 18, 2016. She is a reliable ewe with very strong maternal instincts and a very nice fleece. I always love the first lambs - gazing into their soft gentle marbled blue-brown eyes, marveling at their tiny hooves; my lovely transcendental lamb moment came to an abrupt end when Early wacked me the thigh to let me know that I had held her baby quite long enough and that she would really prefer me to leave (but not before giving her a treat of course).