Friday, September 23, 2011

Twins in August!

Only a Jacob sheep (actually only this particular one) would pull a stunt like this. Humbug Parsley (one of my spouse's original sheep) lambed with twins on Feb. 2, 2011. She subsequently had another set of twins on Aug. 2 of this year. Basil and Oregano have four- and two-horns, respectively, are wethered and just as cute and friendly as only lambs raised partially on a bottle can be. Parsley is 11 years old now, and did not have much milk after she became ill (now recovered nicely), hence the need for the bottle feeding. If anyone had told me Iwould be feeding bottle lambs in August, I would have laughed at the thought. I am not laughing any more, but the twins do make me smile often. Life here is certainly never dull.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ecological Lawn Maintenance

We are still in the phase of establishing truly good pastures, which basically means that the sheep can only be on the new pastures for very brief periods. We were able to use the new pastures for two months during the spring while they were nursing lambs, but otherwise they have been in their drylot being fed hay for much of the year. And then there is the lawn, which we have been having to mow, This property (unlike where I used to live) has lots of lawn. The goats help some (and unlike the sheep will stay around if let out), but they really prefer weeds and brush. This past week we finally got the property fenced off sufficiently to allow the sheep loose for grazing. Hopefully, my lawn mowing days for this year are over.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Lambing Season - Week 3 Begins

We are now two weeks plus into lambing season. Three jacob ewes have lambed so far - two sets of twins and one single. The surprising thing so far is that they are all
ewe lambs. In this picture the lambs are hanging out together while their mothers are eating their daily ration of grain. This year kidding and lambing season will be very drawn out. The mule flock should start lambing next month, followed by the Shetlands in March and finishing up with the goats in April.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

First Lamb of 2011!

The first lamb of the 2011 lambing season was born on Friday, January 14, probably some time in the morning. This little ewe lamb sticks so tight to her mother and moves so quickly that there will be no catching of either of them anytime soon. As is typical of Jacob ewes, the mother is attentive and very defensive of her lamb.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Better Way to Carry a Bunny

Recently I tried something very novel for me to overcome a challenge I was having with moving rabbits around. Spring-Summer-Fall shearing arrangement is very convenient – I shear them on my covered front porch which is relatively near the rabbitry. Winter shearing is different in that I move everything to the basement. This means I have to
open 1 gate, two doors and then go down a flight of stairs carrying a rabbit. I have tried out various methods for carrying the bunny – in my arms, in a cat carrier, in a small milk crate and using a sling shoulder bag large enough to hold a bunny. The canvas sling shoulder bag worked the best, but was still not ideal as it was awkward. Then I saw a lady at the grocery store carrying an infant in a carrier that hangs off the front (as opposed to a backpack). I went to Target to check them out and found a small one for about $15 on sale and brought it home to try. It slips on and off very easily and the rabbits seem fine with being loaded inside and carried this way – no wiggly or fussing whatsoever. I tried it out with 10 different rabbits - 6 Germans that I sheared and 4 German crossbreds that I just took out for a stroll. It worked well in all cases. The attached picture of Avillion Secondfield in the carrier after being sheared.