Saturday, April 28, 2012

Moving Hay

We had 100 bales of hay delivered Thursday so today was the day to move them.

The Commander put 34 bales onto the ram shed and 16 into the loft over the goats, that left 50 to go in with the lambs and their moms. Since the lambs have been born the girls have been eating like crazy. The grass is still a bit dormant because the temperatures have been so cold and variable so the girls are going to have to be on hay for a bit longer.

Putting 50 bales into the loft over the sheep barn doesn't come close to filling it. We have never filled it up but it could probably hold 125-150 bales.

Still plenty of room left up here.

Bristol and Bently sure are cute.

Berkley and Brighton resting after racing around the barn.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Barnyard Comedy

This place is crazy.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

This Years Lambs

Gardenia's lambs Bently and Bristol.


Lara's first boy Berkley.

More Berkley.

Azalea's boy Bronson.

More Bronson.

Lara's other boy Brighton.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What The?

I was out in the yard, turned the corner and came across this. Why is the wheelbarrow placed over this rock?

Why is this rock sitting in the middle of the grass on top of a pile of muddy soil?

This explains it. She sure looks guilty.

Seems Molly has been digging a hole in the yard and the Commander decided that the rock may prevent her from digging it back up.  One would think the cone would prevent some of this!

Here are three of the four chicks that hatched out last week.

They sure are cute.

They all hatched out of the blue eggs but do you notice something? Is the black one normal? All the pictures I have seen of Blue Wheaton Americauna chicks show them fluffy and yellow - not black.

I had so much fun hatching the chickens that I thought I would give hatching guineas a try. In 28 days I will see how this turns out.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Azalea's Difficult Lamb

Today started out like any Spring day in the Northland, with snow. The poor flowers just don't know what to think.

It really is beautiful, especially when you know it shouldn't last too long - hopefully.

A cold snowy day, just perfect for someone to decide to lamb. I headed out to the barn on a hunch and found Azalea in hard labor, things were not going well.

I went to the house to get my mom, just in case I needed help. Azalea was having contractions but nothing seemed to be happening. I gave her as much alone time as I could but when she started to cry out I decided to go in and see if I could help. What I saw gave me pause, I could see two little hooves but nothing else. At just that moment both my mom and I heard a "pop" and it looked like the sack holding the lamb had broken. I needed to get the lamb out now. I gloved up and got in behind Gardenia just as the lambs nose peaked out. The nose peaked out twice more during contractions and the third time it cleared I saw it take a breath though its nose! I held on to the hooves to keep the nose from going back in as with the lamb now trying to breath it would surely suffocate. Azalea was still pushing but she was exhausted. Her mom Gardenia was calling to her now from the other stall, I was starting to tear up. My mom came in to help work her flesh up around the lambs head. After several minutes I was able to work first one leg and then the second out and the extra room finally allowed the head to emerge. He was still breathing!

Azalea started cleaning him off immediately although I was worried that she didn't get up off the ground to do it. Since she was down I decided to clear her nipples so the lamb could nurse.  Azalea was obviously exhausted and it took her some time to gather the energy to stand up.  I took advantage of the time to dip the lambs cord in iodine and to get his weight.

The little one was named Bronson, a big tough name for a quite large Cascade lamb (7 lbs 12 oz!)

Berkley watched the whole process with the concern of a close relative, a cousin in fact.

Bronson looks more Icelandic than Soay, it is interesting how these Cascades show both sides of the family tree.

He has long legs like his cousin Berkley and has to kneel down already to nurse. He is a beautiful jet black color.

Since little Bronson is still wet and the temperature is still below freezing he gets to wear a sweater like the rest of his kin. I think he looks quite precious. I am a bit worried about Azalea as she is showing a bit of bright red blood, I need to keep a close eye on her.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hatching Chicks!

The eggs I put in the incubator 21 days ago hatched today!

This little peeper was the first to emerge and then it helped the next two free themselves from their shells.

This is the first time I have ever seen a chick hatch, the miracle of life takes my breath away.

So far four of the seven eggs put in the incubator have hatched. I moved the chicks to a brooder I rigged and put the two eggs from the hillbilly incubator into the real incubator. Hopefully the increased humidity will help them hatch if they are still alive.

This video is a little long but it shows the peeper breaking free of its shell.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Gardenia has Twins!

This morning when I went to check on the girls I noticed that Gardenia had been digging up the loose hay, that is a sure sign that she was getting ready to lamb. So I put her in a stall in just in case. I had to make a trip to the store so after checking on her I headed off. I was gone less than an hour and when I returned Gardenia was a proud mother of twins, one ewe and one ram.

Bently is the ram and he weighed in at just over seven pounds. Gardenia dotes of him and he seems to be her favorite.

Bristol is his sister and she weighed in at six pounds, I think she may be polled. Both lambs look very "Soay", you can really tell the difference between them and the Icelandic ram lambs.

Berkley is a handsome lad and has made the food bowl his sleeping space.

I finally got a non blurry picture of Brighton, he is Lara's favorite and is quite handsome.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Lambing Chaos

Yesterday we had torrential rain all day that transitioned to snow and ice overnight, so of course Lara decided it was the perfect time to lamb.

So at 05:15 when the Commander charged into the bedroom to let me know it was time I wasn't the least bit surprised. Meet Berkley, he is a 9 pound baby ram lamb.

Thankfully I didn't have to help with the birth, but he did give me a bit of a scare. Look how long his legs are! When he was initially presenting all I could see were two legs sticking out, I was very worried that his neck was bent back inside. Fortunately before I decided to intervene his nose popped out and I knew it was going to be alright.

Once Berkley was on the ground and cleaned up he was violently shivering and Lara wasn't yet interested in feeding him. I recalled the famous kid and lamb expert (OFG) stating that the best way to warm up a new borne was to bring them in the house to watch TV. I wasn't going to go that far unless I had to so I started with warm towels to dry him off. That worked pretty well but Lara still wouldn't feed him, he needed her colostrum to get his motor started. At this point I decided to bring him inside and feed him some goat colostrum that I had frozen last year. While I got to work Sara stood watch over little Berkley while he lounged in a laundry basket on the couch. Contrary to OFG's advice I didn't turn on the TV.

While all this was going on Molly was going berserk! Yesterday I noticed that she was getting a fluid build-up by her incision when they went in to fix her. I had called the vet to see if she needed to be brought back in for treatment, today was not ideal for a call back. As I was warming the goat milk the vet called and wanted me to roll Molly over and describe what I saw - she wasn't cooperating. With the lamb in the house everyone was way too excited. The vet told me that one of the problems was that we were allowing Molly to be too active and that we needed to calm her down. I wondered to myself if they realized what kind of a puppy Molly was? I told the vet; "It is very difficult to keep Molly calm, she makes my Border Collie look like she is on tranquilizers." Not only was Molly's incision a problem, but she had been able to defeat her cone to gnaw at her stitches where her extra toe was removed. The vet kept wanting to talk and talk not realizing how much of a rush I was in. I think the vet was wondering how stable I was when I said; "Look, I don't have time for this as I have a lamb in the house." Our conversation ended pretty quickly after that.

The answer to this problem was a larger cone. OMG! The new and improved larger cone is a disaster. First Molly is outside in the slush using it like a steam shovel to dig up all kinds of mush and then runs around with it sloshing around her face and neck. Next, whenever the howling wind catches her she looks like a top heavy weeble careening from side to side completely out of control. Once back in the house she is crashing into everyone and every body because she can't gauge how large the darn thing is. The edges of the cone are stiff and sharp, she is constantly ramming everyone on the calf and behind the knee threatening to knock anyone in her way off their feet. The vet recommended using duct tape to dull the edges of the cone - this is the same dog he wanted us to keep calm.

I had to take my daughter to school so I left my mom to watch over Berkley and the dogs, a job easier said than done. It seems Sara not only was watching the new lamb, she was GUARDING it! This meant that anytime Molly, Patch, or the cats came anywhere near HER lamb she actually drove them off with growls and flashing teeth. Sara has never, ever acted like this, she is normally very docile! My mom was really happy to see me return.

Of course I had to make a stop before I got home. I needed to pick up some medication and I was still in my sheep birthing clothes. I smelled. It didn't matter because once I got home and rescued my mom by taking Berkley back out to his mother I found that Lara had given birth to a second jet black ram lamb (Brighton) weighing in at 8 pounds. None of the pictures I took of him turned out so I will have to post something later. What a crazy day - four more lambings to go!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Still No Lambs, But We Do Have Noodles!

Still No Lambs!  So while we are STILL waiting the Commander has been spending time in the kitchen.  The Commander has been very happy with his bread making experiments so yesterday he decided to branch out and make his own noodles. He found a good recipe for Grandma's Butter Noodles at AllRecipes and with my mom's help he decided to give it a shot.

The recipe was surprisingly simple and in no time my mom had the roller pin out and was flattening the dough. The Commander thought the amount made per recipe seemed a bit small so he made a double batch.

The instructions call for the semi-dried dough to be rolled and then cut, after a few tries at this my mom decided to use a pizza cutter instead. The pizza cutter was way easier and dramatically sped up the cutting process.

The Commander cut up some turkey and carrots and added them to a broth to simmer. Mom cut some onions and celery, added butter, and sauteed them in a skillet before adding them to the broth. Once the broth was boiling the noodles were added.

The noodles seemed a bit brittle before they were added but once in the broth they cooked up in grand style. The turkey soup was delicious and it looks like the Commander will be making noodles again!

On a side note my sister-in-law is starting a new business called Sweet Earth Natural Foods and is selling food designed for vegetarians. She has both a Facebook Page and a Web Page, check them out and let me know what you think - marketing research you know.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Cone Head

Still no lambs with little cone heads. I'm posting this picture for Stace who is an expert on judging lambing dates by viewing sheep from certain angles. "Stace, do you think Lara is ready to lamb yet?"

While I was waiting for the lambs I took a walk around the house and found this. How would some tupperware find itself half buried in the flower bed?

....and it looks like it has been chewed.

Now I see, it seems Molly wants to bury a plastic dish like it is a bone. Another bad habit that I need to stop her from continuing.

Molly has really grown, unfortunately for her it is time to get her fixed.

Molly does not like wearing her cone head. She doesn't do a very good job of judging how wide the cone is and is ramming into everyone and everything.

The cone is mostly used to prevent her from chewing the area on her leg where she had her mutant extra toe removed. Unfortunately Molly has learned that the cone amplifies her "talk: howling, it's going to be a long 2 weeks.

p.s.  I have not seen anything as funny as watching Molly try to run full speed outside with the wind blowing.   The wind catches in her cone and she is careening all over the place!