Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Little Itch

This is Betsy, one of the Corriedale X Border Leicester ewes we got from a woman in North Carolina who was losing her farm.  Betsy and her sister, Bitsy, were tremendously overweight and we have been concerned about their health.  They had seemingly been fed mostly on grain with very little hay in their diet.  When they arrived here we switched them over to hay with only a small handful of grain as a daily treat.  They have lost some weight and are becoming more active.

Betsy seems to have had an itchy back and found a good solution up under the edge of a picnic table.  She contentedly scratched up under the table for quite some time.  And before long those lovely locks she is growing will be mine to spin!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oh, Benjamin

Benjamin is a stray cat that Katy dragged home with her a few years ago.  At the time he was skinny and had what looked to be an abscess on his side.  After a little exploration by the vet, we discovered it was his kidney that had somehow emerged through his muscle wall and was floating under his skin.  Many hundreds of dollars later, Benjamin is an 18 pound monster who loves life.  He is mostly in the house but we have been letting him out when he can play nicely.  Initially he wanted to pick a fight with the other cats and often ended up on the roof hissing and howling.  Now he has mellowed a bit and has just recently been enjoying a daily excursion to the world of "outside".

He decided yesterday to lounge in a wheelbarrow full of hay that we'd moved over for the donkeys.  That did not last long.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Aggie is such a good mother.  Aggie's mother, Anna, was just the best which is amazing because Anna was a little orphaned Jacob ewe who we hand raised after rescuing her from another farm.  We haven't yet named Aggie's little ewe lamb.  I think she needs a name that starts with "a" just like the rest of Anna's offspring.
This little one was getting a bit of a bath.  This Dexter calf is no longer a baby but mother still treats him that way!  She cleaned at that ear for a good 3 minutes.
And little mister Pumpkin absolutely loved the pleasant weather yesterday.  He took a bit of a break from romping around to lounge.  He has some lanky legs and is already showing his little horn buds on top his head.  He was also practicing wrinkling his nose like rams do.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

So I was thinking....

As I was walking out to feed the dogs, I noticed our first little lamb dancing around in the pasture with his mother.  I was thinking it was a shame he was born so early in the season as he had no one to play with.  I opened the gate into the barnyard, lifted my head to see what dog was in which pasture and noticed this.
Aggie had delivered a lovely little red ewe with a very white head.  The little one was up and about.  She had a full little tummy so had already nursed.  A newly born lamb looks so flat until they get something in their stomach!  The placenta had only just been delivered.  Eric and I moved mama and daughter into a stall in the stable for a little quiet time and a chance to give mama a good meal of grain and fresh hay.  And in a few days the little ram lamb will have a playmate in the pasture.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Odds & Ends

Monday night's lamb is thriving.  He is a happy little boy with a very loving and efficient mother.  We did let Baloo come visit him but Baloo was more intrigued with the nasty little clumps of meconium that the little fellow had passed his first day of life than with the lamb.
We've brought in three different 100 bale loads of hay in barely a week.  Al and I have had a good workout unloading and stacking it all.  Ravi insists on helping.  He wanted to jump to the top of the trailer and I just happened to have my camera out.  This is a picture of him bouncing off of the hay and tumbling to the ground.
We felt sorry for him so unloaded enough bales to build a little stairway.  He climbed to the top and sat proudly, obviously not to concerned with his initial tumble.  He was also too helpful as we were trying to find spots in the old barn to stick a few more bales.
Sadie, in the meantime, believes her job is to guard little April.  She also wants to groom little April and I've found Sadie with a mouth full of fleece and April with a bald spot.  We are working on breaking this bad habit.
And, finally, April disguised as a pile of old hay.....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

First Arrival

Just a bit of a surprise last night....
Last year's first lamb came about March 5th so I wasn't really expecting anyone any time soon.  Late yesterday afternoon I did notice a Tunis ewe who had separated herself and was laying on her side for a while but she got up and went on her way.  The thought crossed my mind that before long it will be lambing season so I'd better get some decent sleep in the next few weeks before things start.

Al went out about eight o'clock to finish up chores but soon returned.  He announced that we had the first lamb but that he didn't know who the mother was.  I told him about the light colored ewe I'd seen earlier in the day so we took a flashlight and went back out.  Al said he'd found Baloo with the lamb but no mother nearby.  The lamb was perfectly clean and dry.  Baloo was babysitting it.  After some searching, we came up with the mother.  Interestingly enough, the whole time we searched the lamb stood next to Baloo watching the process.  Baloo continued to lick at it and nudge it closer to himself.

We got mother and son into a stall.  The lamb was not only spotless, seemingly thanks to Baloo, but had a round little belly meaning he'd already eaten.  It seems Baloo did allow mother to give him a first meal before kidnapping the little guy.  We checked the ewe's udder and one side was already open.  I popped the wax plug out of the other side and after we'd seen the lamb nurse we left them alone.  Mother was gently licking his head as we tucked them into bed.

This morning when I checked on them they were just fine.  I  borrowed the lamb for just a minute to show to Baloo.  Mother was standing nearby. He enthusiastically began to lick it again.  He also shoved it to his far side so that he was between mother and "his" lamb.  I gave him just a brief visit and returned the lamb to its mother.  Baloo trotted happily out of the stable.

This was Baloo's first assist at a birth.  I am so glad that, even though he should not have really borrowed the lamb from the mother, he was not aggressive or hurtful.  Who knows what is to come but I do have a load of old towels in the laundry right now in preparation for upcoming births.  And Baloo is contentedly back with the rest of his crew.