Second Lamb is Here!

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Just a little bit before noon, Beulah successfully delivered of a baby boy lamb!  A new little prince of the farmyard!  Beulah is a first time mom this year.   She had a small stillborn lamb last year, so she never really had the whole experience of motherhood.  This time, she did great.   She had him all clean and on his feet and she was busy eating some yummy hay and was fine.  She has done a fairly good job of staying attentive to him.

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Emma is photo bombing this shot here…  haha…   silly sheep.   I think she wants the spotlight back on her baby!  Thankfully, now little Basil has a new playmate!    And Beulah’s little boy is named Thistle!  We decided that this year, all our babies will be herbs and flowers…  We thought Thistle would be a cute name for a little lamb, especially with his little white fluffy spot on his head.

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Beulah has been very vocal the last day or two.  We think she has been telling us that something weird is happening to her!  She comes from a very vocal line of sheep, here at our little homestead.  Her mom, Holly was noisy and so was Noel… Holly’s mom!  In the livestock world, they are called excessively vocal sheep.  Some people feel this is a bad trait for it calls predators and such.  Thankfully, we only have Pearl and Beulah, Holly’s twin ewes here at the farm.  Noel and Holly went to a new home since they were both Black Mountain Welsh sheep and not quite the fiber I had hoped for.  It was okay, they went to a great little farm!  So Pearl and Beulah are 1/4 Black Welsh Mountain and their babies will only be 1/8th.   That seems to be fine because both Pearl and Beulah’s fleeces are very beautiful and nice to spin from.

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Lizzy and Bucka Too came to visit.  They were very interested in the new little baby.  His first visitors in the farm yard!   They were very smart, though, to keep a good healthy distance because even a momma sheep will not tolerate too close inspection of her baby.

The two strolled past and said a few nice words to the little family.  They were very interested though…   a new baby in the farmyard is a very special occasion!   We call all our little babies princes and princesses!   We treat them royally and they are very little special blessings!

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The very neat thing is that a few minutes after his birth, there was an EARTHQUAKE about an hour north of us!   4.0 on the Ritcher scale!  For us flatlanders in the midwest, that is pretty darn weird.   I felt it, just a weird low rumble that I thought was a train, but there was no train around.  I used to live in San Diego, California, many years ago and have gone through a few before.   And yes, it was one!   We felt it!   Nothing really moved or fell, it was just a momentary bit of weirdness…  one wonders if Beulah knew something was up and hurried up the arrival of her little bundle!   Animals are very sensitive…  one will never know!

Well, we have four more ewes left…   Iris, who looks like twins and so HUGE…  Galadriel, first time tiny mom that we hope is a single…   Bonnie…  probably twins because she is really getting big…  and sister Pearl…  who is carrying very a very petite little bun in her oven.   Probably another single. My lamb derby guess is eight babies this year!  A good number.  Hopefully, we can welcome a few little girls into the fold!!!  It’s much easier to keep the girls!  I’m very hopeful that Basil is going to turn into a lovely fawn brown like his mother.   Seeing Thistle next to him, he is not a true black.  Time will tell!   They are all so beautiful right now!

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Birthday Project…

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Yes, little Basil is smaller than a rooster.  He is doing great!  Just a few days old now… waiting on siblings!  Even though he looks solid black, he’s really a sort of dark brown, I think…

We let everyone out in the back weed pasture and of course, all the mommas rushed out and left the wee one behind.  Basil was a little confused!   Where did everyone go?

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We were getting ready to do a quick little fix up project and so Jessy was ready to keep a watch on the gate and wait for him to figure out the right way to go!

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After a few minutes of him bawling and wandering about, Emma finally called and rushed over to find her little baby.  I swear you could hear her tell him, “Stay by my side when I run, little dear…”  And he got very good at sticking close to her flank.   However, he did spend a little of his first day out in the pasture by jumping around and running as fast as he could back and forth between momma and Auntie Bonnie.  Bonnie is a very very good nurse mom.   Can’t wait for her to have her own baby!!

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Well, even though it was Maggie’s birthday, we decided to take apart this old feeder that we had built several years ago.   It was just really falling apart and we had tried and tried to patch and wire it up but it was really becoming dangerous.  Basil got stuck in part of it and Emma was near frantic to get to him.   He wasn’t hurt, but with more lambs coming, it was time to get this beast out of there.

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The hardest part was just getting it all unwired and untangled from the paddock fence! We used bolt culters and a knife and just a lot of pulling and tugging.   A crowbar helped as well!  We used some very cheap wood on this build and have learned our lesson on that.  Anything that needs to stand up to the weather as well as livestock really needs to be made from pressure treated lumber.   It costs a bit more but it’s worth it in the long run.  We are learning.

It’s rather amazing what a couple years of hay and feed and animals can do to something.   There was a piece of fence inside the feeder to help slow them down while they were eating.  However, they pushed and stomped and shoved it around until it was half buried in the hay pack!  It was really tough to yank out of the ground!   DSC_0612 DSC_0613

Once the old feeder was gone, we dug out a bit of the old spent hay and then attached a nice sturdy piece of cattle panel in it’s place.   It’s higher, stronger and  looks nice and tidy.   No more wire and weird bits of fence and board!   We’d like to replace a lot of the paddock fence with cattle panel, but it might be just one of those projects that we do as we can afford to.   I really want to get rid of the old pallet fence in the back of the paddock because it’s just falling apart.  Pallets just do not weather nicely.  We will not use pallets again for any sort of fencing!  Just a waste of time!

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Dammartin, one of our roosters, was quite happy to dig and patrol the hay pack as we moved it around some.  Maggie has been shoveling away the old hay for our garden and I think we should have a marvelous bountiful haul this year!   All this love dark and rich composted hay will do wonders!   Just takes a while to drag it all out there!   We need one of those little front loaders!!!  Wouldn’t that be nice?

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Buttercup inspects the new fence panel.   I think she approves.  I think it looks better.  Nicer to see all the animals inside the paddock and it’s nice and tall.   And best of all, no more babies getting stuck or even sneaking out through openings!  That is a good thing.  We need about ten panels to make the whole paddock nice and new, but at $20 a panel…  that is going to have to wait a bit for the budget to give up that kind of cash over some other priorities!   But hey, we couldn’t really fit 10 panels on the van, so we might just try and do a couple at a time!   Every step forward is a good thing!  DSC_0619

Maggie is going to be building them a new hay feeder…  something free standing that we can move around the paddock to avoid building up so much spent hay.  We are trying to build a no-waste feeder but that might take a little longer and some experimenting!   I can’t believe how messy livestock can be with their lovely hay!  Some reports are up to 50% loss from a single bale of hay!   Seeing all this waste hay makes me believe that is the truth!  Since a bale of hay is around $4 to $5 each…   that’s $2 waste per bale!   And we go through about 20-25 bales a month.  $40 waste a month can sure add up!   It’s worth it to try and design a better feeder.

A good project for the day and it only took us about an hour.   Maybe a little less!   Hardest part was just getting that old feeder removed and dragged over to the burn pile.  It will make a nice bonfire some evening!  And the new panel looks so much nicer in it’s place!

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First Baby Lamb of 2015…

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We have been patiently waiting… and today is the day!  Our first lamb of the season was born today.   A little single ram lamb.   We are naming this year’s lambs after herbs!  So he has been christened, Basil.  Sounds like a fine little name for a sheep.

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His mother is Emma, a ewe that was born here on the homestead from her mother, Iris.  The ironic thing is that Emma’s ewe lamb from last year is expecting as well, so we will have four generations of sheep very soon!  Great grandma, grandma, mother and baby!!!  Not too bad for only doing this for three years.   Yeah, sheep are quick to be teen moms.

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Of course, Queen Buttercup has welcomed the little princeling into the fold in a rather polite manner.   I guess she only hates her OWN babies.  She told me that it was just dreadful, listening to Emma grunt and groan and give birth this morning, it just tuckered her out and brought back horrid memories of her own birthing experience late last summer.   She needs a snack, NOW.   To help lessen the stress of being around another birth.

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One of the things we always do with our ewes is to give them the nozzle check.   Sometimes the lambs are unable to loosen the little wax plug in a teat and you wouldn’t know until after the ewe might develop mastitis or the lamb not thrive.  So we always grab the ewe, and do a little milk check.  Emma was pretty annoyed, but it sure helps to quell any worries one might have!

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Emma was a yearling last year and we had a bit of a rough start with her and motherhood.  She had her single ewe daughter, Galadriel, last year.   We had to really work with her for a few days, supplimenting her baby with a bottle and forcing the two to bond.   In the end, it worked and after a week we stopped bottle feeding but still, she was not the greatest mom.  Just didn’t seem to have her noodle wrapped around the whole idea.   But this year?  Huge difference.   She just really seems to know what to do now, and she had the baby cleaned and nursing in no time flat.  And she’s very attentive.   I think she’s going to be a good mom, just like her mother Iris.   Whom is just so ready to have her baby soon…  babies!   She looks like she is carrying twins again.   Time will tell!

Tomorrow is Maggie’s 21st birthday!   I can’t hardly believe it…  I am now the mother of two adults.  Wow.    It would be really cool if Iris had her babies on Maggie’s birthday, don’t you think?   I think so….

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