Monday, March 19, 2018

Lambing begins...

Once the fleeces are off it is much easier to watch the ewes develop
as they get closer to lambing.  We look at all of them everyday, 
sometimes a couple times a day to try and guess who will go first.
Sunday I penned a ewe thinking this is it.  She was off by herself, 
she had "dropped" was up and down and pawing at the ground.
She didn't even attempt to come and eat when I offered hay to all the girls.

I went out last night before I went to bed to check on her one last time
before morning.  Upon seeing no progress had developed I took a quick
look over all the other girls and just outside the barn was one ewe standing 
out there with this little guy, above in tow.  So I picked up this little guy
while holding him down low so mom could see him and I walked her right
into the barn and into another pen that I had ready.

So above picture is #70 Laurel, a beautiful black ewe who has delivered 
a single moorit ram lamb that will have horns.  He has that super small 
tightly curled fleece which is exciting.
Laurel was bred to my black ram, Bian1107.  I paired them up last 
breeding season because I got a beautiful black ewe lamb and was
hoping for a repeat of that.  Well this time it's a ram, but he is quite 
a looker.

We've had another one born today which I will post later and
Ohh...that ewe that I first spoke of....
We are still waiting.

Saturday, March 10, 2018


We schedule our shearing date in January....then wait in 
anticipation for that date to come.

This year it was a bit chilly, but we all hung in there,
we had many hands to help with all the duties.
Catching each sheep in the holding pen, handing her off to the 
shearer and removing her coat so she can be shorn.
Another helper was keeping track of each sheep's ear tag number, 
recording it on an index card and slipping it into a large clear plastic bag.

The plastic bag was then handed off to another helper to gather
that precious fleece and place it into the plastic bag for safe keeping 
until it can be skirted and I can record the details about each fleece and 
who it was from (this being done at a later date).

While another helper would sweep the plywood board after each
sheep was shorn, so as not to contaminate wool fibers or have debris
on each separate fleece.  Leaving the shearers only one job to do.
Remove the precious wool from our lovely girls.

As I had mention earlier, I had already trimmed all the hooves and 
CDT shots have been given.

 I did hold out about 13 sheep to be roo-ed.  Some of our helpers wanted to 
experience rooing so we will be working on this several 
weeks from now.  I had many that were ready and I could have roo-ed
but the fleece was coming off right next to the bare skin and 
I didn't want a bunch of bare (bald) skinned sheep running around.

Now that most of them have been shorn it is much easier to monitor
baby bellies and get a better sense of who will be delivering first.
I expect that we will begin lambing approximately March 19th.
Based on when I put my cross breeding group together.
...hopefully we'll have lamb photos in a little over a week...

Thursday, March 1, 2018

March duties ...pre shearing

We made it to March....yeah!!
I have been very busy and recently made a list of all the duties
that must be done in this month of March and WoW! 
My list is bigger that I first thought.
So this evening I have finished one thing on my list which was to 
get all the girls (my ewes) hooves trimmed.
But you know it is difficult to do when you see these lovely faces
that want to be right in my face while I'm trying to trim hooves. 
I have several that just want your attention and don't care that they
are in your way.  Although when you do want to cuddle with
them they are always ready.
So back to trimming hooves....I have completed the ewe flock,
40 ewes at this time. I still have the rams to do.  I hope to get 
them done this weekend, along with CDT shots for everyone!
We have had mild weather...finally, although a little wet,
which is actually good when you have hooves to trim.
The wet ground keeps the hooves soft which then makes
trimming much easier.
As you can see if you look closely...we are getting close to lambing.
We will be shearing the flock next week, March 9th.
Once sheared it will be much easier to see and monitor
each ewe as she gets closer to her delivery date.
If you are local and looking for fresh fleeces drop me an email.
We have a variety and hope to begin skirting them ASAP
(this is on my list of things to do).  I plan to take approximately
15 fleeces to the Great Lakes Fiber Show 
I will also prepare a large amount to be made into combed top.

We have about 27 to 29 ewes that are bred, so this means alot of lambs.
This year I bred 18 ewes to my border cheviot ram, I do not plan
to keep any of these lambs and the rest have been bred 
to the shetland rams. 

Lambs will not be available for sale until approximately June,
depending on birth date and whether they are weaned and ready to go. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

January blues

It's definitely winter here in Ohio.
This year I had to syke myself  up to get through our winter weather.
More and more I dislike this cold weather and have been keeping 
focus on March....a little over six weeks away.
Yes, we will still have snow, but those bitter cold days should be no more.
Our temperature today was a high of 20 degrees with a couple more days 
to come of temperatures in the teens!
focus on the goal.....MARCH!

Although the girls don't seen to mind this weather.  When I went out to feed this evening
several of them were laying at the edge of the barn in the snow.
 Every evening I give them a little grain and boy do they get excited.
They wait for me at the gate, then run and jump ahead of me 
to each feeder as I try and put some feed in all the troughs
so they can all get a little.
 While they are outside I lock them out of the barn so that I can 
prop open another gate to place hay in the feeders without 
sheep trying to get out.  My system of gates has worked out well.
No need to water tonight as I did that earlier today.
So feeding time tonight only took about 15 minutes.
So glad!
 Some snowy pictures to share, the  pine trees always look so 
beautiful with snow on them.
It's been fun watching these trees grow, I planted them
as little tiny trees with hopes that they will grow up and make
a nice wind break for our house.
 Couldn't help but get a picture of our English Shepard, Red.
He just loves the snow and is my best bud that helps with the sheep.
 As soon as I open the gate most of the girls are back in the barn to 
start eating on the hay.
Since it has been so cold this weekend I've stayed home all weekend!
Of course I've had plenty to do. Finalizing the farm records for 2017.
It's good to know the sheep have paid for them selves plus a little.
Also working on my USDA 2017 agricultural farm census.
I keep track of so many numbers and spreadsheets but have 
never really totaled my wool clip.  This is one of the questions
on the census.  So off to look at my charts and see that our 2017 
wool clip was 125 pounds.  That may not be much compared to 
some of the other breeds, but marketing of the shetland
wool at local events and festivals adds value that is not 
seen by most sheep breeders.
I am one shepherd that is very pleased with the wool from my little sheep,

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Yes....I am still alive

Sometimes we just get ourselves involved in too many activites
and we just tucker out.
....that has been me these last several months, with 
no blog activity many were beginning to think that I 
dropped off the face of the earth.

Well I didn't!!  I'm still here.
Quick update, since my last post, we've had no lambs....just a ewe
or two that do not have the best conformations that have started
to mature and tend to have a potbelly look.
 Not the most appealing and not a conformation that I want
inherited in my sheep's genetics.
I will be weeding out these undesirables.....

More recently...

Today was our regular monthly Guild meeting.
A great group of people who share interests.
Much going on at this months meeting.
Above, some spinning and having conversation.

Some hand quilting on a quilt to be hung in the Historic
McCook House, an extension of our Guilds members 
through the Carroll Co Historical Society.
Many of our Members are very involved in our 
Algonquin Mill Complex and all the "sister" groups.

In the dinning hall some hand work and good conversations going on.

 Another shot of the one room school house were we hold our monthly 
meeting.  Located at the Mill Complex.
And finally, a shot of the girls who know that I am now home 
and expect me to be coming out to give them some hay.
Our weather has warmed up a bit and will continue into this
next week.
The end of another year is coming fast, which give my cause to 
look back and review all the craziness that I have going on 
and re-evaluate.  What I have going on...
were I've been, what I'm doing and were I'm going.

As I set my goals for 2018 during the remainder of this year
I hope everyone enjoys their holidays with friends 
and family.

Merry Christmas
Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

here's a new one for ya....for me too!

Sometimes when things don't go well with one of those in our flock
we might not always talk about it on our blog post.
But I feel the need to explain this twisted turn of events
this year.
Above....Eve.  A sweet ewe that is so friendly and always looking 
to be touched.
...earlier this year, January 11, 2017 poor Eve miscarried her lamb(s).
I knew when I went out to feed in the morning that "things weren't right".
Some said, Oh, if you put her back in with the ram she may re-breed.

Well I didn't see the need to do this, I thought that if she did "act" as 
though she was in heat I would put her back to a ram.  But that day 
didn't come.

...moving forward to April...

April 18, 2017 I get a call at work from my dear husband, telling me that 
"you've got a ram in with the ewes and he's chasing them around!"
"He is breeding one of the ewes and she is standing".
Unable to leave work, I ask him to have our friend Dave come over 
and get our Black ram "Bian 1107" back into the ram pen.
...those boys can be magicians when it comes to really wanting to get out of their pen.
He slipped under a 16 foot wire panel that was clipped on either end as a gate.

So I made a note in my calendar on my phone that Eve was bred and to expect a lamb 
on or about September 12, 2017.  Well as you can see Eve, above
just really doesn't look pregnant.  

As I have been inspecting the flock to see who might be a little thin or need 
wormed before we go into another breeding season.
I notice #53 Oreo....
 Oreo with her lamb born March 29, 2017 behind her.
As she walked past me in the barn, I thought boy does she look awful big.
The others not so much.
I recall the conversation with my husband, who doesn't participate
in helping with the sheep too much.
We never discussed "who" was bred.
I assumed it was Eve...that was my logic!
But I am now looking and thinking that Oreo may be the one
that was being chased and bred on that day in April.
At the time Oreo had delivered a lamb just 21 days prior. bizarre is this?????
I plan to get her in her own pen, away from her March lamb,
so "if" she really is going to lamb she will have 
colostrum for the new lamb(s).
I'll keep you posted on Oreo...
we have a tentative due date of September 12, 2017.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Adult ewes, ewe lambs & ram lamb available

 This little guy was born April 29, 2017.  He is a fawn katmoget.
I think that he is has the finest fleece of all the lambs I had born 
this year.
 I've linked the pedigrees of 
his  Dam here.
 The only head set flaw that he may have is the size of his ears.
He may grow into them.
Although they are perfectly aligned just above the eyes, as you can see.

I've posted pictures of various adult ewes and lambs that are available 
on the "for sale" tab.
Take a look-see, email me directly if you have an interest in any of these girls.