Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Our new ewe lamb

Sorry I have been awol lately. I wasn't really in the mood to write, and I have been busy. We did have some good news on Saturday. Saturday morning after I fed the sheep, I noticed one of the pregnant ewes seeming to have to pee a lot... Hmmm. Then, I could see labor was starting- all the usual things- lips curled up in the air, laying down, getting up. I immediately called my friend/sheep guru for advice. Things like how long after contractions do I wait for lamb to present?, "how long after the legs/mouth appear do I give it? I was a complete nervous wreck. I got a pair of binoculars, and sat on a bench outside the paddock and watched. I tell you, watching a mother deliver a baby has completely dis-abused me of ever wanting to take part in such trauma!

Anyway, she lay down, she got up. She finally walked up the hill and lay down and out shot the lamb. Just like that. She lay there at first, and I said "great, now the lamb will suffocate". I did go in, just to clear the membrane off the nose, and then left. Mother cleaned the lamb well, and in less than five minutes, that lamb was up and trying to nurse. Later, I brought mom and lamb into the jug. On day two I banded the lamb's tail and on day three, yesterday, I released momma and lamb out to the paddock. Colder weather for this delivery... But, going to warm up a bit, I hope.

There is one more Cheviot due, I think, and then the last Border Leicester who is just thin. I have decided to keep them until June when I can start working the lambs I have and the ones I get from John. Then, they all go.

I schedule the shearer to come the third weekend in April. That will be good. They are WOOLLY!

Joe is growing. Good Lord, he is getting big and at this point he's about nuts with no work. I am going to start walking him just he and I on our walks so he can get some energy out, after I walk Lucy and Dan. All this walking has been good for my physique. Good, I need that!

That's the update for now!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Moving on......

Since lambing has been 2/3 horrible, and trial season is fast approaching, I decided I better just get to other things, other than waiting for the last ewes to lamb, or have disasters... So, I worked Dan yesterday, just a really short session, but it went well. I remember how much I like to work him, and how it cheers me up. It was real warm so we only were out there a short time, but it was long enough to brush things up and for Dan to be very happy to be working with me.

The other issue I have had is with my ram. He's giving the dogs fits. He is challenging the dogs. Dan has a hard time when the spit head comes out of the flock to nail him, but if I back him up, he's okay. Still, I don't want this happening to my mentally young dog. To make matters worse, the other day I used Lucy to bring the flock in and at first she avoided the ram. I had to tell her to "get him" and then she was able to address his crap. That all put me in a bad mood... Later that day Lucy was tied up and he actually went up to her to challenge her, again "get him" and he backed off. Still though, he did not learn.

So, when I was going to work Dan, I wanted the ram out of the mix, and into the paddock, so I used Lucy to do this. He started again with her and this time I did not have to say anything. She lit into him like a house afire. She went straight in for a nose grip and he took off, so she held on- there was no way it was ending up this easy for the ram. So, he ran, and she ended up getting knocked off by a tree, which upset me greatly, but next thing I see is the ram getting back to the flock and hiding behind the girls, and Lucy none the worse for the wear, and I noticed she had his blue raddle marker on her chest- that transferred from his. After that, the ram was no more trouble for Lucy. I am not sure what will become of him. I don't need animals like that around. He's a good breeder, so maybe I will just make a pen up and stick an old lady ewe with him and keep him separate. I just don't know.

Today is another warm one. I know the sheep are very warm, but not scheduled to be shorn just yet. I will have to call in the shearer soon.

Joe turns four months old today. He's such a good boy. I was so dead tired yesterday, but he handled being crated a bit longer than usual like a champ.

That's all the news from lake wobegon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

More bad news

So, more bad news. Got to the farm yesterday, and Favey, my favorite BL ewe had a really bloody butt. She was grazing with the flock, and calling around for her lamb. I walked that field for EVER looking, but no lamb. I then called the vet, just in case something was wrong. I then thought she may still have a lamb, so I put her in the paddock. She ate her grain with gusto and her hay. She was a normal sheep- except for occasionally calling for the phantom lamb. Then she tried to push under the fence and I decided to jug her, because I don't want her teaching the others how to get out.

Shortly after I jugged her, she was eating hay, then pawed the ground once, and then lay down. It was now that I knew I had to go in. I got my dawn dishwasher soap bucket of warm water, and went in. Cervix was pretty tight still. I searched and found some feet. CRAP. This is not good. So, I felt around and pulled as she contracted and finally determined this was a backward lamb- I saw/felt the tail and two back legs. After some serious pulling I got out the lamb, dead, of course a nice ewe lamb. It really had no chance- not if the placenta was delivered first. Also, there is much less stimulation to contract, I am told, if the lamb is back feet first. I gave her a big dose of Penicillin, and allowed her outside. I got her up, and so far she seems fine.

All three BLs are going in April. They are really just too old to deliver and well over dog broke. I may also be selling the ram- he's getting very aggressive with my dogs. Even Lucy- I had her tied up and he actually went up to her to start something. I told her to get him, and she did. But, still... I don't need THAT aggravation in my life.

So, that's my lambing so far, the twin boys and two dead girls. It's not been fun. Not at all. I really just want it over. I am certainly learning a lot.

Well, that's it for now.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

You win if you guess it

What am I referring to when I say "Hovel of Narcissism"?
Not much going on, other that is, than running back and forth to the farm. I have been spending a lot of time up there. No more lambs. I get there early, before work, and after work I head back up. Thankfully my brother is also checking in on the sheep. The two ram lambs are doing well and growing like weeds. I let mom and her lambs out with the flock yesterday. Quite a rude awakening for me. The other flock members (the ram, and last year's lambs) took turns butting the lambs. The smallest yearling was the meanest. After the initial meeting, things calmed down. I went home after that to get some things done and then headed back up to have a nice corned beef and cabbage dinner, and then of course, on the way home, check the sheep. I wasn't sure what to do with mom and her lambs, until I saw that she had one lamb with her near the paddock and one lamb was milling with the rest of the flock a good distance away- not so good momma- you need to keep better tabs on your chitlins. So, I decided to jug mom and babies back up for the evening. I had to actually grab both lambs before mom wanted to come in. I have decided that mom and lambs will be in the paddock for the day, sans the other sheep, until the lambs and their mother get bigger and smarter.

I did their tails the other day, and banded one of the lambs testicles, but I am not sure it was a proper job. The other lamb I could not feel anything yet, so I left him.

Dogs are good. Joe is growing like a weed too. He came up on the deck at my parent's yesterday and was so outgoing. So glad to see that his worry/fear period is over.

Last night my boy kitty was so sweet. I was sleeping and awoke to him having come right up to me, and he pressed his nose against mine and purred and fell back to sleep. He's such a sweet, loving kitty. I do pretty much adore him.

Today John and I are doing the tails of his ewe lambs. He uses a berdizzo, so since I am holding, I am going to wear plastic over my clothes. I ruined a pair of jeans last year, and don't want a repeat. Now, at least we will know how many ewe and ram lambs we have (don't keep the ram lambs, so we leave the tails on).

Then, I will go home, have something to eat, and then later, come BACK to the farm (I am at my parent's right now) and check the sheep.

So, that's it for now folks. Hope everyone had a nice St Patrick's day, and are having a great weekend!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bad news

Got to the farm yesterday and found one of my Cheviot ewes delivering a lamb. She was near the barn walking around. One leg was out, and so was the nose, but the tongue was blue. I got Dan to help and we got her in the barn. I got her in a jug and began to pull. The other leg was straight, just further back. After remembering to pull down, not out, I got the lamb out. It was a beautiful ewe lamb. I tried everything I could to revive it. I did mouth to nose breaths, chest compression, swung her, rubbed her- everything. But, she was gone. I left her with her mother for a bit, because sometimes, miracles DO happen and babies can come back, but it was not mean to be. A little while later I put the baby in a feed bag, and checked mom for another lamb, but that was it. She was a big lamb, 9 lbs. May not seem big to some people, but she is a small sheep.

I cannot tell you how bad I feel about all of this. If I had gotten there earlier, I believe another outcome would have been had. Maybe not, but I bet so. Mother did pass the afterbirth. She's still calling for her lamb. I know this sort of thing happens, but my whole life is animal related. It's ME, and I failed big time. I hope and pray this was a fluke, but these are first time moms, and things tend to go wrong with them.

So, I went to bed last night and worried, but got up early this morning and drove up with flashlight in hand to check the sheep. Brother had the lights on in the barn, which was good. Nothing happening. New mom and her twin boys, Pen and Teller, I have dubbed them are good.

My brother told me that he checked the sheep at about 10:00 last night, and he could check them this morning for me. This is very good. I will be at the farm at least three times a day from now on to check the girls. This is not easy folks. It ways on you when you lose anyone. As it should.

So, please pray for us that things go okay from here on out.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The day before yesterday, Monday it was, I was not feeling great as Sunday I had an episode of very bad vertigo. I think it's related to my ear. I was still not quite right on Monday when I was at the farm feeding the sheep. I was carrying a bale out to them and WHAM- I stepped full force onto a rusted 3" framing nail that was in a chock of wood. It through my sneaker like butter and then into my foot. OH GOD did that hurt. I finished feeding the sheep and then went home to eat something (had not yet eaten that day) and then into the walk in clinic.

The Dr ordered xrays, asked if I was Diabetic (no I am not) and said he would have opened it up (it's a puncture wound) if I was. I reminded him I was not :) He called in an Rx of antibiotics, gave me instructions and I was on my way. Oh, one thing- I said "I have a good immune system" and he replied with a smile "We'll see".

So, I am on the antibiotics and the foot is okay. There is some question of new redness but so far it's okay. Thank goodness for the antibiotics as I do believe I would be in bad shape, as it had gone in so far.

Yesterday I got to the farm and counted only 10 sheep. Now, I have a problem counting sheep- I always lose count, but my brother was there and he only counted 10. So, I headed off into the field to look for the missing sheep. I went to the back left, my brother to the right. After just a short time I heard "She's over here- with her lamb- there's two".

So, I went over and by then the flock was following me. I picked up the babies and began my trip back to the barn, with momma calling her babies- and her babies calling her. They were completely dry and had been nursing. She must have had them the previous night. I got them in their jug, and set momma up with hay and feed and water. Two ram lambs. Nice job momma. She's my favorite ewe. Calm, and happy.

So, that's where we stand. Few more to go. I never thought this momma would have twins though as she was not that big. I have to say, Cheviot babies are darling!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cold this morning! I was not prepared when I went out with Joe this morning. Joe did not sleep well last night, I have no idea why. All I know is that it was annoying... He's outside right now, hopefully keeping himself occupied. Oops- spoke to soon- I hear him slamming into my slider.... be right back.......

Okay, back now. I let sheep back out in the field yesterday, as the weather forecast is decent (except for cold today). They will, in quick order make it a complete mucky mess if I lock them all up right now... I was looking at my hay supply, and I doubt I will make it into May. I will have to get some bales - even though all the hay guy has is 1st cut.

My sister is riding up to the farm with me today, and then when we come home, we will work on some projects at my place. Lots I want to get done. Bathroom, sadly, I won't be doing the reno- I just can't swing it. Maybe in 15 years.... Or, maybe I will take a class at home depot and learn to lay tile myself.

Gas is so expensive, I don't know how I will be able to swing all the trials I want to go to. I may have to do hotels more- just to save gas. I am really happy that this was a mild winter, as I used very little oil. This is one instance where I can say it is GREAT to have a small/tiny house. Even my brother in law who used to scoff at the size, is now a bit more respectful of it, when he hears I use only one small (275 gallon) tank of oil a season.

I had Joe out with Kylie yesterday, and Kylie actually played with him- they zoomed around the yard. At first, Joe was a bit scared, so he ran right into the opening at the base of a rotting tree... it was sort of funny. Kylie meant no harm though. It is good to see her relax, now that Lucy is not ready to rumble all the time. Even Nikke rolled on her back last night. Poor Lucy. She just wants to be the only dog. I know she would even nail Joe if I let her loose with him.

My boy kitty spent a long time out yesterday, and I think he has taught Joe some respect. Kitty was heading across the yard to hunt something and Joe kept running in front, and kitty swiped at him- which had the desired effect. Kitty left alone for a while.... until Joe forgot about kitty claws.

So, that's it for now. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Any lambs? NO!!! That's what I get asked and what I answer now, every day from at least three different people. One thing about babies- they come when they will. I locked up the sheep in the small paddock I built yesterday, as rain is fore casted at night for the next few days. It's been very nice and warm though. Dogs were down right hot after our walk the other day.

Joe had his last puppy shots yesterday, and he weighed in at 20 lbs. He's going to be bigger than Dan, that's for sure. He did so well. He just sat there and almost cuddled. The tech likened him to a Golden Retriever puppy. Yeah right! He's a good actor; maybe I should have named him Jim, for Jimmy Cagney...

I remember some how surviving Dan as a wee pup- it was a close one, but I did survive.

Speaking of Dan, I think his front foot bothers him. Not sure what/how, as I don't see anything, but he's such a maniac... I think he may have broken his toe nail, but with the hair there it's hard to see. I may make an appointment for him. He's also extremely thin again. Too thin. I am adding oil to both his meals now to get some fat on him.

Lucy and the girls are good. I don't leave her loose with the other girls and everyone is happier- especially, it would appear, Lucy. It's a hassle to keep the girls apart but it is worth it in the decreased stress on everyone.

Today, no plans, just the usual, maybe more exercise for Joe.....

This pic I took of him yesterday.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

New Post

Hahaha- new post- I put one in yesterday :) I finally got the last two feet for the fence up, and put one more post in. I also did some other work in the barn and we're all set, pretty much.

Weather is warming up now, but rain is coming, so I may lock the sheep up in the barn, I am not sure. It will depend on how much and if we definitely get some, as the sheep hate being locked up.

My back is sore today- maybe that last post... Today I have an oil change appt., and later will have a contractor come by to give me an estimate on my bathroom re-do. It's so badly in need of it. I hate it.

Dogs are good. Joe is all of a sudden very keen on the chickens and wanted desperately to get in with the sheep the other day, but I would not let him- which did not please him.... His ears are down, I don't think they will be prick ears at all. He was funny this morning, as I let him inside after his morning constitutional, the boy kitty was in his way, so he jumped right over him. Now THAT was cute.

Well, that's it for now.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

So, yesterday I got the fence up. Thankfully, my brother's girlfriend's daughters desperately wanted to help. They are extremely cute and helpful. The eldest actually had some good ideas on the fence. She was wearing my brother's work boots- very cute. The fence was not long enough, so I cut it and left an opening for gate. I borrowed a spring loaded post pounder and let me tell you, that is a God send- no heavy lifting UP. So, I got it all done, except I needed something 18.5 ft for the gate.

The youngest daughter drew me the most wonderful picture. She drew me, and wrote "So beautiful", and she drew a sheep and lamb, and also, "don't forget about me". It was the best present I ever got. Lucy destroyed it- somehow she got into the front seat. I was beyond upset. But, I called my brother and she said she will make me another one.

I was so exhausted after doing the fencing yesterday. I just get so beat doing that kind of work. I also did not eat much, and when I woke up this morning, I was light headed and needed protein, so I made some nice fried eggs- a good breakfast.

After I had breakfast this morning, I brought the truck up to get some sheep feed and some straw. I got all that unloaded, and then I started to figure out what to do about the opening in the fence. I found some fencing from my previous fencing job, and attached it to the other. Then, I got a gate we had in the barn for the steers, and guess what? Two feet short. For God's sake. So, the plan will be to get some left over panel pieces we have and work something out. Nothing ever goes easy.

Then, I fed the sheep and I was trying to see who had a bag and who did not. Two of the Cheviots look bag-less. So, I just decided to bring them in the barn and check everyone. Dan got them in the barn for me and I checked everyone. All four Cheviots have bags, and so does Favey (my favorite Border Leicester) and so does the thin ewe- who is not due until end of April... The Border Leicester/Romney cross is bag-less.

So, now I know- I even marked everyone that has bags- except the thin ewe, because she is not due for so long.

After that, I headed home and had lunch. I am just sitting now, ready to take a nap. Later I have to go to John's and bring his sheep in, as he is away for the day.
I am pretty beat today, but I got a lot accomplished, so it's all good.

That's it for now.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Weekend's here! Thank goodness. This week- let's see, I think we have 17 lambs at John's- with four sets of twins. Soon we will be done with what the older ram did and the new ram will reveal his kids. It's not been all rosy at John's as the sheep can be nervous and sometimes, getting a new mom into the maternity ward is not easy. Enter Lucy. If it were not for her, life would be much much worse for all involved.

Joe continues to do well, although he is much busier and I am much more tired. His ears have an identity crisis, and I think one will remain down and one half way up. It's a rather, um, interesting look.

Got some fencing yesterday for the barn yard; I did not go with the panels as frankly, they are a total pita to move and handle, and the fence was on sale :) So, today that gets done. I detest pounding posts, but John lent me a spring loaded one, so that ought to make it somewhat better.

I have just had some toast for breakfast, with my coffee and soon will get my butt in gear to get this fencing done, oh how I do not love doing it. I am a wuss- my hands freeze and I always poke/injure myself. Oh well. Also, I have to get some straw today. Can't forget that.

I was just thinking- imagine how much I have gotten done, without donations, without free labor by friends. All by myself- oh, and by paid labor. I think what I am doing is sort of how normal life is, and BOY does it make you appreciate what you have more. It's surely tempting to ask for free help and money, but every single time I try, I can't. I just can't. I mean, I practice the words- you know, if you help me, YOU can live through me, and this is your dream too... But, somehow those words sound about as honest as well, a politician's speech when he's trying to get elected. Those of you in the same boat as me- with huge debt, working full time, and with no added source of income, please know I support you, and the hard work without charity that it takes to make it in this world. Imagine if the settlers waited until they got charity to make themselves. We'd still have a Queen and be singing Hail to her :)

On another note, sheep are doing well. I am getting nervous as heck. You know you are first time lamber when your sheep book has the lambing calendar page creased enough the book opens right to it. I just hope that they all have healthy babies. It's a real rite of passage for me. Helping John has been good, but these are MY sheep...