Saturday, March 15, 2014

Joy & Frustration all in one week, Life of a Shepherd

Joy; the first of our yearling ewes lambed. She had no difficulties with delivering, did it all on her own which is a very good thing. She had twins, a little bit of a shocker considering she wasn't very big and it was her first time. But one of the lambs was dead I am not sure if it died before birth or she accidently stepped on it during delivery. The surviving lamb a male is healthy and lively, weighing in at 9 pounds an average size for a lamb. Good Job, Baby Girl! 
Baby Girl & her male lamb

Baby Girl's little boy, aka "Philip" according to my son's girl friend. 
Now for the frustration; I discovered that #6 aka: Broomhilda, has developed Mastitis. Ewes can get Mastitis a couple of different ways and there are two different kinds of Mastitis. Luckily she has the kind that is treatable. But, I am not sure I can save her whole bag, one side is effected and further along then the other. I have been treating it aggressively and see results. But this also means I had to pull her lambs off her and start bottle feeding them. Though this seems very cute to non-farm people it is not what we want to happen. A baby does best when they are able to stay on Mamma. Plus it is a greater expense and takes more of our time to manage bottle lambs. Bottle lambs do not usually grow as well as those that stay on their mothers. Both lambs are doing well on the bottle though, one of them does not know how to suckle it appears. This can also explain why #6 has Mastitis. The lamb wants to bite at the nipple instead of suck. Their little teeth are sharp if it did this to #6 and she received cuts from the lamb then Bacteria could easily get into her bag causing the Mastitis. I did find abrasions on her teats and bag but was not sure if it was the cause or happened afterwards from the bag swelling so tight. The lambs have been placed in a pen insider her pen. This way they stay close to each other and do not get as upset as they would being placed in pens further away inside the barn. 
"Broomhilda"
The challenge has been for us to get to the lambs past her. She is not happy with us for handling her when she hurts, she is not happy with us for taking her lambs away, she is just down right not happy with us at all! She is a BIG sheep with horns. She is not and has never been a friendly sheep either. But she is a good mother and a good producer, I hope I can save at least one side of her bag. I do not want to have to cull her out of the herd.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Marriage of Carriers .... one to allow the other.

As a lot of you know growing a business takes time especially if it has any thing to do with farming/ranching. Even more so if the product is unusual for the area you are in. Like ours - market sheep in the middle of dairy cow country.
What is Where?


Excuse Me!!
So I have taken a part time job to bring a little money in on the side for now. This first two to three weeks is training so it is full time, taking up a lot of my time.
 Luckily we only have a few ewes who had not lambed already. Leaving me the capability to mange home life,4-H duties, sheep and job at the same time. I had an ewe who was getting close to lambing so to be able to mange things better, at the end of last week I put her in a lambing pen. This morning when I arrived at the barn two little ewe lambs were standing at her side. Healthy and lively.


I have 2 more older ewes left to lamb and 3 yearly ewes. They are the ones I have to worry about. The chances of having to pull lambs are greater and the fact that they may not know what to do after the lamb is born is higher. It is not always clear to new mothers, sometimes we have to help them out a little, like directing the lamb in what direction it needs to go to find the teat. The older ewes know how to do that them selves. I was not going to breed them till they were 2 years old but the ram got loose and in with them. I was hoping they hadn't taken but no luck there. What is lucky is the fact that they will be the last to lamb and do not look like they are due to lamb for a while yet. I am praying that all my training is done by then. The job I have taken is a Sub-Transit Bus driver, so I am able to say yes or no to jobs allowing me the time I need for 4-H, the sheep and home life.

Back to Bus Driving
I feel pretty lucky in finding a job like that. I love my family, I love being a 4-H leader, and I love working with the sheep and the business of raising sheep and their products. I feel this is a good marriage of carriers.

                            Life is GOOD! 

Some photos copied from internet: Thank you to those I borrowed photos from to express my thoughts on this post.
http://lucdof1.deviantart.com/art/Sheep-and-cow-394617065
http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/genetically-modified-cows-could-fart-less/story-fn5fsgyc-1226311605016
www.blovedweddings.com

Monday, February 3, 2014

Here's whats been happening at the Sheep Camp

Boy, so much has happened this Winter and I have not had the time to sit down and post about each event separately, so here is just a "little catch up" on events post, from the Sheep Camp. We lost my son Jacob's black Suffolk ewe in January, after she had given birth to two still born lambs. We think it was septic shock. Her name was Lily, she was 7 years old and had quite the personality. He had her since she was 8 weeks old, she was one of his first 4-H project lambs. She was the only full black sheep we had and was built the way you would want a show animal to be built for the show ring. But, unfortunately my son was never able to show her because she was just to wild and bull headed to tame down enough to show. In turn it made her the perfect farm breeding ewe. She had beautiful built lambs, was very protective of them, and her body confirmation held up over the years. I wish I could say the same for myself. You would of never known how old she was by looking at her just grazing in the field. She will truly be missed.
Lily, taken 2013



This was a picture of Lily and her lamb from February 2013
My other son Tanner's luck during lambing season was not any better. His main ewe Jasmine had delivered freckled twins. They were beautiful lambs but a short time afterwards Jasmine accidently laid on one of them and it died.
Jasmine and her 2014 freckled lambs

A freckled lamb is the result of breeding a
white faced sheep with a black face sheep.
In this case - Jasmine (ewe) who is a Hampshire
was bread to McRamsey (ram) who is a North Country Cheviot. 

The other lamb grew nicely and was looking great then when we were docking tails and castrating it went into shock and died as well. I have heard of lambs doing this but we had never had it happen in all our years of raising sheep. We tried hard to save it but there was nothing that would work. The rest of the sheep flourished and lambing season hit into full gear.
We have 12 lambs so far all doing well. We are expecting 3 to 6 ewes to still lamb. I say expecting because 3 of them are yearling ewe lambs that were not suppose to get bread this last year but the ram snuck in with them. So we are not sure of the results. We do not do pregnancy test on our ewes just because of the extra cost and we are not that large of an outfit to justify the procedure, YET! 
Out of the 12 lambs there are 5 cross bread ewe lambs, the big question will be - "Do we keep them to add to the flock or do we sell them to add to the bank?"

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

When The Sun Comes Out .... So does A Little Fun!

Saturday was a bright sunny day, unlike today how fast the weather changes around here. When I arrived that day to feed the Rams and Wethers, the sunshine was causing them to feel their oats. Apparently I disturbed a game of king-of-the-hill that had been taking place on top of the flatbed trailer.

This guy took the opportunity of me showing up to declare himself winner since he was not afraid to stay on top of the trailer while everyone else scrambled off upon the sight of my presents.


Our little Ram Lamb walked over to greet me as he so often does. I usually talk to him but not much else just because I don't want him to get to friendly. A tamed down, friendly Ram can be dangerous. When they go into rut and are no longer scared of you they are more apt to charge or butt you to protect what they feel is theirs.

He is not very big yet but, someday he will weigh in close to 300 pounds. As you can see those horns are getting very thick and large. By the time he reaches two years old he should have a full curl and a half on them.


I have seen a ram of that age shear off a 4 inch wooden fence post with one blow. I don't want to find out if it only takes one blow for my legs. You want the rams to be calm and manageable but not pet friendly. Learning little things like not to rub their foreheads helps keep everyone on good terms with each other and safe. This is a sign they use to challenge each other to a fight. They put their heads together and slightly press or rub foreheads then back up, putting weight on their hindquarters for more power and butt or ram heads together. So we will just stay on speaking terms for now.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Getting Stitched on the Farm: Sage Country Sheep Film Kickstarter Project

The post I am sharing with you is from a great Blogger, Kristin Nicholas. She has made us aware of a project featuring Sheep Ranching. A life style that is slowly fading from this great country of ours. A life style that needs to be shown to the future generations so they may have the chance to see and come to love the strength and determination of the Sheep People and the community that it takes to live such a life. Please check it out. Getting Stitched on the Farm: Sage Country Sheep Film Kickstarter Project 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lambs & Pigs for sale ..... Know where your Food comes from.

LAMBS - We will have butcher ready lambs available for Easter if interested ( these are whole spit or Bar-B-Q size). 

FEEDER LAMBS - For those looking for fair projects or 
those that want to raise your own lamb, we have Dorset/North Country Cheviot lambs that will be ready any time after the 1st of April.

PIGS - If any one is looking to restock your freezer my son still has pigs that are ready to go to the butcher. Message me if you are interested. 

FEEDER PIGS - For those of you looking for Feeder pigs to raise your own or for fair projects he'll have them too, they'll be available around March. 

For those of you interested animal location are Lambs Oregon Coast & Pigs Eastern Oregon, please message me if you want more information or are interested in purchasing. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Arriving Early... Two by Two

I thought I had bread for Fall and Spring Lambs .... I thought.
I had one ewe deliver Fall twin Lambs. Then I waited and waited and waited ...... no more Fall deliveries.

A month later Winter had arrived and ... "WHAT'S THIS"!  So did the start of Winter Lambing. I knew the Ram had gotten out and in with the ewes but, he was only out for about 4 hours. I have severally missed judged the time it takes for one Ram to impregnate a flock of Ewes. All Rams must bow down to this Great Stud of a Ram. For he is the King of Rams. 


Now we have 6 lambs in 4 days, with 3 more ewes looking ready to lamb any time and they are still coming.



The red glow you see in the photos is the heat lamps needed for warming when you have Winter lambing. 
I want to be just like Daddy!