Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Busy few weeks

I have been very busy in the past few weeks. I went to a fiber show, Stephenson County Fiber Arts Show, on the 17'th of April. I had gotten a call on the 12'th that they had an unexpected opening. This was just 4 days before I needed to go down to set up my booth! I had gotten my mill spun yarn back from Mora Valley Spinning Mill just in time and was busy washing and dyeing (and drying it outside) so I could have some to sell. I also had to get all my wool packed and try to make things easier for my sister who would be taking care of my sheep and goats by putting them on part time pasture so she would not have to feed as much hay. But before they could go out I had to deworm the ewes/does and eartag some of the lambs. After hectic running around I was finally ready! I traveled with Carol Wagner as she had extra space and that saved both of us some gas money. The show went fairly well so I am happy.

The yarn that I had mill spun is 33% mohair and 67% Shetland cross lambs wool. I sent about 40# to be spun fingering weight. Mora Valley Spinning Mill did a great job! (They used to be Taos Valley Spinning mill, but changed names as they moved.) I have to say that of all the mill spun yarn I have seen I like Mora's best as they do more of a worsted yarn and that really brings out the shine and results in a smoother and softer yarn. (I have also seen the same wool from the same farm spun at 3 different mills and like Mora's best!) The other good thing about Mora is they charge on out going weight not incoming weight.

I am also very busy washing wool and mohair and need to start dying soon too.

Bouncing on the hill is great fun!
Sheep grazing- the pond is a flooded field after we got some very much needed rain.

This year I got the sheep and goats out on pasture early to see if I could keep ahead of the spring flush. (Last year the grass got way too mature.) I put them out on pasture around the 16'th for part time grazing. I was still feeding some hay and grain so that they would not eat too much grass so early in the year! As of last night they are getting full time pasture! Hopefully I have just the right amount of grass-all summer long.

Another experiment I am trying this year was to sprinkle (yes by hand) red clover seed in a 3 1/2-4 acre pasture when it was raining and have the sheep out there hoping they will trample it in. This pasture is the worst one and had been over grazed in the past. I thought about doing that last year and when I mentioned that to the people at the local feed mill they said it would not work and looked at me like I was crazy. Then late last summer I saw on White Fish Bay Farm's blog That they had broadcasted red clover seed and gotten the sheep to trample it in. It worked for them!
Boys will be boys! The buck kids are already starting to play butting games!

Oh and an update on Emrald the ewe who I thought had no milk-she does have milk on one side and is feeding her lambs and I am not supplementing. They are growing well so she is not a cull after all!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Lamb stats

My sheep finally finished lambing. The lambing percentage is lower than I like-166% (all sheep and goats together.) Interesting thing is the group who had pure lambs had a higher percentage-187% than the ewes who had crossbred lambs-152%. The goats had160% by themselves.

Total lambs/kids born-68. 8 of these are kids.

Here is what the pure group produced:

SheltringPines Justinian a polled, black gulmoget F1 Dillon's ewes
PS23 Easterlilly-grey gulmoget ewe and a possibly polled grey ram
PS23 Emrald-black gulmoget ewe and grey gulmoget/katmoget ewe
PS23 Ely Cathedral - black ewe and black wether
PS23 Edelweiss-grey gulmoget/katmoget ram

PS23 Fife moorit F1 Orion's ewes
PS23 Essex- moorit ewe
Sabbath Farm Swan- moorit(-may turn musket) ewe and musket? (not sure on her color) ewe

PS23 Fairlight polled white F1 Jings
Sabbath Farm Silvia-white ewe and white with black leg ram
PS23 Daysong-white with brown spot on thigh ewe and white ewe
Longshadow Brownie-musket wether

PS23 Drummond musket (carries moorit) F1 Brent ram's ewes
Sheepy Hollow Sienna- musket blettet ewe and musket blettet ewe
PS23 Dove-white wether and AG grey katmoget wether
Sabbath Farm Fonteyn - musket ram, grey katmoget ram and musket katmoget ram
UnderTheSon Sorelle- Moorit ewe and musket wether

PS23 Fandango gray katmoget F2 Greyling ram's ewes
Windswept Lime- white mirkface ewe and white mirkface ewe
Longshadow Amber- musket ewe and black ewe

Total of 17 pure ewe lambs and 11 ram lambs(-6 left intact.)

So far most of the lambs look like they have nice conformations and fleeces. (Some of the rams are now wethers for various reasons.I did not like the tails and a few and the fleece felt harsh on another.) I will probably have some ewe lambs for sale this year as I don't need to keep 17! I will also have ram lambs for sale as well as possibly some adult rams.

The goats produced 8 kids all sired by Danburry the white Texas buck.

3 doe kids-2 faded red and 1 white

5 buck kids- 3 white and 2 faded red

I'm planning on keeping all the doe kids. Some of the bucks may be for sale.

The cross group produced 15 ram lambs who are now wethers and 17 ewe lambs.

Of the cross ewes 9 are white Coopworth x Shetlands, 3 UNK x Shetlands (either Coopworth or Corriedale), 2 black Corriedale x Shetlands, 1 charcoal English blue Corriedale x Bluefaced Leicester/Shetland, 1 white Shetland x Merino, and 1white Coopworth x Bluefaced Leicester/Shetland.
I may sell some of the cross ewes depending on how they turn out.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fleeces ready

I have 2010 (jacketed) fleeces ready to sell on my wool sales blog .

Monday, April 12, 2010

Done Shearing

I just finished up shearing my goats. Yoohoo! Lots of mohair to wash. My white color carrier doe kid from last year had over 4# of mohair. Her fall fleece was around 2# so that is over 6# of mohair for a little about 60-65# goat! Wish my sheep were that efficient! :)
Here I am in the process of shearing one of the does, Belle (a color carrier white.)
Fleece is coming off. I use blade shears as I have tried electric shears and don't like them. (I did get to do a blow with a professional shearer's shears and that is REALLY nice. Cuts through like butter and is not as heavy as the electric shears and does not vibrate. The professional shearer's shears are run from a motor and have more power, but costs $1000's.)

Got the bucks done. The first thing one of them did was pee all over himself-goat cologne. Yuck! The bucks also had to fight to make sure that their place in the "butting order" did not change. I fed them some hay as I thought things were getting out of hand when one had blood on his horn base. They took a snack break and then went back to fighting, but not as hard as before. Oh well, they settled down as this morning both are friends again. (Bucks don't fight the same as rams. They alternate between growling at each other while pushing and shoving on each other and jumping up in the air to crack down on the opponent.)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lamb pictures

Down to 4 ewes left to lamb! Here are some purebred Shetland lamb pictures.
Love this little ram (UTS Sorelle x PS23 Drummond) lamb's "elf ears"!

Sabbath Farm Swan's twin ewe lambs. The "black" (top) has a brown cast to her head and legs and her wool looks sheala/emsket underneath. I'm not sure what color she'll be! Her twin has a very consistent birth coat and is moorit, but may fade to musket. (PS23 Essex had a med. moorit ewe lamb that looks just like Swan's moorit.)

This little gray gulmoget was born this morning and weighed just 3 # 6 oz.! Tiny! Her twin brother is a lot bigger than her. Her dam is PS23 Easterlilly and sire is SheltringPines Justinian.

These two are Sabbath Farm Silvia's out of PS23 Fairlight an F1 Jings. The (top) lamb with the black leg is a ram and is very nice looking. He has a perfect tail and a very consistent birth coat. The (bottom) ewe also is very nice.
PS23 Edelweiss with her grey Gulmoget/Katmoget ram. Edelweiss is very tame-I think she is the tamest/friendliest sheep that I have and her ram lamb is tame so far.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lambing update

Down to nine ewes left to lamb! Yahoo! (Four to purebred and five that were crossbred.)

So far :

15 purebred Shetland ewes

10 purebred Shetland rams

8 Angora kids-5 bucks, 3 does (1 doe is a pure white!)That's all for the goats.

12 crossbred ewes

10 crossbred rams

In-between taking care of lambs I have finished up with shearing my yearlings and rams and have started on the goats (6 left to shear.) I also got all the (wool) fleeces ready to sell.

PS23 Emrald's twin ewe lambs out of SheltringPines Justinian. One is gulmoget and the other a double patterned gulmoget/katmoget. Emrald unfortunately will have to go to market this summer as last year she got mastitis on one side. I thought "she should have enough on one side to feed lambs and I can always supplement." Well she has no milk on either side. Both lambs are now bottle babies. At least they should get tame!
SheepyHollow Sienna's twin musket ewe lambs out of PS23 Drummond.

Windswept Lime's twin "Hoto bunny" lambs out of PS23 Fandango. One has a gray patch on he neck.
I had two oops ram lambs out of PS23 Drummond, a musket, who visited the ewes who were to be crossbred. The result was two ewes each had a crossbred ewe lamb and a purebred ram lamb. Both ram lambs have these markings and also have dark bellies! Weird thing is they are not katmoget as neither dam is katmoget (and Drummond is not either!) Both have darker wool at the skin than at the tip too. (Note neither will be registered.)
PS23 EveningPrimrose's twin Corriedale cross ram lambs. They are so cute! Lovely pure white doe kid (out of the Texas buck and Texas doe)! She has the softest birth coat I have ever felt! She was born in the middle of the night when we had a thick frost and was severely chilled I held her in warm/hot water for about an hour and the blow dryed her for another hour. After getting a coat and some colostrum she was ready to go.