Tuesday, April 28, 2009

2009 Lamb statistics

Our 2009 lambing season has drawn to a close, and here are the statistics:
Average weight 7.4 lb.--just perfect!
15 ewe lambs, 17 ram lambs--fairly even

White lambs: 6

Moorit lambs: 6

Black lambs: 6

Black Mouflon: 1

Badgerface pattern: 6
Black badgers:2

Moorit Badgerface: 4
Moorit Greys: 2
Black Grey Spotted: 3

Moorit Spotted: 2
This was our shortest and easiest season yet. Most likely due to the fact that we bred only mature ewes, and lamb weights were good!

Ag Expo

Our county held it's third annual Ag Expo for fifth-grade students. I am asked to present sheep and wool every year, and it's something I enjoy doing. Over 400 kids participated, and there were 19 different classes. The day was structured into 8, 20 minute sessions. Presenters from local agribusinesses, agencies, farms and schools, discussed livestock, global positioning systems and biotechnology. Other presentations include soybeans, corn, beneficial insects, horticulture, agriculture careers, soil conservation and wind energy.
It's amazing, and kind of sad, even here in "farm country", most kids know nothing about agriculture. Hopefully a day like this gives them something to think about.
I took Delilah and her twins, as well as my yearling ewe Fleecy. I took raw wool, washed wool, roving, yarn, pelts, horns, spindles, a spinning wheel, cutters, combs and carders. I also discussed some of the by-products of sheep, things like marshmellos, jello, baseballs, crayons, markers, violin strings, make up, lotion, etc. It really is incredible, all of the uses of sheep, beyond meat & wool.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Green green grass

We decided to give the ewes a treat, real grass instead of hay. We set up the electronet fencing up around the lower gardens. They were thrilled to have some "real" food to eat. Even the lambs loved their first nibble of fresh grass.Ewes, a view looking west down the lane.
Charlotte and her white tripletsAbigail's moorit ewe, and below, our sheltie pups, waiting for work

A sweet white ram lamb, taking an afternoon nap in the shade.

More pics!

Pippi's ewes
Claire's moorit ewe

Gideon, Anna's ram lamb loves to snitch milk from any ewe that stands still! He's a chunk.

Esther's pair of black ewe lambs, both horned. Names are Gretta & Gretel.

Delilah's badger daughter

Delilah's moorit ram and badgerface daughter

Dalla's ewe lamb

Anna's boys having a snuggle with mom.
Pippi's black grey spotted ewe lamb will be staying here!

Esther's black ewe lambs.

Espen & Echo, checking out the new arrivals.

Claire's morrit grey ram.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Our last lambs, from Abigail!

Our last lambs of the season! A 7.5 lb. moorit ewe lamb with a small white blaze, and a 7.5 lb. moorit spotted ram. At first, I thought the ram lamb was white, until I saw the distinct round spot on his leg. It was the perfect end to a great season. Echo is the sire. Ai lines in this pair include: Morro, Ari, Biskup, Bambi, Hnykill, Laekur, Dropi, Hunn.

Ella lambs!

(Photo coming!)
Ella greeted me on the morning of April 20 with a new set of twin ewes, one black (6.75 lb.) and the other moorit (6 lb.). Sire is Fudge. Ai lines include: Skumur, Heli, Rektor, Flekkur, Hnykill, Askur. Ella has retained her dark fleece (no silvering), so I'm hoping her moorit ewe will as well.

Cierra lambs!

Charlotte is a big ewe, and it's no surprise to see this big set of twins out of her, a 10 lb. black mouflon ewe and a 9.5 lb. black ram. I love the mouflon pattern so the ewe will probably have to stay. Echo is the sire. AI lines in this pair include Blaevar, Morro, Ari, Biskup, Bambi, Hnykill.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Triplets for Charlotte!

Finally! Charlotte had her lambs. I really expected her to go first, she was just so huge, with an equally huge udder to match. She's been limping around the past week, so I was a little worried for her. After all, she's my favorite girl. So, in my early morning barn check, I found her laboring away with a lamb presenting, rear only. No legs, just the tail end. Charlotte is very comfortable with me, so I had no problem shoving the lamb back in, finding the legs, and pulling out the lamb, a nice sized 7 1/2 lb. white ram lamb. The next lamb was ready to go, and out within 5 minutes, a 6 3/4 white ewe lamb. Charlotte fiddled around with these lambs for over an hour before lamb #3 was born. He presented rear hooves only, so I quickly pulled him out so he wouldn't suffocate, another 7 1/2 lb. white ram lamb. Charlotte was still pretty big, so I half expected a 4th lamb, but no, not this year. She's just a big girl. She'll have no trouble nursing her triplets. These lambs pedigrees include the AI rams Ljori, Bambi, Hunn, Blaevar, Ari, Hnykill.

Elodies's lamb

Elodie had a big black ram lamb this morning, 9 1/2 lbs. with the biggest horn buds I've seen so far. He was up and nursing when I went out on my early morning barn check. He should be a really nice ram.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Icelandic Lambs

Is there anything cuter than Icelandic lambs? I don't think so! This is Dalla's black grey spotted ewe lamb.

Below, is Dalla's black grey spotted ram lamb.

Two of the badger triplet from Deidra

Delphine's moorit ewe.
Gilligan, our semi-bottle lamb. He does get most of his nourishment from momma Anna, but we also supplement him a bit, he's such a sweetie!

Dalla's lambs

Dalla's lambs are so cute! Both, black-grey spotted, a ewe and a ram. I sat up and waited for her to lamb on 4/16, but finally just went to bed. I knew she would be fine. So, woke up to these two beauties! The ewe was is the lamb in the front, 7.5 lb. and the ram was 7 lb. As expected, Dalla is an excellent mother.

Evra's lambs

Evra had her lamb early on 4/14. I was kind of surprised that she had twins, she wasn't that big. Both are black badgerfaces, like mom, a ewe that weighed 6 lb. and a ram that weighed 4.5 lb. Though they are small, they are feisty little lambs, and Evra is a great first time mother.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pippi lambs

Pippi had a lovely set of ewe lambs on the morning of 4/14. A 7.5 lb white ewe with a lot of brown spotting (phaeomelanin) and a 7.5 lb. black/grey spotted ewe. Finn is the sire, so he throws spotting. The Phaeomelanin gene causes some color in the fleece, face and legs of white sheep. This gene allows the wool follicle to produce a pigment called Phaeomelanin which has been described as tan, yellow or sometimes red. It is seen frequently on the head, legs and tail of white sheep. When present it gives the fleece a cream or light tan appearance. If there is a lot of this Phaeomelanin pigmented fiber in the fleece. Lambs born with an abundance of this red fiber look rusty color at birth, however the pigment fades with age in the fleece. The head and leg continue to exhibit the red color. Pippi is a very protective mother, and the lambs look great!

Delphine lambs

Easter evening, our first lost lamb. Delphine's first lamb came out breech (rear hooves showing, coming out backwards). I pulled the lamb out the second I saw those rear hooves presenting, but the lamb suffocated, a nice big moorit ram. Lamb #2 was a moorit ewe lamb, and Delphine has been extra diligent, mothering her along.

Delilah lambs

More Easter lambs! Delilah had a set of twins, a 10 lb. moorit badger ewe and a 9 lb. moorit ram. No problem delivering these lambs with this big ewe. Again, a non planned breeding with Fudge, but boy is Delilah happy to be a momma!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekend lamb pics

Anna's white ram Gideon
Deon & her black ram Grady

Deon, Grady & Graham, taking an afternoon snooze.

Below, Deidra with her badgers. Anna's white ram lambs Gilligan & Gideon.

Deidra's badger triplets in the morning sun

Cute Badger!