Archive for the ‘2011 breeding’ Category

Summer Update – Fiber Sheep for Sale

I have not maintained a weekly post this year.  I lost my motivation to blog when we made the decision to trim the flock.  I am sad, but resolved that we DO need to trim the flock because my lungs do not like the hay.

This spring we planted more apple trees, raspberries, blueberries and 70 grapevines in our newly established vineyard.  We are moving our focus to fruit and berries; next year we will likely add many more grapevines.  Trophy Husband made the commitment to keep four llamas and a small handful of sheep.  We really appreciate and enjoy the zen vibe of llamas.  If you have llamas, you know what I mean.

We are keeping four sheep, Emmi (a black Finn ewe,) Reese’s Pieces (brown 1/2 Shetland, 1/2 Finn ewe lamb,) Jellybean (musket Shetland ewe,) and Phyllis (white Shetland ewe.)  We may keep Reese’s Pieces twin brother who is also brown.

FOR SALE

The sheep that are left in the flock have remained because I liked their fiber and personalities.  But, we can’t keep all of them!  Make an offer, sheep that aren’t sold will have to go to the freezer this fall.

Kia one year old Finnsheep ewe, she is dark gray, carries spots.  Her fiber is lovely- she is gray at the skin, not a fading black.  She had a single piebald lamb this year.  She is shown in the photo below with her spotted, piebald ram lamb.  $200 + registration fee, if desired.

SOLD 2011 Single Finnsheep ram lamb. He is a gray, piebald ram lamb.

Bonnie, a two year old moorit Shetland ewe.  She had 1/2 Finnsheep twins this year.  She is an attentive mother with plenty of milk.  $125, unregistered

Shetland Bonnie in full fleece. Born in 2009, she is moorit and carries spots. She will be for sale after her lambs are weaned.

Brown twin ram lamb, 1/2 Shetland (Bonnie) and 1/2 Finn (LRO Eino) – he is still intact and would make an excellent sire for a fiber flock.  His fiber is very soft and plentiful.  I am still deciding if I should whether and keep him in the spinner’s flock.  Brown is my favorite color to spin.  $150  He is shown in the photo below with Bonnie, his Shetland dam.  He is solid brown, carries spots.

Finnsheep ram lamb – Twin, black, carries brown and spots, nice fiber, good growth.  $200 plus registration fee, if desired.

(photo to follow)

Glory – a small gray Shetland ewe, and Curly – a non-fading black Shetland whether, both are spoken for.

We also have one three year old Mulesheep ewe left (1/2 Shetland 1/2 Bluefaced Leicester.)  She singled her first year and has twinned the last two years.  She is an excellent mother with alot of milk to raise big lambs.  If she is not sold for breeding, she will go into the freezer along with her lambs.  $150

Mulesheep Sasha with her 3/4 BFL ewe lamb

While preparing this post, I realized I need to take some updated photos of the flock.  If you are interested in a sheep and would like more photos, just leave a message.  I will take more photos in the next few days and post.

Spring is in the Air

Shetland Bonnie with her 1/2 Finn 1/2 Shetland Lambs

It’s a warmer spring  day today.  Finally!  I promised more photos so I will keep the text brief.  Above, is two-year old Shetland Bonnie with her 50% Finn lambs.  The ewe lamb on the left has pretty white markings in her lighter brown fleece and her brother is a rich, dark chocolate-brown.  This is Bonnie’s first lambing and I am pleased to report that she is an attentive and excellent mother.

Spotted badgerface Finn ram lamb 2011

Above is the gray Finn ram lamb sneaking a drink of milk from Bonnie.  This boys mom, Finnsheep Little Red Oak Kiia, has been a reluctant new mother.  I have kept a close watch on them – she doesn’t let him nurse for long.  I’ve felt his teeth and they don’t feel sharp.  And Kiia’s bag feels normal so he is getting milk from her.  I will keep monitoring them and supplement bottle-feed him through the fence, if needed.

Australian Shepherd Molly with her pups

Our Australian Shepherd, Molly, whelped 7 puppies on Friday.  Border Collie Gus is the father.  Shepherd George was in attendance for the births while I was at work.  Molly needed no help; she and the three females and four males are doing well.  We weighed them today and all are gaining weight.   Molly is tricolor and Gus is red so we will see how the colors develop.  The pup at the top of the photo is lighter than the rest – I hope that pup will be red.  I know nothing about dog color genetics and I decided I don’t care to learn.  We don’t plan on breeding dogs in the future.  We did want one breeding from these two because they are both great farm dogs.  We were hoping to wait until the end of the year but Gus had different ideas.  (A brief lapse in judgment by this Shepherd  aided in his access to Molly.)

Two-day old Aussie/Border Collie pups

Happy Earth Day!

Spring is limping along, our little patch of earth is trying to awaken, grass is slowly turning green.  The birds have returned and are busy building nests with a treasure-trove of materials our little farm has to offer – straw, hay, and warm, cozy bits of wool and llama fiber.  Spring planting for local farmers is behind schedule as the fields have been too wet.  The weather forecast is supposed to be in the 60’s next week.  I hope so!  Yesterday we woke to snow but it melted away within a few hours.

Winter Returns

This photo is from our front window.  TH (Trophy Husband) is removing a patch of Boxelder trees in front of the house.  Boxelder is a hard-to-kill “weed tree” in the maple family.  It has very hard wood (tough to cut) so it makes for better firewood than a shade tree.  I counted 14 trees in this area.  The trees monopolize the landscape and are in different stages of growth or decay.  I’ve wanted them removed for five years but TH has resisted because they are on the west side of the house; they do give afternoon shade.  TH has finally relented and agreed to remove the trees.  We will replace them with poplar, maple, evergreen trees, shrubs and flowers.  On this Earth Day I have no worries about losing the weed trees; we have already planted well over 100 new trees on our property!

I promise updated lamb photos in the next post.  Enjoy the day!

Spring Update – More Lambs!

It’s been a cold, wet, spring.  Yesterday we woke up to a dusting of snow on the ground and the day was frigid and blustery with intermittent sleet.  This year, the ewes have lambed when there has been a significant weather change; I wasn’t surprised to find Shetland Bonnie in labor.  She got my attention by loudly baahing.  That was unusual because she hardly ever makes noise.  I could see lamb hooves and legs but she wasn’t pushing.  We went outside to see what we could do to help.  Trophy Husband held her head and soothed her while I was at the business end.  I wasn’t sure if the lamb was alive or dead, but I held lamb legs while she pushed.  The lamb’s head was crowning and Bonnie just needed a bit of encouragement to push more.  I gently pulled while she grunted, loudly complained and pushed.  I helped ease his head out and after a few more pushes she delivered a live brown ram lamb!  I cleaned his face immediately as mom started cleaning him.  Within a few minutes she delivered a spotted brown ewe lamb.  After cleaning her face, I sat back and observed the new mom with her babes.  Everyone looked fine, both lambs were up and nursing within a short time.  After “snip, dip and strip,” the lambs were dressed in warm fleece jackets.

I couldn’t get a good photo but here is a sneak peek.  These lambs are 50% Shetland 50% Finnsheep.  I absolutely love the moorit coloring and both parents have wonderful fleece so I have great hopes for these two lambs.  The ewe lamb, on the right, already has very curly locks and her HST markings are lovely!

2011 Twin ram and ewe lambs (Shetland RA Bonnie X Finnsheep LRO Eino)

Shetland Bonnie (born 2009) will be for sale after weaning her lambs.  She is a sturdy, quiet sheep who is quickly becoming fond of animal crackers.

Shetland Bonnie in full fleece. Born in 2009, she is moorit and carries spots. She will be for sale after weaning her lambs.

Our First Gray Lamb!

Last week, April 6th, our most stunning lamb of the season was born to Little Red Oak Kiia.  She is a first time mom who birthed a single ram lamb, no help needed.  Kiia was bred to Stillmeadow Toivo, a gray badgerface ram with a finely crimped fleece.  I arrived home from work to find this little guy dried off and standing next to his dam.  His weight was 6 lbs. 4 oz.  He is exactly what I was hoping for!  However, now that we are decreasing our flock, he will be for sale.  His facial markings are piebald; I think his body markings may be “light badgerface.”  The black does not go all the way to his chin and he has white markings on/underneath his tail.  Elizabeth from Stillmeadow Finnsheep, any thoughts??  Again, I will post better pics in the next post.

2011 Single Finnsheep ram lamb. He is a gray, piebald ram lamb.

2011 Finnsheep ram lamb

Look at that fleece!

For Sale

And as a last note, brown Finnsheep ram Little Red Oak Eino is for sale.  He is a two-year old, extremely mild-mannered ram who throws spots.  His fleece is soft, lustrous and lovely; it spins like a dream.  He is very easy to handle and walks well on a leash.  Please leave a message for more info. and recent photos.

Shetland Bonnie will be for sale after weaning her lambs.

Finnsheep gray piebald ram lamb will be for sale after weaning.  It will be hard to let him go as I really wanted a gray sheep on our farm!

We will have more sheep for sale during the summer.  I am waiting for lamb weaning to make the final decision on who will stay in our small flock.

Spring: Mud Season, a Minor Flood and LAMBS!

Mud Season

Spring is right around the corner – at least that is what it says on the calendar.  Here, on the farm, it will be mud season for at least a few more weeks.  Before moving to the country, I thought there were four seasons during the year.  After all, that is what we learn as children; I grew up in the city so I assumed was true.  However, the truth is evident to those who live far from the paved streets and sidewalks.  Actually, there are six seasons – Winter, mud, spring, summer, mud, fall. We’ve had so much snow this winter that MUD season is in full swing and it’s a doozie!  For the first time in five years, we have resorted to parking our vehicles at the end of our driveway, near the county road.  The frost is still in the ground and the melting snowbanks (yay!) supply a constant stream of water running down the driveway.  We have perfect conditions for a very nasty mud season.

Melt water overflowing into the barnyard.

Anyone with a barnyard knows how disgusting it is at this time of year.  We have become accustomed to the mud and “other stuff” we slog through this time of year.  The only difference this mud season is the level of our “creek.”  It’s actually not a creek, but a drainage ditch which runs through our property.  It looks like a small creek with all the old trees grown up on the banks.  The creek usually fills at this time of year with the snowmelt.  Today, I discovered that the creek has overflown its bank and is flowing into a low section on the edge of the barnyard.  Yikes!  At least our house sits on higher ground.  Hopefully, our minor flood will only last a few days.

2011 Finnsheep ewe and ram lamb twins (Dam Emmi X Sire Eino)

On a happy note, black Finnsheep ewe Emmi birthed our first two lambs  of 2011 yesterday.  A solid black ewe and a black ram lamb with a small white spot on his head.   They were dry and nursing when I found them.  My guess is they were born a few hours before discovery.  I got mom and lambs into a jug and dressed the ewe lamb in a red fleece jacket and the boy in blue.  They are so cute and all are doing well.  Today the ewe lamb weighed 6 lbs. 13 oz., the ram lamb weighed 6 lb. 9 oz.  Lambing season has begun!

I’m Baaack! And I Have Sheep For Sale!

Yup, we’re still here on the farm!  It’s been awhile since I posted and the Friday Farm Photo has gone by the wayside.

Yellowstone

The Black Hills

At the beginning of September, we took a much-needed vacation to Wyoming and South Dakota.  Thankfully, the weather was perfect and we had a wonderful time!  While on vacation, I solidified my desire to do more traveling and camping.

The View that is waiting for a cabin...

Are you reading in between the lines?  More time to travel means less animals on the farm.  I have figured out my breeding groups for this winter so pretty much all the other sheep will be sold.  My focus is still on Finnsheep so I am selling most of the rest of the flock, including Bluefaced Leicester Dougal.

Please check out our sales page.  There is nothing wrong with any of these sheep – they just need to go to a new home.

Bad Boys, Bad Boys! (What ya gonna do?)

It’s jail for our Bad Boys!  I guess I should say they are just doing what nature intended…  My plan was to remove the ram lambs in a few more weeks but a few of our ram lambs have different ideas.  The new Finn ram lamb was lovin’ up every ewe in the barnyard.  They just ran away from him but I don’t want to take any chances.  So I put him in a pen with BFL – NC Cheviot cross Tank who was also friendly with the girls.  I will get them set up on their own pasture.

I have decided to name our new ram Toivo, which means “hope.”  I have big dreams for this Finn ram so the name is fitting.  Also, coming from northern Minnesota and being Finnish myself, I grew up with the name – even if it was used a lot in jokes!

While The Shepherdess (Cop) was throwing the boys in the brink, I noticed this pumpkin plant growing along the fence line.  I wonder how long the sheep will let this grow?  It must have planted itself from a pumpkin I fed the sheep last winter!

This photo is of our newest Finn ewe lamb from Gale Woods Farm.  I have decided to call her Saara.  She is a calm, friendly, very feminine lamb who is white with light brownish gray legs and white boots on her rear legs.  She is a twin but her sibling died at birth; consequently, she got all the milk so she is a very good size – she must weigh at least 50 lbs.  I need to get a larger sling to weigh the lambs as they get larger.

Saara’s fleece is white to the roots.  Her legs are both brown and gray; she has brown and black in her background so time will tell what her base genetics are.

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