Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Goat Kid Edition

Ok, almost wordless.  Just wanted to give an update on the goats.  Ida's buck kid left on Sunday to go to his new home, where he's being spoiled rotten.  His name is MJ, for Mammoth Junior.  Ida is now the foster mom of June's babies, Elphie and Nessa.  You would never know they're not her biological kids.  June doesn't mind at all, and in fact she does not like the babies to come near her, so there's no risk of them nursing off her.  (June has CAE, the goat arthritis virus that is transferred through milk, so she can't nurse her babies.  Ida is CAE negative, so she can nurse kids) 

Elphie has the white spot.  Nessa is the other one. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

And Last But Not Least...

Darla lambed at 2:00 this morning.  And finally, I got a purebred Southdown ewe lamb from her!  I was hoping for twins, but I'll settle for this big, good looking ewe lamb. 

I'm pretty sure I'd like to keep her, so I need to think of a name for her.

Here she is being greeted by her half-brothers.

And speaking of her brothers, I borrowed the larger of the two to take a few pictures.  The barn is dark and it's hard to get a good picture of a black animal, so we went outside for a few minutes. 

He's a cute little guy!

As far as lambing seasons go, this wasn't my best one.  I was hoping for twins from each ewe, and ended up with a set of twins and a single, plus aborted twins.  I guess it could be worse than three live, healthy lambs on the ground, but it's not what I was aiming for.  I have always had great luck in the past, so I guess it's my turn to have some "not so great" luck.  At least the ewes are all healthy! 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Good News and Bad News

Good news first!  Barley lambed last night!  She had 2 healthy ram lambs, although one is much smaller than his brother.  It took her a few minutes to catch on that her job wasn't finished after she pushed them out, but now she's being a great first time mom. 

 The larger lamb is 8 lbs, and the smaller one is only 5 lbs.  When Barley and her sister were born, they had just about the same difference in size.  Bean was the little one, and she didn't stand for the first day, but luckily this little guy was up on his feet fairly quickly.

Lambs are pretty gangly when they're first born, but they fill out pretty quickly.

He's just too cute. 

These lambs are 3/4 Southdown and 1/4 Romney.  I'm a little surprised they're both natural colored (dark).  They'll lighten a bit as they get older, just like Bean and Barley did. 

Ok, on to the bad news.  Unfortunately Bean aborted her lambs last night.  I went out this morning and found them in the shelter.  It appears they were both early, and one was malformed and probably wouldn't have made it even if they'd made it to term.  I'm not sure what caused it, perhaps the malformed one died and caused the abortion.  I'm not quite sure, but this is the first time I've had it happen and I'm pretty bummed out about it.  The lambs were both rams, and the large one looked just like a Southdown (white with mousy points), and the malformed one was lighter colored with a bit of speckling.  It's neat to see the color difference between Bean's and Barley's lambs, since they are twin sisters were mothers and the same ram sired the lambs.  This is part of raising animals though, and even though it really stinks the lambs didn't make it, I'm just glad Bean is doing fine.

Now it's Darla's turn, and I'm really hoping for some ewe lambs since they'll be purebred Southdowns.  I'm crossing my fingers and toes.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Any Time Now

Before I show you more pictures of sheep udders, I wanted to show you what I had to do yesterday afternoon.  My naughty goats are being meaner than normal to the sheep.  I've got a long feeder that should be able to fit everyone comfortably around it.  But nope, the goats have to be divas and bother the sheep.  June is the worst, and Ida takes her cues from June.  Usually June will have one corner on one side, Ida will have the other corner, and the 4 sheep have to eat from the same side.   So yesterday afternoon I got sick of it and threw together a divider so it'll give them a chance to be more civil.  It seems to have helped, and now June can't reach over and butt Ida if Ida gets too close.  That's Ida eating though, she's enjoying a break from the babies out with the "adults". 

Ok, back to sheep udders.  I predict that Barley will be the first one to lamb since her udder seems more developed to me, but that could change. 

Then I think Darla will go.  Poor Darla, I think she feels violated. 

And then this udder...

Nevermind, that's the ram.  He felt left out, so I snapped a shot of him.  I didn't take another picture of Bean's udder, because it's still pretty small.  I'm thinking she's a cycle behind Barley and Darla, which means she'd be due about 17 days from now. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sheep Udder Pics

This post is about sheep udders.  You may not want to keep reading if you're not all that interested in sheep udders.  The ewes are due to lamb just about any day now (technically the 23rd), and I've been keeping a close eye on their udders. 

I took these photos about a week and a half ago when I crutched the ewes. Crutching is removing wool from their back ends, udders, and bellies.  It helps keep an eye for bagging up (and impending labor), but also helps a newborn lamb find the teat. 

I really should post up to date pics, because their udders have really grown since these were taken, but I'm afraid if I did, I wouldn't get around to posting it until after the lambs were here. 

So here's Darla:

Bean:  I'm thinking she may be due later than the other girls.

And here's Barley:

I took a before and after belly shot to show how much better it is after crutching.  The picture is taking looking down at her stomach while she's seated on her rump.  It's a wooly mess!

Much better!

I'll try to get new pictures tomorrow to show the difference in their udders.  Of course now that the ewes are due the weather has actually turned cold.  It's been a pretty mild winter with only a few sporadic cold spells, and we're in one now.  I'll probably do night time checks now just to make sure I try to catch any lambs born.  They'd probably be ok, but if there was a problem I'd want to catch it. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

June Kidded!

Yesterday morning, I woke up and saw that June was in labor. It was a good thing I had taken the day off.  Usually, June takes a while to really go into hard labor, so I figured I'd run a few errands in town. 

I got back home and checked on June, and I had MISSED it! Darn it. The kids were still wet, so I'd missed it by minutes. She had two doe kids! June has CAE (a goat arthritis virus), which is passed through milk, so I took the kids away so they couldn't nurse. 

My sister, Becky, is getting ready to sell her house to buy a farm, so I told her if June had two doe kids they were hers.  Luckily June obliged and gave her two gorgeous girls.  The first one is Elphaba (Elphie).  She's very pretty and has a white dot on her head. 

The second kid, facing away from the camera, is Nessarose (Nessa).  The two names are from the wicked witches in the musical Wicked, which is one of Jon's (my brother in law) favorite musicals.

June and Ida were pretty worried because I had taken the girls.  I feel bad taking them away, but it is better to prevent the kids from getting the CAE virus, so it's necessary.  June usually forgets about her kids pretty quickly.

Because I bottle fed Ida when she was born (she's June's daughter from 2 years ago), she is CAE negative, so she can feed her babies.  I saved some of her colostrum and fed it to June's girls.

It was really warm out yesterday, so the girls stayed in a big tote so they could dry in the sun.

Since Ida only has one kid, and he's already spoken for and will be going to his new home next weekend, I had the idea to foster June's kids onto Ida so she could raise them.  Ida was very interested in the babies, so I tied her up so the kids could nurse.  She acted pretty confused at first, but she quickly settles down and lets them nurse.  After a few minutes, she starts to chew her cud.  If the doe kids nurse for a few days, they'll soon smell just like her own baby, so she should accept them as her own. 

The doe kids don't need any encouragement, they love the idea!

After a few times of me tying her up, I let her go and she stood for them to nurse. We're definitely making progress!  You can't always graft other babies onto a foster mom like this, but Ida is a new mom and that probably makes a difference. 

I think the buck kid is happy to have some buddies to play with.  He's laying on the right, and Elphie is on the left.

Goat kids are so cute!

Here's the buck kid, trying to chew on a piece of hay.

Elpha and Nessa liked Devin.

I was hoping they'd all lay in a little pile so I could get a picture, but Elpha and Nessa didn't want to lay down.

So, it looks like Ida will be raising the two doe kids, if all goes according to plan! I'll start supplementing the buck kid with a bottle, so he'll be used to it since he's going to be bottle fed by his new owners.  I won't have to milk Ida until the goats are weaned, so that means way less work for me!  *knock on wood*!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ida Kidded!

Yesterday I checked Ida's udder when I did chores around 5pm, and I thought it looked like she might kid soon.  She was eating well though, so I thought she must not be too close. 

So I checked on her at 8pm and she looked the same. She was slightly more vocal than normal, but there was no discharge, and she was chewing her cud.  At 10pm I went up to bed and turned on the baby monitor, and what did I hear?  I heard a baby goat.  Darn it! I missed it.  So I dressed again and went out to the barn and saw an almost-dry buckling!

I'm slightly bummed she only had 1 kid, but I figured by her size she may only have one.  Plus, I'm really impressed by how easily it seems she had him, and she's got great motherly instincts.

He is 9 lbs and cute as a button!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Barn Renovations

Our barn wasn't really designed to be a barn, it was designed to be a garage.  David gets about half of it (maybe less, but don't tell him) for his use, and I get about half for my use.  My side has been getting messier and messier, since there was stuff piling up and no useful way to store it. 

There were shelves on one wall, but they were 4' deep. Who stores stuff on shelves that are 4' deep?  You can't really reach anything.  This past weekend, my dad and Lisa came to visit and to help move the crazy huge shelves.  Here are the shelves we took down.

And here's where I wanted to put them, on the wall behind the ladder.

Here's the wall after the shelves were removed.  It's valuable space, finally free from those monstrous shelves!

It was really hard work, but someone had to do it.

Only a few minor injuries...

Almost done...

And here are the finished shelves!  They need to be better organized.  I was in a hurry to bring stuff back inside the barn since it was supposed to rain. 

We've still got several things to do in the barn, like maybe put up a few more shelves and finish straightening things up.  I also may tear down the large pen made of pallets, and rebuild 2 or 3 smaller pens out of cattle panels.  We're looking for an inexpensive solution for the flooring.  Right now it's dirt floor covered with hay and straw, but we're thinking about putting in a more solid surface, maybe like stone dust or something like that.  I also need to make a milking area, so I can hook up my new (used, but new to me!) goat milking machine!  I'll blog about it later, right now it's disassembled and needs some cleaning. 
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