Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Caught up

I think I have finished updating all of the births now. This is the typical scene that greets me when I go out in the afternoon by myself. If I have guest, they scatter fairly quickly.

On pins and needles

I am having anxiety attacks now, when I have to go off. I am finding myself breaking out in a sweat, when I have been off over an hour. I know that the animals can have their babies without me, but the survival rate drops drastically, if I am not here. Sapphire's two does being a case in point. Anyhow, Jalapeno is not eating and only drinking water, so I expect tonight or early in the morning. More likely morning, but I could get surprised. Baby will not be long either. Jalapeno is the black doe and Baby is the white one. I predict twins from both of them, but I have been known to be wrong about that also!


Sapphire had three does yesterday morning. Only one of them survived and it was the smallest of them all. Peanuts is the last of the M&Ms. I don't think she even weighs 2 pounds. I am holding her on her mom, but I think she is drinking on her own, when I am not out there.

Hazelnut's lambs

Hazelnut is kicking her lambs, trying to get them to get up and move away from me. We would call it child abuse! The lambs are used to me handling them. If I were bending down to pick them up, they would be gone in a heartbeat. Hard to believe that they will not be a week old until tomorrow. Spots had hers last Friday. It is a ram lamb. I have not gotten a good photo of him yet. My friend, Rosey, was here to help deliver him, so I let her name him. She chose "Mole'."

Absinthe's kids

Absinthe is making sure that the kid on her, Mini, is really hers. Mini and Mega (M&M) were born Sunday just before noon. Mini was really little compared to her sister, so I had to move them to the shed. She was weak and cold. Hard to believe, when it was 80 degrees outside. That slight wind was just enough to chill her and make her unable to stand. Now the two kids look very similar in size, but picking them up is a true indicator. Mini is puny!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Hazelnut's lambs

Now this delivery went smoothly. First a ram, which made me start wondering whether I wanted to keep her, since all of her offspring had been rams, and then out popped a ewe. Now I have two sets of lambs to name. Penny sent me some suggestions for yesterday. I now need some for today's.

Coiled yarn

Lest you think I do nothing but wait for babies to be born, I thought I would post the yarn that I finished this morning. It is a lovely, subtly shaded, blue coiled yarn with 57 yards that I have priced at $21. It is a blend of soft mohair and wool plied over a perle cotton thread. I took the photo outside in the sun and I don't think the color shows as well as it could.

Of course, I am waiting on Hazelnut to deliver today. She is standing around like Columbian was yesterday, so I am running out hour to check. No danger of babies freezing today in this heat, although the wind has picked up!

Columbian's lambs

As Penny was shearing, we noticed that Columbian had huge udders. When we let her back out with the other sheep, we knew to keep an eye on her. Sure enough, about 5 P.M. I saw her licking a lamb. We observed her for a while, and came to the conclusion that she could not be done. Since Truffle's mother kept trying to take the lamb, we moved Colombian to a pen and decided to tidy up after shearing and check again. When an hour had passed and Columbian had still not delivered a second lamb and had no afterbirth, Penny and I were sure that something was wrong. Never having done it before and really not knowing what I should do, I let Penny slide her arm up into Columbian. I thought it was funny when she said she felt three legs, where there should have been only one. I was also worried, because she said they were breech. I told her to go ahead and try pulling them out. I was sure they were both goners (we had decided there must be two more in there) and was amazed when she pulled out a ewe and then a lamb. Both living and, with a little help, drinking from mom. Penny was cool as a cucumber. She has loads of experience it appears. I hope to not have much more!

Looking at the lambs this morning, the ewe is going to turn a much lighter shade - grey, one ram is uncertain and the other ram looks like it might be brown. Unfortunately, these lambs are out of the ewe that has had ram with messed up horns for the past three years. I will castrate the rams and keep the ewe, to see how she does. The lady that I bought the ewe from three years ago was breeding for polled Shetlands. Kind of dumb on her part, since it is not a registrable animal. Also not a very good practice, because things like horns growing into the skull and into the eyes are real problems. I will keep these for the fleeces, but definitely will not sell them. It is not until they are about 9 months old, that the problems become obvious. Too bad, because they have the loveliest fleeces of them all.

Shearing and lambing

Yesterday was so busy that I really did not sit down till 10 P.M. My friend, Penny, showed up about 10:30 to shear. We managed to get 6 sheep and 3 angora does sheared, as well as watch the black Shetland ewe deliver her lambs. I will put that story in the next post.

Penny shears in the traditional manner of flipping the sheep on their backs. The goats, because of tailbones that make them a lot more fidgety, are shorn on a stand. I love the Shetland fleeces as much as I love the kid mohair. The variation in their coloring is always a nice surprise, when it comes off the sheep.

Penny is an awesome shearer and willing to travel, so you can contact her at She is well worth her fees, since second cuts are rare and the animals don't stress. She does sheep, angora goats, llamas, and alpacas.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Peaches' doe

Dark Chocolate looks gross, but she is up on her feet less than 5 minutes after being born.
Color genetics in goats is a lesson in biology. Peaches was born apricot colored from two black looking angora goats: one was a dominant black and the other a recessive black. I bred Peaches to a recessive black in hopes of getting a black kid. I am always thrilled when the kids are born, especially when they are does. Anyhow, she had her kid on the 1st of March. I let them out of the shed this morning. Peaches was a first time mom, so I was excited to be able to get her kid on her by myself.

I did learn one thing, while Peaches was in labor. She was the first mom to make any noise as she gave birth. She was also the first first-time mom to deliver. I ran out to see what was going on and saw all of the other mothers ganging up on her. I think they were trying to shut her up. Usually, the first that I know a mom is delivering, is from the cries of the baby. Now I know why!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Barbara's kids

Barbara's kids are floating in and out of the shed today. This is a photo from the day they were born.