Saturday, April 28, 2007

who did I forget?

Does this happen to you? I walk by a new lamb and say good morning....ahh....what did I name you? Sorry, I'll have to look you up. This is one reason I play word association with my naming themes each year. I know the moms....I try to memorize which lambs they have. So I can run around with a starving lamb or lost lamb and find mom to feed them. But sometimes the mom's name doesn't ring a bell. Mostly this is a problem with sheep I have bought. I know Kitty's lambs because they carry cat names....Tabby, and Cub. I can't remember Donna's lambs ever. What goes with Donna?....all I can remember is the song Oh Don....nnnnn....nna. Last year I named her daughter butterfly....because she was black going grey and had big grey ears. Like butterfly wings. I came back to check my list twice on Donna's black ram and what I named him....then I renamed him least I know he is black...well, maybe he is grey but he doesn't show it yet.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

new lambs

Bottom photo is yuglet flecket ram lamb, Cherub,
photo of twin ewe lambs yuglet flecket AgAa ivory and pearl, standing hst is Lone Ranger, notice his legs.... he is from the line that produces polka dots on the front feet and spats/shoes on the back, Little ewe lamb laying next to her mom is a lovely yuglet sokket, My Fair Lady.
Top photos, Shortcake, yugler flecket ewe lamb, mostly white. and a new yuglet flecket ram lamb, Sundae, note.... he has unusually small scattered black dots on his topside. The twin Ag girls are mine, everyone else is AaAa and SsSs, and they are for sale.

In case you were worried about me. I have had a few more lambs. I took a few more photos.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Wow, I am still here. A few ewes to go and someone else just swallowed a football.

My mastitis ewe is out with twins....but only her girl is eating. her ram lamb is looking for a new mom. No chance today as the two girls both had katmogets. If you have two katmoget lambs, there is no way you will believe that spotted wonder is your too.

So we are waiting for a nice big ewe with some spotted babies.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

sheep and lambs

What else?

Has it really been four days? Well times goes fast when you are having fun....
Yes, shepherds have some loss of sleep during lambing season. Hopefully you have limited your breeding rams to a little over the 17 day cycles. If not, breeding and the resulting lambing can extend over a long period. I did this myself. Attending a show in early November caused me to run some breeding pens far into November and in some cases into December.
I have a date for the ice storm that hit Missouri....I broke up all the outside groups that day, and set up some after the storm was over. So I have a few ewes who should lamb between now and next week. But having carefully placed last years calendar somewhere "safe", I no longer have any dates for my girls being bred. Oh well, it will be over soon. I have at last bag seen, 14 ewes to go. We are at 59 lambs this morning, 440 lambs born over the years. The reason I mention last bag that some ewes will hardly show until a week before they lamb. That includes showing a bag.
The sun is shining, the temperatures going up. I will get the camera outside. Really!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

sun shine

I will say it helps to have is also very nice to have temperatures rising...instead of falling. I like rain. It is necessary for grass to grow. But so are temperatures above 30 degrees. Ho ho ho, we had some casualties from the cold weather. I'm cold, tired, and cranky....well, no, actually I am pretty happy now. I will say that the last birth over the weekend helped.

Not the last birth of the season....just the most recent birth. I was this sticking my arm in and trying to pull out what we thought were dead lambs. Just goes to prove that even experienced shepherds haven't been tested in all situations. Think about it. The ewe involved, was fully bagged....a crease was down the middle of her udder, which showed that it was now overly fat. She was spending time alone in the barn kicking at the floor. When placed in a jug, more to protect her from wild ewes forced inside in the rain....she stood leaning against the wall....grinding her teeth while her dropped tummy sides contracted....and then she staggered to the floor to push with her legs. So all night, with half hour bed checks....she alternated between pushing, grinding her teeth, and curling into a fetal position on the floor in the cold. Now it is twelve hours....and no bag or goo is appearing. The experienced shepherd thinks....dead lambs....bad position. So, with the help of another experienced shepherd....who happed to be visiting....we felt the belly for kicking....I entered the other end to see if there was a lamb part or a bag. Nothing in the birth canal. No goo....a very tight cervix. An hour later we checked again. No more pushing....the ewe could hardly stand leaning agaist the wall, as she grinds her teeth. A call to the vet....typical. Now we were getting to the point where we knew something was wrong.
The question was, how long we could let her go before we had to go in and try to lighten her load. We had plans away from home. Did we pull out whatever was there before we left....or after we got back? Always the thought was in the back of our minds that possibly the ewe just didn't like pain....and wasn't that far along in the birth process. So we opted for the wait and see.

YES! That was the right decision. When we returned there was a single full grown lamb all wet...standing and being cleaned by a proud mom. Truthfully....I doubt that I could have pulled that lamb out. The size meant the head would have been hard to find, and harder to hold. The cervix was still pretty tight. If the lamb or lambs were is likely in this rural area...that the ewe was lost too.
It might have helped to manipulate the cervix and stretch it. It likely helped that I didn't try to puncture the bags which were right inside the cervix....obviously, the time was near....or I wouldn't have gotten my arm inside. After 24 hours, I believe the area no longer stretches. So any decision beyond the demise of the ewe had to be made soon. but this time we guessed right....yaay! nice to only have one problem...not two. The second problem I have is a ewe with twins and a very bad mastitis....I hope she makes it. The lambs deserve better than a bottle. But one problem solved itself....and that and the sunshine make this shepherd very happy.
Good lambing to you all. Don't worry about problems that aren't there....and enjoy the rich rewards of those precious lambs that are on the ground.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

spring is coming?

Well, I have been hearing about terrible weather. I'm sorry everyone. I sure hope this cold breaks soon. We got up in the 50's today. Seems that should be warm....but it was still cloudy and windy. I let all the rest of the lambs out....but had to put some back in pens this afternoon since the lambs were shivering.

I did take some photos, and I do have lambs for sale. I have absolutely no idea why this program prints two photos....but oh well.

snow and cold

I am so sorry to hear about all the snow and cold and wind everywhere in the midwest. There are plenty of things shepherds have to worry about....but in mid April, usually, we don't have to worry about snow.

We started out in the 30's this morning...I'm guessing about 15 degrees below normal. I have been feeding hay to everyone, since the grass doesn't grow in this cold. We have also been having the winds. Now, in a valley, I shouldn't have winds....but we are kind of long and open and the winds work like a wind tunnel. Last night the tarps were billowing and the sheep were all huddled on the other side of the barn. About 2 in the morning, I finally shooed the moms and lambs up to the area in front of the barn. I was getting tired of lambs getting lost in the dark.
I came to the south to say warm. Don't expect photos until we get aboue 50.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

lambs and LAMBS

Yaay, Crissy finally lambed!

It only took her two or three days. You know the type of ewe, waaaay too fat, with a bag that would rival a milk cow. She has been standing in the barn for days now. And finally she had two fully grown lambs. I can tell because the ram has horns not horn buds. Well they got out....and I'm glad her tummy can go back off the ground now.

She's a kicker....have you ever seen a kicker? The wet lamb is laying there wondering what all the noise is about and mom says "Stand up I need to lick you." kick....paw....kick. Poor lambs stand up so they keep from being kicked. Well another set of ewe one ram. Why, I ask....are all the girls plain....and all the rams fancy? Well, maybe not all of them. One of these photos is of the little lamb who has a fussy mom. This mom doesn't like things culy white tips on the tail. Can you tell whick lamb has a short tail? Got to go back and check the barn now.

Monday, April 09, 2007

lamb races

Sure, I can tell them's easy, most of them have spots. Now if they were all black or moorit, it might be difficult.

However the moms and the twins ARE having a little problem. I can hardly wait to add the almost dozen in the jugs. Bedlam it is.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

sheepy lambs

The cold will start to go away tomorrow. Actually, it isn't bad outside today. Good enough that I let....well pushed, all the old mommys and their lambs outside. OK....I have one set that isn't following and they are locked up....but other wise I only have two moms inside in jugs....The tail-eater from last night....and the one who had twins today.
Yaay.....that meant I could move the jugs out and find some gate panels. The girls got outside in the yard again this morning. My fault....I forgot I took one of their gates for the new mom last night. But instead of me husband started his mower, and all but two came running. I expanded the floor space for the new moms when they come in tonight. At least I hope they all come in tonight. It is still supposed to freeze. Maybe even the two in the yard will find their way home.
Bopeep it is. Lost in the woods too.
Interesting that I used that term. Remember Hansel and Gretel? That was one of my intuitive readings when I was looking for this place to live. My brain was programed with Mother Goose, and other fairey tales. Don't you just love books from your past?
Speaking of books from my past....I just started buying a childhood author that wrote my most favorite book. What are you doing for fun?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

what AM I doing?

Good morning, and happy Easter to you all,
Yes, I did....I named a ram Rabbit this week. Mom's name is Bunny, and it seemed logical at the time. I can just picture a shepherd calling for "rabbit" to come see his new friends.
Not really. I did want to say I have not been taking new photos....we are somewhere around 40 lambs now and many of them came in a two day period. Unfortunately for us shepherds....the weather is unusually cold and windy right now.
It does put a crimp in my schedule of keeping lambs and moms in jugs for about 24 hours....or nice warm afternoons....whichever comes first.
I suppose I could brag about my bunch of twins....born the natural way....but really, the nice thing about twins is that they can cuddle up next to each other and not freeze. I only have one heat bulb out right other bulbs are 100 watt....yes they throw heat...but maybe not enough. I'll look for some today, as we expect another really cold night. Casualties include the peach tree....which looks pretty frozen this morning.
We are also having the high winds here. I know they are worse up north....but they seem really cold since we were 80 degrees a few days ago.
I mentioned the variety of jugs full of lambs....some with twins...some doubled up with singles. Yesterday I had a shivering ewe....I plied her with warm molasses water and moved some twins outside so I could set the sick ewe up under a heat lamp.... my newly released lambs spent the day getting on the wrong side of fences and calling wlldly for mom, in the cold....I lost another lamb in the morning....drowned in the fluid....but pulled a long long breech.... and she lived. So I was kind of even for the day....quiet otherwise...too cold for the ewes to stop moving.
The culmination for the day was my lack of fencing gates. Yes, I kept stealing my gate panels for jugs. So the gates between the yard and the pastures started leaning. Then I saw several ewes in the back yard. Yup...they saw their opportunity to eat that long grass....and Shetlands are never slow to take an opportunity.
I use a sweet grain mix...besides adding calories...the ewes will run to get their grain.
Soooo. I thought I would have an easy time getting the numbering about thirty....back out of the yard.
Apparently not. As I shook the grain bucket they came running...but as I opened the gates, more ewes ran into the yard than came out. Several minutes of frustration passed. Several ewes were threatened with extinction. Then I processed the situation and dismanterled the gates by the barn, and made a catch pen. Now as we called the ewes to the pen with grain....we could shut the gate and then let the girls out of the catch pen. No more ewes were getting into the yard. But.....the younger ewes were much more interested in grass and bushes than in grain.
Tired brains sometimes have brilliant ideas. Why don't we bring out the crazy cocker, the one who barks at sheep? So my husband brought the barking terror into the yard on a leash....she wouldn't utter a sound....she wagged her tail and tried to pull my husbands arm off.
Shepherds will survive....WE started barking. Woof Woof....GRrrrr....the offending sheep could see the dog, and they could hear barking, but it was the growling that brought them running to the gates.
Finally the sheep were all in the pasture. But they weren't in the nighttime pasture, and many could lamb at any time. So I piled grain in dishes next to the barn....and kept filling them when empty from my blue bucket. The ewes ran from pan to pan.
Then I called to hubby. Bring those gate panels down to the barn now. What? Yes, dismantle the only set of gates standing between our 60 odd ewes, and the YARD??
He dutifully carried those panels and filled the space I had made in the fence. As the grain ran out I stood in the opening blocking it as I growled.....GRrrrrr! Thimble cocked her head and stood her ground. She knew it was me growling.
What in the world has happened to my shepherd's mind now? she thought in her best sheepy mind.
I found a nice live ram lamb single in the barn this morning. I LOVE live lambs.
The only space I could find for him and mom was the end of another jug near the heat lamp . So I moved in a cooler to stand in place of a gate. And hoped that the lambs would stay on their own side .
I'll take pictures when I can.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

lambs to come

Good morning,

We had storms yesterday, and now it is cold. I'm sure my friends up in the northland are having similar weather. Going from 80 degrees one day to 30's the next takes a lot out of sheared ewes.

I haven't let the mom's and lambs out of their side of the barn yet. I would like temps in the mid forties with the brisk winds we have....for those fluffy little lambs.

The storms did start one ewe into labor. She delivered twin ewes....yes the afternoon. Then as I slept for a couple of hours, another set of spotted twins were born. Yes, really...all by themselves....without me. One set from Captain, one from Spots.

My thrown-up-jug-fencing around the new twins was not fool-proof...and the little ewe got out and I found her in the next trip. Fortunately, she was accepted back, but I'm a little concerned that she got chilled. I may set up a real heat lamp on the mom side of the barn later....and move these lambs closer. Because of the unusually warm weather, I was only using 60 and 100 watt bulbs in my heat lamps.

I have gotten emails about losing lambs. I don't want anyone to lose a lamb. REALLY!

I didn't want to scare anyone about the remote possibilities of losing a lamb.

We had 87 lambs born last year and only lost two from that group. I just want you to know that even if you are present for the birth, you can lose a lamb. It's impossible to save everyone. Some of our shepherds work full time, and I know they worry that the dead lamb could have been saved if they weren't working....if they knew what to do....if they did something better. Maybe not. Enjoy all those wonderful bouncing healthy lambs. They are a gift.

Now if you have read this far. Yes, we have unspotted lambs. I haven't gotten a photo of my first ewe lamb yet. Oh I have photos, but they are of her ears and feet, and missed her altogether. She, Tassel, is a handful. She spent almost two weeks with only her mom for company. You know how shetland lambs love to play and have lamb races. Well, now she has company....and she is fast teaching all these new lambs to run and jump and get lost. Much to the ire of their own moms. And as you have seen in the last post....even spotted lambs can look alike. Mom's lose their own and chase the wrong ones....even when spotted.

Happy lambs. Happy ewes, and happy shepherds, to you all. May your wildest dreams of the perfect mating couple be fulfilled this spring....with the perfect lamb and lambs.

Monday, April 02, 2007

lambs and more

We have discussed yuglets before. then there are sokkets too. All moorit....all to tell them apart?

One of these lambs doesn't of these lambs isn't the same. Actually, one of them is from Captain, two from Hopalong. Can you guess which one?

Remember me? I'm the nut-case who is letting ewes breed right here in the Ozarks of Missouri.

Well, at least we have grass this time of year. I remember one spring in Wisconsin when I ran out of hay for the third time and let all 30 lambs and moms out of their jugs at the same time on the same they could go find some grass. Imagine lamb races with moms screaming that they have lost their lambs...and babies screaming that they have lost their moms at the same time.

Well......I'm better now.

On the other hand, I seem to have a fatal flaw....which compells me to put perfectly good shetland ewes into pens with perfectly good shetland rams. This stupidity culminates about this time of year....when I lose a lot of sleep, trying to be in all places at once so I can wipe the little lambs faces off when they finally arrive in a heap on the ground.

I remember my own REAL children falling into certain physical harm....bending necks and limbs into twisted piles at the bottom of stairs. Horrified, I would run to see if the child was breathing or dangerously damaged.

Well....that is nothing compared to the splat of a tiny lamb hitting the ground in a heap of sludge and goo, from the miles high rump of a distracted mommy sheep. In the dark, it is hard to figure out if there really is a head....let-alone find it and make sure it is now breathing.

What ME worry? Haa!.....only because I have had many distracted sheep who lack medical skills. Mommy sheep, if you watch take their time discovering if the lamb recently fallen from their plump hind-end is a ram or ewe....they would much rather lick endlessly at the lambs rear or the goop on the ground....not the head. Of course, maybe mommy sheep actually find out faster starting the cleaning at that far end of the head. But this aging shepherd likes to wipe nose and chest to get the good air in and the bad goop out.

So now you understand my mental affliction which wakes me from a semi-sound sleep each night during what some people like to call Christmas two....and walk in the gloom of night....hopefully around the reptiles.... to the barn. When there, I quietly peer around corners, and try not to stampede the ewes out of the barn. Listening for the quiet scratching or...if I'm lucky the grunting of a wet lamb trying to get out so I can climb in with a towel...or my sleeve or the shirt off my back.

Sometimes it works....somethimes it doesn't. But, here I am, aging shepherd...trying it again.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Yes, I see it is April....I wonder where March went?

Well, yes, as a matter of fact we do now have some lambs running races in the pasture. We have had some rains, so there actually IS a pasture.

Even an experienced shepherd cannot produce lambs from every pregnant ewe. Sorry, if you have never had a problem ....thank your kind sheepy spirits. Numbers over our ranch....lifetime are in the three hundred and ninety something. OK there are some shepherds who have registered more than that number....but I want you to know, you can lose some....and still life goes on.

We have had lambs born from three of our rams so far....there are a couple of pens I have roly-poly fuzzy watermelons walking around posing as ewes....but no lambs yet.

Lambs can be so different...and yet they can look so much alike. I depend on the spots in my flock to know which lamb belongs to who.