Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Chloe Had Triplets Too!

Good ole Chloe. She is such an easy birther. I went out to feed Tuesday morning and saw a sac coming out. By the time I went back to the house to get my daughter and some towels, she had already pushed out the first lamb and was busy cleaning her up. Next came a little ram lamb, followed by another ewe lamb. She is nursing all of the lambs and everyone is doing well.
They are quite vocal, but then so is Chloe's first daughter Clara who delivered on Saturday. Like mother like daughter they both are super moms!

Clara's Twins

After Mama Sadie's delivery I had a stern conversation with the remaining pregnant ewes. I told them they needed to stop this mixed up, malpresentation stuff for their deliveries and start having nice easy and uncomplicated births. Apparently, Clara was listening.

Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day, sunny with temps in the low 60s. We were cleaning out the stalls, getting ready to move Moose and her lambs into a nursery stall with Mama Sadie and her triplets when Clara began acting like she was in labor, lots of pawing at the ground, sniffing her back side, arching her back, etc. We kept checking on her while mucking out and I nearly missed her delivery. She plopped out a lamb as I was walking out to check on her. Her second lamb was born a few minutes later. The other sheep watched from afar but our wether Hiram seems to love lambs and came over to check out the new arrivals.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Mama Sadie's Triplets

Mama Sadie went into labor late Thursday evening.  She had triplets last year and was looking as large again this year. I missed her delivery last year by about a half an hour and one of her lambs was stillborn, so I was glad we caught her going into labor.
Her first lamb was coming out with just the nose, no feet. So, gloving up again, I had to bring the lambs legs around to come out with the head. Once everything was in position she delivered quickly. A nice ram lamb. She has previously refused to nurse her ram lambs so I was happy to see how attentive she was to this lamb. She readily let him nurse too. The second and third lambs came out easily and my daughter took care of their deliveries. Final tally, two ram lambs and a ewe lamb. And she will only let the firstborn lamb nurse. It wasn't ram lambs she wouldn't let nurse, it's that she will only let her firstborn nurse. Last year we went out to the barn day and night to hold her still so the lamb she wouldn't let nurse could eat. Not this year! Now that they have had their colostrum we are beginning to bottlefeed them.

We will try to sell the bottle lambs so someone else can take over that chore.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Lambing Has Begun!

Moose kicked off lambing in her very Moosey way. She never does this easily! She had a bag of water hanging out on Feb 14th around 2:30 in the afternoon. By 3:30 she had two water bags hanging out and was intermittently bearing down. By 4:00 there was no obvious progress. Since Moose has needed much assistance with her other deliveries I decided to check things out sooner rather than later. She was fully dilated but two heads and three legs were all vying to come first. Moose has a very small pelvis so it took a while to figure out which two legs went with which head. The first lamb was finally born at 4:20 and took a good bit of pulling once everything was lined up. The second lamb wasn't born until nearly 5:30. That lamb had moved into the birth canal but Moose was showing no signs of trying to push out another lamb. So that lamb got pulled as well. That lamb wasn't breathing and had an irregular heart beat. Lots of stimulation and swinging got the lamb going. The first lamb was prancing around and eating with no help by the time the second lamb was born. Two ram lambs. The first lamb weighed 13 pounds and the second lamb weighed 11 pounds. Much smaller than her 15 and 17 pound lambs last year, thank goodness.
I should have given her prophylactic antibiotics since I was in her uterus for quite a while trying to sort things out. By the next afternoon Moose was feeling poorly, had a temp of 105 and was breathing rapidly. I gave her IM and SQ penicillin and then aspirin after talking to the vet. This morning she is feeling much better. She is eating well and breathing normally. And her temp is down. The lambs have done great throughout all of this.

The other ewes are patiently awaiting their turn at lambing. Ruthie should be next, maybe later today or tomorrow.
Followed closely by Mama Sadie and Clara this weekend.

Hopefully the most complicated delivery is now out of the way and the rest of the lambs will come easily.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Getting Ready for Lambing

It won't be long.
Poor Chloe is patiently waiting. Everyone due this month is getting big. We've done the big clean out of the stalls, set up the first lambing jug and have a quick set up for two more. The heat lamps are ready to go, and there are extra bulbs in the cabinet. The lamb coats are ready. And so is the lambing kit. And I have a week's vacation scheduled in the thick of lambing.
Mama Sadie, the sheep with the red stain on her rump from the marking crayon, would not let her ram lambs nurse the other two times she lambed, she loves her ewe lambs though. I missed her delivery by about a half hour last year so I am hoping if I am there when she lambs I can get her started with both her lambs.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Basement Joist Work

The work has begun on the basement! Alan spent Saturday afternoon propping up the old joists so he could add support to the main beam.
Today he added a 2x8 to the main beam (he had cut away the ends of the joists yesterday) and then sistered 2x8s to each joist on the east side of this section of the basement.
The original joists were only 3x4s and there was considerable sag in the floors. We had added extra support when we first moved in and Alan had taken most of the sag out so the support added to the main beam required no shimming. The floor in our bedroom feels different already. Next up, the other side. That will be a little more difficult since all the plumbing for the bathroom is there.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2017 Goals

I can start with the goals we are carrying over from 2016; the root cellar and other basement work, the mudroom, and the wool room.
The root cellar sounds like a pretty simple goal, but the section of the basement getting the root cellar has a dirt floor that is currently covered in black plastic. The plastic is a kitty magnet and they love to pee on it, right next to their litter boxes. But before we can get the floor poured there is some structural support work that needs to be done. The floor joists and main beam support are all undersized and need to be beefed up.

Our old Ford E150 van is nearing 190,000 miles and needs to be replaced. We love the van for it's versatility. We can put 10 foot boards in it and still close the back doors. It has served us very well when we go camping too. Ford, in their infinite wisdom, no longer makes the E series vans. Instead we could get a Sprinter type van that everyone we know who has one hates. 2014 was the last year for the E series vans so we have been looking for one in that year. But E150s are next to impossible to find. Looks like we might have to go with an E350.

My big gardening goals for 2017 are to have a flax plot and to give a quarter of my garden to my daughter so she can start a flower business. These changes, plus putting the chickens into another quarter of the garden, should make to remaining veggie garden much more manageable.

In the sheep world I really need to pare down my numbers of hair sheep. And I am building a business brand. LLC paperwork is ready to go in to the state. Next up is an EIN and business insurance. I am booked at my first fiber festival, in April, and have to get a booth ready too!

So we'll see how we go with all these goals. Hopefully we will do better than 2016!