Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Surprise From Hazel

Alan got home from work last evening in time to find Hazel cleaning off her new ram lamb. By my accounting she wasn't due for at least another 2 weeks, but I guess she knew better. Our first Coopworth lamb, bred and born on our farm!

He is nearly 10 pounds and she is very attentive. Looking for names beginning with the letter "H." She was hiding this pregnancy very well, partly because of her sheep coat, but she wasn't any where near as big as the other sheep just before they delivered. Even Ruthie looks bigger. Could she be having twins? I would really love a Coopworth ewe lamb.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Lambs

We spent yesterday grooming the new pasture area, planting seed, and raking. The weather is forecasting rain tonight and tomorrow morning so I really wanted to get this seeding done. After hours of back breaking work we rested and let the ewes with the older lambs out to play. And play they did (well the lambs did!)

We had issues with videos but I think we have it figured out now. Hopefully, better videos to come.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Clara-Our First Ewe Lamb

I was the most anxious about Clara lambing. I was there when she was born the end of January 2015. She is not quite 14 months old and was pregnant for the first time. Her due date based on a 145 day pregnancy was yesterday, but all of our ewes have been lambing 3-4 days after that date. So we really didn't think any thing would happen for a couple more days. Well, Clara surprised me with twin ram lambs this morning. They were up walking, nursing and were mostly dry when I found them. She is such a good mom! Her mother Chloe has been the easiest ewe to lamb and I was hoping Clara would take after her.

She had two nice size ram lambs, one 8 1/2 pounds and the other 9 pounds. Way to go Clara for your first lambing!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Stream Work

Now that the 4 older ewes have lambed we have a little break to get something else done. (Well, around giving supplemental bottles to Beyla's twins and making Mama Sadie stand still so her ram lamb can nurse.) We finally got the arborvitae out of the stream. The big overgrown branches of arborvitae fell into the stream a year before we bought this place and they really needed to be removed.
The leaves and rocks collected by the branches were starting to divert the stream and erode the bank. Most of the branches were so big and weighed down with debris we needed to haul them out of the stream with the tractor.
We overfilled our trailer three times with all the branches.
The pipe that takes the stream under the road was getting blocked too.
But is now looking much better.
We could have used the nice warm weather we have been having, but this day was blustery, cold and had intermittent snow flurries. But what an improvement!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Our First Shearing Day

I don't recognize our Coopworths! They look so different! Yesterday was the first time we ever had sheep sheared. The sheep were well behaved, for the most part, and the whole thing only took and hour including set up and clean up. We had moved the rams out of their pasture the day before because of forecasted rain so they were under the barn overhang. The two ewes were already hanging out in the barn with the hair sheep.
When the shearer arrived I took the coats off the ewes and you can really see the difference the coats made.
Hazel went first and as soon as she felt the clippers on her skin she went into a zone and relaxed into the sensation.
And she's showing signs of pregnancy, yay! Ruthie looks pregnant too!
Elwood was the big surprise. His fleece under all that dirt and chaff and his coat was a beautiful silver gray.
Without his wool Elwood is smaller than some of my hair sheep!

Mercer was the most difficult to shear, partly because of his size and partly because he wasn't very happy about the whole process. But his fleece is a lovely cream color with beautiful crimp.
Here's an after shot of Hazel and Ruth.
And one of Elwood and Mercer.
Now it is very apparent how much bigger and more muscular Mercer is than Elwood. The shearer also trimmed all their hooves and did FAMACHA scores. Everyone had great scores so no wormer needed.
Now I need to make a skirting table!

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Beyla's original due date was February 29th. But after a week passed I figured she was not bred on her first mating and somehow the blue crayon didn't mark her (there were a few days when Elwood was sitting in dirt and the crayon became caked with dirt and little stones and wasn't marking.) So I expected her to lamb about 17 days later. On March 9th my husband called me at work and said Beyla was in labor. When I got home she looked fine other than trying to have a small vaginal prolapse with a lot of bearing down. But she was not dilated at all. On the 10th she was stable. On the morning of the 11th my daughter texted me that Beyla was passing a lot of mucus, but otherwise acting fine. At noon she had two bags of fluid hanging out of her vagina and was contracting about every 15 min. When nothing had changed by 2 PM I left work because I was worried that she might have a malpresentation because she had been pretty immobile for the past month or so because of her sore foot. Of course she slid a lamb out while I was walking out of work, but still had the two sacs hanging from her vagina.
Then, for two hours nothing happened. Beyla was very attentive to her little ewe lamb and the lamb was nursing well. A quick exploration found a lamb not far from the birth canal and in the proper position but slightly rotated. He came right out with a little help. While Beyla was cleaning the ram lamb she began pushing again. I was really hoping she was passing her placenta as I didn't think she could handle triplets. But out popped another ewe lamb.

Everyone was up moving around and nursing well. Their little bleats were absolutely adorable. I don't know if Beyla delivered early or late or if I had her due date completely wrong. I only know when she was marked the one and only time.
Just as I was figuring out how to go about supplementing triplet lambs Beyla sat on her third lamb and suffocated her. I had been out in the barn and they were all nursing last night around 7:20. When my daughter went out around 7:40 the lamb was under Beyla and had no heart beat. I think Beyla just sat down on her while the lamb was trying to nurse.  At least now I don't have to worry about Beyla not being able to nurse triplets, but poor little thing.
Next up is Clara. She is due on the 25th of this month.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Chloe: Before and After

Here is a picture of Chloe, heavily pregnant, yesterday afternoon.
Everyone was fine at the 9PM check, but when I went out at 11:30 to check on the ewes I was greeted walking up to the barn by one very vocal barn cat. Then I heard Clara making a ton of noise. When I walked into the barn Chloe was cleaning off her two newborn lambs. Leave it to Chloe to make this all look so easy. And after the last two births I was ready for easy. She passed the placenta without issue and was already nursing one lamb when I walked into the barn. A cursory drying and clipping/dipping the cords and moving them into a jug and we could go to bed!
And the after shot:
Chloe has the prettiest face of all our hair sheep. She had a ram lamb and a ewe lamb, same as last year. But this year's lambs weighed more since she was probably in better condition when she bred and throughout the pregnancy. The ewe lamb was 11 pounds and the ram lamb was 11 1/2 pounds.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Moose's Story (or Why Aren't We Having Fun Yet?)

Moose came to us in late 2014 already bred. She delivered a 13 pound ram lamb in Late Jan. 2015. That ram lamb died when he was about one month old. The vets could never figure out why.
Fast forward to this year's lambing season. Moose was due on 2/28. Finally on the evening of March 2nd she went into labor and delivered a large ewe lamb, 12 pounds, with a little pulling help from me. (She also needed a bit of help pulling out her lamb in 2015.) Mama Sadie was still not letting her ram lamb nurse so we tried grafting him onto Moose after her ewe lamb was born. Moose seemed very excited to have two lambs at first and even let him nurse. But then she decided she had enough and wanted nothing more to do with him. I even tried putting my hand in her vagina to stimulate the pressure of giving birth but she would not have it. By now a couple hours had passed and Moose showed no more signs of having anymore lambs. The quick check when I had my hand in her vagina felt like a cavernous nothing. She was nursing her ewe lamb well and drinking water and eating hay. I was disappointed Moose only had one lamb, she was huge and I thought she would have at least twins, but at least she was healthy. I moved the ram lamb back in with his family and took a couple steps backwards with Mama Sadie accepting him since he now smelled like Moose and her ewe lamb.

At the overnight checks Moose and her ewe lamb were doing fine and Mama Sadie was getting better with letting her ram lamb nurse. It wasn't until around 1PM, over 14 hours from the time she delivered her ewe lamb, I noticed that Moose looked like she was pushing. She still had placenta hanging from her vulva so I figured she was just trying to pass that. I gloved up to see what was going on an found a lamb lying with its back towards Moose's belly way down in her uteruss, but head and front legs pointing towards the way out. Lambs don't bend that way and need to have their backs aligned with the ewe's back for delivery. I attempted to spin the lamb so its back was in the proper alignment but it would not budge. I also thought it had died since I had a finger in its mouth and felt no movement. After only attempting for a brief minute or two I figured I needed to have the vet on his way since I didn't think I would be able to get this lamb out. Moose also felt very warm inside so would need antibiotics and oxytocin.
Dr Dickerson got to the farm in just under half and hour. Even he had a good bit of trouble getting this lamb rotated and out. Even the hips got stuck. It was a 15 pound ram lamb and he did not respond to any resuscitation efforts.
Dr Dickerson gave Moose antibiotics, oxytocin, some vitamins and steroids and banamine for pain. She was having rasping breathing by now and looked exhausted. In the evening she developed a nasty cough along with her raspy breathing and I feared she was getting pneumonia. Thankfully, by 3AM her breathing sounded much better and she was coughing only occasionally. This morning she looks a lot better, still tired, but has a perkier look about her.  So now I need to figure out Moose's future. She is a good mom once she is delivered but she has never delivered unassisted. And now I know I need to take the plunge and explore the uterus more fully if I think there is a chance there could be another lamb.