Sunday 29 April 2007

Sunday 29th April - Good bye to Dan

Today we delivered Dan, our young male alpaca to his new home. He's now living on an 80 acre farm with 3 other male alpacas and 100s of White Faced Woodland sheep. He took no getting into the trailer and travelled really well. When he met his new friends, he ran straight to them to sniff and see who they all were. When we left there was no backward look to watch us go. Too many new things to do, sheep to watch, chickens to chase, new mates to play with. Considering he just left his mum that morning, he seems O.K. His mum Eloise, appears to be fine about him going, happily munching the grass with Bella and Elli.

This week we have had a couple of lambs that have been limping, when we checked them out nothing appeared to be wrong. They have more than likely got it running around with the lamb gang.

We also moved the ewes and lambs into a new paddock, only to discover that the fence between them and the paddock the the female alpacas is high enough for little lambs to crawl under to see the alpacas, but then too small for them the get back to their mums!!!! Lambs are very stupid at times. So we spent a very peaceful 1/2 hour dropping the netting so that the little horrors can't get through. Shetland lambs are great escapologists.

We found out today that one of our friends and great Shetland sheep breeders are drastically reducing their stock of sheep, due to ill health. Needless to say we have registered our interest in at least 6 of their ewes. Watch this space to see how many we finally end up with!!!!!!

Update on the barn cats from the Cats Protection league. Being feral cats they are taking some catching. So once they are caught they will let us know. Talking of cats, next door's cat decide to have her 3 kittens in the female alpaca's hay rack. Caused the alpacas complete confusion. Needless to say we very carefully took the cat and her kittens back home.

Hopefully a quiet week before the onslaught of the bank holiday weekend and the arrival of the resident vandal. Denise has been talked into showing a group of school kids how to spin and shear a sheep on Wednesday!!!!!



Monday 23 April 2007

Lambing has finished

With lambing now over it seemed a bit strange this weekend with no ewes waiting to give birth. We decided on Saturday morning to let the final 3 mums out with their respective lambs and dismantle all but one of the lambing pens to give the ewes more space to get at the hay and feed. So life should get a little less hectic for us, though the feeding of Dougal lamb will continue for a few months yet.

On Sunday "Dave the Fencer" came to put up some new fencing in the top paddock. He cut back the hedge to the original fence line and we gained approx a metre of grazing. We will chain harrow and fertilise this paddock before putting any livestock in over the next week.

With the weather changing back to something like it should be for April, showers and cool winds. Working in the barn is much more preferable to working outside. To that end we attacked a whole load of wood that needed chopping into kindling for our 2 wood burning stoves.
Tim got the door made for the wood store and the windows finished just as the first swallows arrived, so they will have to nest in the barn as opposed to the old workshop, wood store and garage, which have all been re-roofed, where they used to nest. They have arrived a good 2 weeks earlier than last year.

Another post next Sunday, where we are set to have a hectic weekend


Friday 20 April 2007

Friday 20th - Last lamb born

This afternoon Amy gave birth to a ewe lamb. If the weather is O.K in the morning we will let Layla, Lucy and Amy out into the field with their respective lambs. It's amazing how much the lambs grow in the sunshine.

Our finally tally of lambs is 23. 16 ewe lambs and 7 tup lambs. All in all we are very pleased with the lambs we have had this year. There are some interesting colours and pattens amongst them. It's strange to think that this weekend some of the lambs will be 3 weeks old and in about 3 weeks time all of the lambs will require their first set of injections for clostridial diseases, i.e e-coli. That will be fun!!!!!


Thursday 19 April 2007

Thursday 10th April - Lucy finally delivers

Early this morning Lucy had twin lambs, one ewe and one tup lamb. As the weather has got somewhat colder and we've had some rain. Lucy and Layla will stay in the lambing barn for a couple of more days, especially as Amy is now in to give birth, hopefully on Friday.
Once Amy has had her lambs, that means we have finished lambing for the year. I know that Winky is supposed to be due in May, but neither of us are convinced that she is going to have any lambs.


18th April - Layla has twins

Late on Wednesday night Layla gave birth to twins, a "mini me" ewe lamb and yet another black tup lamb. All are doing well.


Tuesday 17 April 2007

Tuesday 17th April - 2 more lambs

When Tim went to feed Dougal his afternoon feed Lotty had just given birth to her twin daughters, seen here half asleep in the hay of their pen. They will spend tomorrow inside and depending on the weather will go out on Thursday.

To date the lamb total stands at 18, 13 ewe lambs, 5 tup lambs. We're pretty happy with what lambs we have had to date. Hopefully Lucy and Layla will have their lambs tomorrow.


Lilly's lamb

Managed to get a photo of Lilly and her little ewe lamb out in the paddock enjoying this mild weather we have been having


Deefa's nose

If you think Deefa's nose looks bad now, you should have seen it on Friday and Saturday before he started his course of medication. It is healing - slowly.


Monday 16 April 2007

Amber delivers a beautiful ewe lamb and Lilly surprises

Amber produced a beautiful ewe lamb this morning, again discovered when Tim went to feed Dougal his morning feed. Amber's lamb is a flecket yuglet and we will have to think of a name for her. We still haven't thought of one for Berniece's lamb yet. We let Berniece and her lamb out of the lambing shed this morning, they are both doing well out in the paddock with all the other lambs.

Feeding up this evening we noticed one of the ewes hanging around the fence in the far corner of the field. At first glance we thought it was either Astrid or Anya looking for their lambs, but a scan round the rest of the ewes we quickly realised it was Lilly who was by the fence with her lamb, a beautiful black ewe lamb. We decided to leave them out in the paddock as the lamb was up and about and feeding well. Lilly would only get distressed if we try to put her in a lambing pen, she has a tendency to be a little wild, but a great mum. Another name required for this little lady.

Only 4 ewes left to lamb, Lucy, Lotty, Layla and Amy. Layla is due on Wednesday, but we decided to pen her tonight just in case she decides to have her lamb early.


Sunday 15 April 2007

Sunday 15th April - Berniece has a ewe lamb

When Tim went to give Dougal lamb his 06.30 feed, Berniece had given birth to a beautiful little ewe lamb. As she is a pedigree Shetland she will be staying to increase our breeding ewes. So we will have to come up with a name for her beginning with the letter "D" and associated with either a herb or flower. Hopefully tomorrow they will both go out to enjoy the fine weather.

Tomorrow should see Amber, Lucy & Lottie have their lambs, then that will just leave Layla, Lilly and Amy who are all due over the next few days and by next weekend we will have finished lambing, apart from Winky who is due in early May.


Photo of Ariadne and her son

Ariadne and her son out in the evening son. She's very protective of him and as yet has not brought him into the barn at feeding time. So we are giving her some feed out in the paddock.


Saturday 14th April - Visit to the vets & a Farm Sale

Deefa our sheep dog likes to roll in all things smelly, well this time it has got him into trouble. He rolled in some fox poo earlier in the week, we noticed a few bumps on his nose, and then on Thursday we noticed a few scratches. We thought he'd been wearing Grayling, our farm cat. But on Friday when his nose was red, swollen and weeping a visit to the vet was urgently needed. So Saturday morning saw us sat in the vets. Evidently it's mites associated with foxes and Deefa has had an allergic reaction to them. So he's had 2 injections and is now on a weeks course of antibiotics. Because the mites are contagious, Holly our other dog also has to be treated with a preventative treatment. She's not happy!!!!

After taking Deefa to the vets, we went on to a farm sale. It was a change to be able to wonder around in the sun and look at all the bits and pieces of equipment for sale. Normally at these sales we are in full rain gear and trying to find a place to shelter from the wind. We managed to catch up with neighbours and friends. We arrange with Dave "The bunny bopper" to call and cull the increasing number of rabbits on our land. We did buy a couple of piece of equipment, as did our neighbours, so it was ideal that we had taken the trailer. A good day all round


Friday 13 April 2007

Friday 13th - 3 lambs

Missy was not due until the 14th, the plan being to put her in a lambing pen today, but when we went to feed Dougal at 06.30, Missy was showing possible signs of giving birth, stretching and staring skywards.

Coming back from walking the dogs with the idea of moving Missy into the barn it was apparent that she was about to give birth in the corner of the field. So we fed the rest of the sheep, by which time the first lamb had been born and the 2nd was on it's way. Five minutes later Missy had her 2nd lamb, both ewe lambs. As the morning was fine and warm we decided to leave them out in the field to enjoy the sun.

Feeding up in the evening we noticed one of the ewes pacing up and down the fence line, at first glance we thought it was Allium and one of her lambs had got stuck in the hedge. But it was Ariadne, she'd given birth to a tup lamb 2 days early. He's a strong young lamb.

So they say that Friday the 13th is unlucky, but we've had a good day. 3 good strong lambs.


Thursday 12th April

On Thursday morning Beatrix had a tup lamb, he is a full pedigree Shetland ram, so we will have to wait to see how he grows to see if we sell him for breeding or not.
There was a moment of panic whilst Beatrix was giving birth, feet were seen, but she appeared to be having problems getting the head out. So a phone call to our neighbour, Pete, to come and assist. It took him 5 mins to arrive, by which time Beatrix had delivered her lamb, no problems.
As you can see from the photo she is out in the field with her lamb. The weather is so mild, outside is the best place for them both.

Sunday 8 April 2007

Friday 7th April, 3 lambs and a visit from the vet

The first ewe to give birth on Friday was Astrid, she had a tup lamb, but she didn't cleanse her afterbirth as quickly as she should have, so we called the vet. There should be no problems, and the vet gave her an injection on long lasting antibiotics, which we will repeat in a couple of days time.
The second ewe to give birth was Brazil, she has produced 2 lovely little ewe lambs with some very unusual markings. These ewe lambs are the first of the pedigrees to be born, so we will have to think up two names for them, starting with the letter "D".

If the weather holds, we will be letting these new lambs out into the fields in a couple of days, including Dougal, who is now going through 1 1/2 litres of milk a day. His mother, Anya, comes into the barn at night and lays down by the side of his pen, so we are hopeful that she will keep an eye on him once he's out in the fields.

Next ewe to give birth is Brigid on Wednesday


Wednesday 4 April 2007

4th April - Twins and rejection

Tim went to the barn this morning to find a stray lamb. It would appear that Anya gave birth to twins in the early hours of the morning. A ewe and tup lamb. The trouble being, the little tup lamb appears to have been born "the wrong side of the fence" and as a consequence, his mother has rejected him. We managed to hold Anya and to get him to have a good drink, but she was not happy and at every opportunity Anya would head butt him out of the way. So we had to put him in his own pen for his safety and to let Anya settle down and feed her remaining lamb.
Peace now reigns, but it does mean we have to get a litre of milk into him daily, and for the next 3 days he will be on 2 hourly feeds. From 4 - 7 days the gap between the feeds increases so that he's down to just 4 a day, then just 2 feeds day. He hasn't quite got the hang of the bottle as yet, but I don't think it will be too long before he does. We've called him Dougal.

We let Abbi and her daughters out into the beautiful sunshine we are having at the moment. They have really enjoyed basking in the sun. Though this evening she has brought them into the safety of the barn. If it is as nice tomorrow, we will let Anya out with her daughter. We also penned up Brazil, though she is not due until Friday, she has a limp and we don't want to stress her out too much doing her feet, this close to giving birth. Last year she had triplets and she looks as big this year. We wait and see what happens.


Monday 2 April 2007

2nd April - more lambs

It looks like I was a day out with Abbi's due date, she produced these beautiful twin ewe lambs at about 11 this morning. They were up and feeding within the hour. This is her second lot of twin ewe lambs she has given us.

We await Anya who was due today, but I think will produce tomorrow. If this is the case, it looks like all the due dates are out by a day.


Sunday 1 April 2007

Sunday 1st April

Our first lambs were born this morning, not to Abbi as we thought, but to Allium, who was not due until the 2nd. But what's a day when she has produced 2 very healthy lambs.
The lamb with a mainly white head is a ewe lamb, the other one is a tup lamb.
Hopefully Abbi will have her lamb(s) tomorrow along with Anya who is also due.