Friday, April 23, 2010

Out and about

Ewes and lambs joined forces yesterday. No more health concerns and all are happy!

Griffin has a crush on Phoenix.

Griffin is the ram lamb of Memphis and he carries the same clown face Memphis' daughter Charlotte has. So cute!

Here is Bea's boy...still haven't named him. He is awfully cute. Any ideas?

Meanwhile I am headed out shortly as show season kicks off tomorrow in CT at the Tolland Agricultural Center, Vernon Ct. I completed 40#s of custom dye work, part of the work shown here, along with another 20#s to start show season for Long Ridge Farm. It's been a whirlwind month! Perhaps I'll see you at the show. Have a great weekend.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bing, bang, boom

Della and Bea kept us busy over the weekend. Della went into labor on Friday and we helped her bring triplet ewe lambs into the world. Regrettably the last lamb was stillborn. We couldn't have saved her. But just imagine one CVM ewe lamb and one Romeldale ewe lamb! Della gave it her all and delivered perfectly. Friday was a rainy cold day and it settled in on Friday night. The little gray ewe was shivery so I put sweater sleeves on them.
The gray ewe weighed in at 6#! Tiny. The white ewe at 10.5#s.The gray ewe was born first but had the biggest fight ahead. On Saturday morning I called the Doc as Della was unable to give any milk out of the right half. Try as we might she would not let down any milk. We felt she needed some extra attention. He came and confirmed our fears that, unbenounced to us, she had an old case of mastitis and her right half was completely scarred and after every effort he found the teat completely scarred over. I bought Della from a farm in Ohio who had bought her from another farm in Ohio who had bought her from a farm in Washington state. I was assured she had no issues but that wasn't the case. This is the risk when purchasing adult sheep from other farms. I had given her an injection in the morning for the infection, the Doc gave a couple more to help her and we put her on an anti-inflammatory. She will continue with injections and anti-inflammatory for the remainder of the week.

The good news is her left half is still intact and giving enough milk for one and a half lambs. The white ewe is much more vigorous than the gray lamb and all of Saturday got the lions share of what Della had to give. We gave each lamb a tube of colostrum Friday night (meaning we run a flexible tube into their mouth and down into their belly and with a plastic syring push the milk down through the tube into the belly)which gives them that first milk from the mother plus assures they are getting enough nutrition but by Saturday poor Della was so weary from her trial she hardly cared if they nursed or not. Saturday night we fed the gray one a bottle, reluctant as she was, and the white ewe was getting enough from Della.
Sunday morning we did early barn check and the little gray ewe was very weak. It doesn't take long in the first few days. So we decided she needed to get on milk replacer immediately and let the white ewe milk out Della. We gave the gray ewe a bottle every 3 hours on Sunday and by evening she was pretty happy again. As of this morning she sees us and sees bottle which equals happiness and comfort. At day three she just stands and takes it down lickety split. Here she is this morning after feeding.
We have an ongoing name theme here of cities and towns in the South. Memphis started the name game and it has been fun all these years. The gray ewe is now known as Phoenix, a gray bird who rose up from the ashes. The white ewe is Magnolia. Bright, light and full of spring!

Here they are this morning. Looking 100% better! Della has improved vastly. She will recover.

I hosted a Carding and Combing for Spinners workshop Saturday, amidst all of this, and at lunch time I decided to take a quick look on the barn cam and saw Bea licking a small lamb in the barn. At first I thought Phoenix must have gotten out (intellectually I knew that wasn't the case!). The surprise was, although she was due, she had shown no signs of getting ready to lamb. Boom, one hour out of the barn and she did it! Welcome a little ram lamb, a single! He weighed in at a whopping 13.5#! Bea is a big ewe, striking really. She is also a daughter of the great old line of Todd, and the granddaughter of Dud, so this ram lamb could prove a winner.

Here they were this morning. Look at how big he is at two days old!

Meanwhile good old Memphis and her ram lamb are eager to meet the new arrivals. I decided on Griffin for his name. State by state, Griffin is in Georgia, Magnolia is in Arkansas and we all know Phoenix! So here is Griffin looking in at Bea and her lamb. Too cute! Come on out, I need a playmate.

I haven't decided on Bea's lambs name yet, he needs to grow just a bit more. If all goes well, Bea and lamb will join Memphis and lamb tomorrow. I suspect Della and babes will stay in the barn a bit longer til they are all strong enough.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The line continues!

Memphis spent all day yesterday in the silent stage of labor. We watched and waited.

At 9pm her water bag appeared and shortly thereafter a little ram lamb was born. Memphis is the daughter of Todd, a famous old line of CVMs. At first I was sad she bore a ram but then I thought this is good! The Todd line continues with some new genes from Neville (the lamb's sire) mixed in.

He knew just what to do and was on his feet and nursing within minutes. Strong and healthy.

We went to bed at midnight and I went down early this morning to clean up the jug and give Memphis fresh water and some alfalfa treats. All is well. He's just a perfect CVM, dark legs, light body and the badger face (it will develop in time).

Have a cigar!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Waiting, watching and spoiling

Lambs are due within the week so I spend a fair amount of time coming and going from the barn to spoil the girls. Here is Memphis looking quite pregnant!

Thankfully the lamcam connected to our bedroom TV allows me to keep an eye on them during the overnight without disturbing them or us. It is the best invention for lambing time.

One of the ewes highlights is alfalfa cubes broken up and drizzled with molasses. It's a great source of energy and protein wrapped up in one.

The other highlight is individual massages from head to toe. The ewes just love their shoulders, hips and backbones rubbed. Who doesn't?! Bea's in the moment.

Now it's Memphis' turn....

and Della's turn.