Friday, July 03, 2015

These summer days.

     We lambed in April this year, a concession I felt necessary so we wouldnt have to worry about frozen lambs and heat lamps. Lambing started out rough anyway. Lambchop the 10 year old NC Cheviot went first, her Dorper cross ewe lamb was a head only presentation. After pulling the lamb and her dead twin, Lambchop was too exhausted to nurse and violently rejected her lamb. A week of TLC and with the help of the stanchion (gotta love the stanchion), she grew to love her lamb and she's blossomed into a big 71 lb. beast at 6 weeks. Lambchop will be retired.

We also lost Lambchops 6 year old Mule, Bonnie, due to ketosis. She was down before we knew anything was wrong. That's one reason why I usually feed grain that last month before lambing, so we can see who is "off". Alas, we didn't this year.
The rest of our purebred Katahdins and Dorper/Katahdin lambs followed with a few minor hurdles, but overall not too shabby.

 Second hurdle, this little Dorper twin was rejected by a first time mom, I sold him to somebody as a bottle bum. Everyone else, thankfully, did great. 

 Love love love these pretty little Dorper cross ewes, everybody has been asking about them but they were reserved with a quickness soon after they were lambed. They came in at 45# each at 6 weeks on forage alone.

A few of our other purebred Kat and crossbred lambs. We ended up with 17 total surviving lambs. 8 ram lambs, 9 ewe lambs, a nice number of both. 9 purebred Katahdins and 8 Dorper cross lambs. 

 This lucky 66 lb.Dorper cross twin ram lamb gets to stay intact as I couldn't get both testes through the cheerio to wether him. That's okay, I'll continue to evaluate him for breeding potential
We've only one wool sheep left, Lambchop. Sheared her by hand.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Breeding groups for 2015 lambs.

 Happy New Year from Little Country Acres!! 

I'm pretty stoked for the coming year, and the new direction the farm has taken in the last few years, from fiber flock to lamb meat sales. I couldn't fill my waiting list for lamb this year. I'm hoping for a higher lambing rate in April. I've also had a few contacts for people wanting breeding stock next year, but I want to make sure I'm producing very good stock before I hang out my shingle as a Katahdin breeder. I've got some good ewes, and a really good ram.    

 Yes, it's true. I sold my Shetlands. Now the focus is on breeding quality, registered Katahdins, a breed I've admired for years and finally invested in. I have fallen in love with my "little cows." We have our Fullblood Dorper ram as well for crossing, although I'll keep my eyes open for Dorper ewes.  Lambchop the cheviot and her mule daughter Bonnie are our only wool sheep left. They're "lifers", and will be living out their days here being bred to our hair rams until retirement. 

 We only retained one ewe lamb from last winter/springs' breedings, this is Moxie. She is by Meatloaf, my Dorper ram, and the dame is Black Noir, a Katahdin. That's Noir on Moxie's left. 

 Moxie and Jersey, my favorite Katahdin ewe. She's one of those borderline pesty girls. Jersey will be 8 years old next April.

  This is Pajamas on the left, a January 2013 homegrown twin Katahdin ewe.  

Breeding groups are as follows:
Meatloaf went in with Bonnie, Lambchop, Pajamas, Pandora, and Inky. 

My Katahdin ram Wild Card went in with Jersey, Pearl, Chamois, Blk. Noir, and Moxie. 

Happy breeding and hope your flocks are healthy and happy.    

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Sept. sheep pics.

 This is a recent picture of the spring Shetland ram lamb that I retained by Beetlejuice, out of Shamu. He's a twin, good bite and testes. Smooth polled. If the ewes don't sell, I'm going to breed him to my three remaining Shetland ewes for April lambs. 
 I've named him "McNugget".

 This is a Katahdin three year old that I really like, Chamois. 

 Meatloaf tipped the scales at 175 a few months ago and he's still gaining, just as I thought he would. He has been aggressivly walking the fenceline as the ewes are starting to cycle, so I doubt he'll put much weight on for the rest of the year.  
Meat sales have been fantastic this year! I have many repeat customers, and my own freezer is full of enough mutton to last us a year. 

We exposed the ewe flock to Meatloaf last June, so we might be having some November lambs. The Farmer's Almanac is calling for another bad winter, so no more winter lambing for us. We're aiming for some November lambs, anyone not bred will go in for April lambs.   

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Introducing "Wild Card", my new Katahdin ram.

 We have found ourselves a handsome new breeding ram for our Katahdins! This is Wild Card, a 2014 triplet from Red Barn Katahdins in Iowa. 73 lbs at 84 days, nice rapid growth for a lamb, especially a triplet. We've put him in with Jersey and Chamois for fall lambs, although he is only a 3 month old so he might be too young to breed yet. I also put Meatloaf in with the rest of the flock to see if we can't get any November lambs.