Friday, September 18, 2009

Where have we been...?

Wow, it has been over a month since our last post. What on earth have we been doing?? Ok, you asked... The pictures above are of an AI Clinic we attended the end of August. We learned to Artificially Inseminate Goats. Yea... Now we are ready to get rid of the bucks. It was a great class and Dr. Maria Leite-Browning, DVM, MS, Animal Extension Scientist at Alabama A & M University was our instructor. I highly recommend attending a class by Dr. Browning. She is a great lady and a wealth of information.

It was an excellent class with the hosts being Richard Ramsey and his wife at Pacsirta Farms in Gadsden, Alabama. We also enjoyed a wonderful meal of Goat of course, prepared by Mrs. Ramsey. I feel bad to not remember her name and apologize. It was a great day and I feel ready to begin AI in both my goats and sheep. The sheep are done a bit differently and hope to try an ewe or two next fall, maybe this fall.

I think it was the next weekend we traveled to Georgia to pick up some Icelandic Sheep. We brought back 4 spectacular sheep. The young ram of Sally's has been placed with a young Shepard here in Alabama to improve his herd. Sally's ram lamb Junior is spectacular, but I did not get a chance to take a picture of him.

The pictures above are of Blueberry (gray ewe) and Phantom (black ram), both Icelandics. The sheep were in great shape and beautiful. They are out of isolation now and with the main herd of ewes. We hope Phantom will breed a few ewes early.

The lovely white ewe to the right is Sally. She is one of the most beautiful Icelandic ewes I have seen. She is huge, long, has a fleece to die for, perfect horns and a quiet personality. She is a treasure and we are thrilled to have her. Her son was spectacular as well and will keep all her daughters.

Time has flown by so quickly, I am not sure what month it is... We enjoyed a visit by my sister Patty and boyfriend, Roger, from Texas and Mom came up from Florida. We finally got Flash, a wether goat to size and health. Every time he was getting close to butcher day, he would get the sniffles, or like last time, get enterotoxemia, and have to be treated. After treating, it took a period of time for the drugs to clear from his system. Well, finally the day came, healthy, fat, cleaned out wether. My friend Mr. Paul took him to the processor and picked him up in the little packages. We enjoyed him for labor day and my Mom took a bunch of him back to Florida with her to enjoy.

We will be taking an Icelandic ram lamb to the processor shortly. We are looking forward to this little guy, we have named Chops. His horns are a bit close to his head, but nicely built and a butt like a pig. We will shear his lovely lamb fleece first and then process him. The processor does not like the fleece to be more then a couple of inches when processed because it is hard to keep the wool off the meat. (Chops is pictured to the right).

Icelandic lamb is the best tasting lamb on the planet and we really enjoy the mild flavored meat. We usually process into chops, steaks and hamburger.

We are scheduling our Shearing and Veterinary visit to the farm in October. This year we are blood testing all the goats again to make sure everyone is free of CAE, and Johnes. I am not sure if we will test for CL and Brucellosis. We have never had an abscess and my Vet says the Brucellosis test is a waste of money, since Alabama is a Brucellosis free state. I will research this and decide by the time I send off the blood. We have our testing done by Washington State University directly, rather then send it to Auburn for them to send it to Washington State. I plan on selecting a few sheep to test as well for OPP. I had a few tested negative this spring and will test another 4 or 5 at random to make sure the flock is negative.

We still have one more hay crop to harvest and winter grazing to plant. The weather has been horrible with constant rain almost daily. We did get the mud hole fixed in front of our entrance to the goat area. We filled it in, laid down geotextil material to hold the gravel and gravel on top of that. It has worked out beautifully, even with all the rain we have had. We can park out of the mud and unload feed with out getting stuck in a lake.

The cattle have done well and are enjoying all the grass. I wormed them with a topical wormer Eprinex, which is a pour-on. I squirted onto their backs while they ate some range pellets. It is dosed by weight and can be used on pregnant cows and calves. The steer calf is doing well in spite of my neutering. He is big and shiny and growing very well. We hope to process him next spring or early summer.

Enough for now...