Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Wait for Fall Continues...

The short break in the weather is over and we went back to HOT.  Saturday we had some rain and now we are cooled off and it is beautiful.  I love this fall, low humidity weather.  It is in the 80s during the day and down to 55 at night, which is a bit chilly for us.  We need more rain and am gearing up for October shearing.  I am going to shear Icelandic sheep and lambs and the shetland lambs.  Already have 4 done. 

 One of our icelandic lambs is pictured to the left.  The Icelandics are sheared in the fall and the spring.  The fall fleece is the best fleece.  We make the spring fleece into felting sheets.
 Duncan, our shetland ram is pictured to the right and his fleece will be sheared next spring.  He is in his breeding pen with his ewes.  We had to cut his horns because they were pushing into his face.  He is much happier and doing great with them removed.  We tried to keep as much as we could to keep him comfortable and  him still be handsome.

We have worked the Icelandic Sheep and removed the CIDR inserts.  We put the rams out as planned.  Did not see anyone in heat, so we are not sure if it worked or not.  The Icelandics are secretive and shy with their honey mooning, so we will not know if they worked until next spring.

The Trump is pictured above and really has a nice fleece this year.

Our herd of goats are gearing up for October kidding.  Blue kidded Sept. 18th with triplets.  The bucks are For Sale and the doe is reserved.  Blue is pictured to the right with her daughter AnnaLynn who is very pregnant.  She is sired by Buddy and is bred to Mr General.

The triplets pictured to the left are Blue's kids sired by Oldesouth Black Panther.  The bucks in the fore ground are for sale.

I think the two Boer does (Hestia & Sally) will kid soon as well,  my guess is the end of October, first part of November.  Sweet Caroline and  Blue's Daughter "AnnaLynn" are bagging up too.  Thundersnow is starting to bag up (that means they are getting milk in their udders).  Butter's daughter is just beginning to bag.  UDiamond looks pregnant, but not bagging yet.  This doe has been giving me heartburn for some time, waiting for kids and dying to see what her udder will look like.  UDiamond is a Diva and struts around like a rock star.  I keep asking her when she is going to have some kids and she just parades off like a queen...

Mr Paul has cut more hay and we have round baled this cutting for the cows, horses and pastured sheep for winter.  We will plant rye grass on these pastures for winter grazing.  We want to disc up a pasture and reseed with coastal and winter wheat.  As usual, the weather has not been in favor for winter pasture.  It is ether to wet or to dry.

We need to run electric and water to the new barn.  We will trench to the barn and put both water and power lines into the same trench.  With the days getting shorter, we will need lighting shortly.

Have been pricing and looking at different milking machines for the goats.  I hope to milk 10 to 15 goats this fall and winter.  We have not decided on which one yet, but will let everyone know once we freshen several does.  Milking the small goats by hand is very difficult.  I have been breeding for larger teats and have some who are easy to milk, but the first fresheners are still pretty small.  Ariel, my Nubian is a breeze to milk with her large teats.  She will be milked by hand.  She is due to freshen in November.  We will be doing more one day milk tests and still trying to figure out the DHI.  There are several ways of doing the DHI and it is confusing.

Enough for now...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Happy Labor Day...

I hope everone has had a wonderful Holiday Weekend. What spectacular weather we have had!  It really is to bad I have had to work Friday through Labor Day!  The weather has been in the 80's, humidity not to bad and it feels like fall.  My bucks are going CRAZY with this cool spell.  They are snorting, hollaring and generally being old Billy Goats!  Love is in the air... at Oldesouth Farm.

I have sent a young Nigerian doe home with a friend of mine here near Selma.  Her name is Oldesouth Blue Freckles and she is out of Oldesouth Christmas Eve, sired by Rosasharn MR General B *S.  She had been a problem child for some time with a few health problems which have worked themselves out.  She has the signature topline and wide rear The General puts on all his kids.  Freckles has bright blue eyes and with her red spotting on a white back ground makes her stand out in a crowd. She will be another one to watch for the future.  She is pictured to the left and below, standing natural without positioning.

These pictures were taken by Kerri Dutreil and emailed to me.  She is enjoying Freckles and has a couple other goats from Oldesouth, Reba & Sequoia who are rotten girls.  We are working on a competive show string for 2011 and this young doe may be one of the contenders.

I am still working out the details on bringing two new young sires into our Nigerian Herd.  I can not say who they are until everything is finalized and they arrive at the farm.  I really need a couple of nice bucks to breed to my General daughters and then line breed from there.  Both new bucks will have to have MEGA milk in their pedigrees and Conformation.  Both bucks are stared and I love ARMCH moms.  I hope to have an entire herd of ARMCH goats in the future.  That is our goal... 

What is an ARMCH?  This is actually two awards given to both bucks and does who earn their conformation Championship and Advanced Registry Program requirements (MILK).  These does participate in DHIR (Dairy Herd Improvement Registry), which is a lactation usually of 305 days.  This is with the American Goat Society.  A doe can earn both her AR and a star title *D.  The star means the doe has met the minimum requirements with milk or butterfat during any 305 day or less lactation.  It is a measure of both milk production and conformational excellence.  Bucks earn the AR titles through their daughters and inherit their stars from their moms.  Of course the conformation MCH is earned by the buck.

We have already put the Cheviots into their breeding pen with a young ram from Washington State.  His name is Victor and he is tiny.  Even smaller then Mini Long Tail.  He came from the Washington State Herd of tiny Mini Cheviots.  I bought two rams last year and one did not survive.  Victor did and he is ready for the girls.  We will leave him with the 7 ewes.  The ewes, 4 new ones from Missouri, our 2 original ewes from Mississippi and Mini Long tail from Washington State.  We will switch out rams the third week of October with Goober.  He is back up and will take care of anyone missed by Victor.  We are working to refine the Cheviots a bit and Victor is the ram man to do it.

We have gathered the Icelandics and inserted Vaginal CIDR Sheep Inserts.  They are progesterone inserts, kind of like tampons that stay in the sheep for 5 days to bring them into heat sooner.  This is a new product, from New Zealand, for bringing sheep into estrus out of season.  We want our Icelandics to lamb about a month sooner then usual.  If we can get the Icelandics to lamb in Febuary in the south, they will be weaned by May and shipped to their new farms before the heat and parasites hit.  Moms can be milked until June & dried up to ready themselves for the stress of summer, especally if we have a summer like this year.  The picture to the left is the bag of inserts.  The picture to the right is the doo hickie to insert them with.  You have to have both or I am not sure how one would get them in.  It was quick and easy.  We inserted 10 CIDR in 10 ewes yesterday evening and will remove them 5 days later, which is Saturday, then we will put the first ram with the group.  We are going to use Snow Man.  He is a beautiful huge, white ram, just turned 2 years.  His snow white fleece is so soft and thick.  I will be shearing him the beginning of October.  He carries spots and we are hoping for some spotted sheep.  Mid October we will switch out with The Trump and Clean up ram will be Saxon.  We pull the rams the end of December. This is an experiment and do not know if it will work or mess up the ewes and get no lambs.  We will keep everyone posted.  It would be nice to get all 10 ewes to lamb within a few days of each other as well.  We have 3 Icelandic ewes who are yearlings and will be bred for the first time this fall.  They will not be induced.  The CIDR is for ewes who have lambed in the past, not for virgin ewes.

I will be going to TN to pick up another Shetland ram.  I need to get some new and better pictures of the Shetland herd.  They are nicer then the current pictures.  The new ram will be white to add more genetics and give folks a choice to have a ram and ewe lamb who are not related.  I do not have any white Shetlands, so this will add some variety.

I am off today writting this blog and of course the heat is back and we are hot, hot, hot again.  But it will not be long before cooler weather will arrive.

We have made reservations for Dr Doug Halbrook to make his annual trip to the farm to draw blood on everyone (goats) for CAE.  We may do Cl this year because we did Johne's last year, but that is yet to be determined.  We want to test some sheep for OPP as well.  I have tested some of the Shetlands and they were negative and will test the Cheviots this year.  We will have everyone tested eventually and then will close the herd and only test incoming new rams.  I do not think anyone in Alabama tests their sheep, but we are upscale and want folks to know our herds are clean.

The Cheviots are mini baby faced little sheep.  Their wool is medium and they are sheared once a year.  The little baby ram to the left is Madeline's ram lamb and he is For Sale on the Sheep page.   He has grown into a really nice ram.

The picture below are the three lambs we had this year.  Two were twin ewes out of Sunshine and the ram lamb.  They are playing on an old hay bale.  They are really cute lambs.

We are working out a schedule for some fall Goat Shows and have sanctioned the Nigerian Dwarf Goats at the National Alabama Fair in Montgomery this year.  They had not been sanctioned in the past and now they are.  We hope to make this a major deep south show for the Nigerians in the future.

Enough for now...