Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring is in full swing!

Spring is here and we love it.  The weather cool, dry and the grass is growing in the pastures.  We have one more Cheviot to lamb, two Shetlands and seven Icelandics.  It is so nice, we have been letting them lamb on pasture and putting them up overnight to worm mom, ear tag and give BoSe injections.  Then we let them go and everyone is doing great.  The new grass is rich and moms producing plenty of milk for the lambs.  They are all fat and sassy.

The photo to the left is Havvah, an Icelandic ewe.  She had her third set of triplets this year.  Look at her udder.  This is why the Icelandic is used for milk and why thier lambs are so nice and fat.  Some dairy's are using the Icelandic as well and crossing them with other Sheep Dairy Breeds.
 The photo below is Boing and her two ram lambs.  She is a good milker as well and one can see how large the white ram lamb is.  Two very nice rams and both are For Sale on our web site at:

 We went to the Elmore Sheep and Goat Expo March 19th.  We took Boing and her two lambs (above) and Babette with her triplet Fairlea Juan Louie kids.  She is a lovely doe and we will be entering her on DHIR shortly.
The photo to the right is an exhibit with a Jersey Cow and her friend who takes Daisy around to show kids and other folks where milk comes from and does a milking deminstration.  Daisy is a lovely cow and seemed to enjoy the attention of the crowd.

 The grass is green and growing and the ewes with their lambs are thriving...
Boing's Son, a spotted Icelandic ram.

 Valarie's twin ewe lambs, one beautiful spotted ewe and a gray, maybe Gray Mouflon.  The Gray Mouflon is very rare.  Snow man is the sire to this years group of lambs.
Another photo of the future Cover Girl.

I do enjoy the lambs of spring.  This year we have a lot of color and I love the white Icelandic lambs.  Thier fleece is so soft an wonderful.

Enough for now...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring brings on the lambs...

Oh, I do love baby lambs.  They are beyond cute and so special.  Ewes are great moms as well.  We let our ewes lamb on pasture then pick up the lambs and mom follows to a pen for worming and ear tagging before mom and lambs are returned to pasture.  The weather has be wonderful and the green grass is growing, making for rich milk for the babies.

The photo to the left is Sunshine babysitting the group of lambs.  Two are hers.  Moms will look out for each others lambs and all the lambs play together.

Group of lovely Mini Cheviot Lambs.

These ewe lambs are out of Spot.  She is a Mini Cheviot ewe and she had these beautiful twins.

One of the sisters have found lunch and is happy to report all is good...

Mini Long Tail and her son sired by Victor.  Her ram lamb is spectacular and he is a future herd sire.

He knows he is special.  We may just call him King, because he looks and acts like one.  Mini Long tail is a great mom with plenty of milk, so this little man is growing beautifully.

One more photo of our future king...

Our first Icelandic ram lamb is out of Boing, sired by Snow Man.  Snow man carries spots, so this little fellow has spots and looks like a masked bandit.

Brother is white and both ram lambs are very nice, with nice horn buds.  We will see how they grow out.

Our last ram lamb is a Shetland.  He is pictured to the right.  His mom is a first timer and rather small ewe.  I found her in the field with this head sticking out her behind.  He is a big boy with a large head.  I assisted his birth and saw he was still alive.  Hang in there little fella I told him.  He was to large to bring both legs out, so I was able to get one and pull on his neck wool and leg.  Suddenly he slid out to say Hi.  He was exhausted, a rough day hanging out of mom's behind.  But it was over and with some stimulation, he came around to be quite a handsome young man.  Mom is recovering as well and received some antibiotics for several days due to my hand up her behind.  Bless her heart...  Anyway, a word of caution to anyone helping to birth lambs.  Never pull on their head.  Pulling on their head will snap their neck like a tooth pick.  Ask me how I know this...  Yeah, so a word of caution, do not pull on a lamb's head.  One can pull on the wool of the shoulders or manipulate a leg and pull on that.  Now in goats, you can pull the head with in reason.  I try to avoid head pulling period after snapping a lamb's neck once.  I could hear it snap too.  A hard lesson to learn.  It was an ewe lamb & she was alive, until I came along, Icelandic.  I still kick myself when I think about it, but did not know until later, when I sat through a 2 hour video on lambing, that you do not pull on the head.  SO, DO NOT PULL ON A Lamb's HEAD!!

The Mini Cheviots are the only breed we need to dock tails.  Their tails are quit long and my original breeding stock from Smokey Valley did not have their tails docked.  I left the tails on and most of the time it does not cause problems.  But in the south, we get fly strike, which is where flys lay eggs and maggots will eat flesh.  The long tail can cause this due to feces and urine getting in the tail.  To prevent this, we dock the tail.  The two Cheviots who do have long tails are monitored all summer closely and we shear them in May to keep everything short enough to prevent fly strike.  I usually put a bit of fly spray on the tails when we work the sheep over the summer.  So far, so good. 

We band the young lamb's tails and they fall off in a week or two.  The Icelandics and Shetlands are shortailed sheep and we do not band their tails.  The Shetlands have a bit longer tail then the Icelandics, but one leaves them alone.  The Shetland registry will not register a lamb who has had its tail docked.

Enough for now, the time change has me all messed up and sooo tired.  More later...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

New Calves...

I like cows and all, but they are personally to large for me to handle, in comparison to a goats or sheep.  When a bull weighes 1800 pounds, what the hell do you do with him if he needs to be stiched up or something, or has a snotty nose... Yeah... 

We are looking into a recent USDA program to loan money for a cattle working facility with very low interest rate over 4 years.  Then can get a pro out here to build something to keep me from being killed and doing the Vet work on the cows and bull.  I will look into a gate to divert and put the sheep shoot as well.  Alright!  Like cows, just know they can kill you without even meaning to... 

 These are two of the new heifer calves, telling each other secrets...
 Christy with her new born calf, need followers to offer names for the new heifers.  What shall we name them.  They will be retained for breeding stock.  Email us some names at, will go to my phone.
 They are half sisters, the two were born a few days apart.  It is really cool to see how the herd protects the young and everyone cares for the calves...
Even big Daddy, Brutus, looks out for his calves.  His expression says it all, "Got a Problem?"

He is a Beef master bull from Charlie Dunkin's Herd.  This bull's daddy is a high dollar bull.  Brutus is not perfect, but we are happy with him and he throws the polled gene, so I do not have to dehorn.  HIs calves have been nice and small as well.  Beyonce, our half Angus heifer should be able to calve easy by this big boy. Beyonce is beautiful and reminded me of Beyonce the singer...  Hate dehorning cattle, a barbaric and bloody mess.  Did it as a kid riding with an old Veterinarin who dehorned Dairy Cattle.  We would be covered with blood by the end of the day.  Breed polled cattle is my sugession!

Have more new lambs and will be taking pictures shortly to let everyone know what was born and what is for sale...  All our Cheviots are sired by Victor,  a Smokey Valley, tiny ram.  We will be retaining a ram lamb and a few ewe lambs by him, but he was bred to 9 ewes, so should have several to sell.  This is a tiny line of Cheviots, sought after for the type, stocky, fine boned with a nice fleece.  Stay tuned for more info.

We sent 3 ram lambs to be processed, 2 shetland and 1 icelandic.  The Shetlands are as tasty as the Icelandic, just not as large.  Shetland can take the heat better then the Icelandics, may be another option for folks who want mild flavored lamb and know they will live to be processed.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spring wants to come...

The beautiful weather we have had for the last couple of weeks is a welcomed change from the unseasonably cold weather.  It has been up to 70s during the day and 40s at night.  Hopefully the nice weather will continue for a while.  Oldesouth Amber Blue and her son by Mr General are enjoying the pleasant weather...

Below is a photo of some Daffodils my neighbors had at their mail box.

Below are photos of UDiamond and her first freshening udder.  We have decided to name her two sons Oldesouth Cognac Diamond and Oldesouth Marquise Diamond.  UDiamond's first test she gave 3.3 pounds of milk.  She was a bit under the weather due to some digestive upsets.  We think she will easily give 4 pound her next test.  We will see.  She is a dream to milk and her udder is buttery soft and milks down like a glove.

We conducted our DHIR test this past weekend with a Verification Test.  A Verification test is where a certified DHIR technician comes to weigh and sample the individual does.  This individual also measures and records the heights of the does to make sure they are with in the ADGA standard.  There is a weighed premilk out and two more milkings which are weighed and sampled 12 hours apart, over a 24 hour period.  It makes for a long day.  Then the samples and paperwork is sent off to the lab and usually by the end of the week the results are emailed.

This service keeps track of the doe's lactation, recording weights, milk fat, protein and somatic cell count.  The somatic cell count is a measure of udder health.  My Nubian Ariel came back with a very high Somatic Cell Count (SCC) on her first test.  She showed no signs of mastitis, except she had backed off on production.  We treated her for mastitis and are awaiting this test to come back and see where she is.  Her production is back up and all seems well.

The SCC is a good way of catching sub clinical mastitis before it turns into full blown nasty mastitis.

The DHIR reports are really cool.  They also have projected production, which lets you know after a couple of tests, if your doe is on track or needs to be culled.  The doe can earn her milking star and SG (superior genetic) award if she meets minimum standards for the star and is in the upper 15% for the SG.  With the ADGA the doe can earn her star on production (amount of milk), milk fat, and or protein.  AGS the doe can earn her star on production or milk fat, but must make a certain % milk fat.

Why bother with all this you ask?  These are dairy goats and when one says this goat milks well, what does that mean?  Well, as to how much exactly and over how long?  The DHIR answers all those questions and is a great tool in measuring where your herd is and where one needs to improve.  Yes it is a lot of work, but we are dedicated to improving the breed and make a difference.  Getting on DHIR is confusing and complicated.  I think I will write an E Book on the subject and offer it to others who are interested in getting their herds on test.  It does not need to be so complicated and it is difficult to get help.  Let me ruminate on it for awhile...

What do we do with all that milk?  We drink it and our family enjoys fresh Formage Chevre cheese, Brie, Camembert and others.  We also make a lot of our signature "Blue's Goat Milk Soap and Lotion" which is sold seasonally in the fall and winter.  We will have some for May this year as well and it is sold locally at Mark's Mart in Selma and Dallas County Seafood and Produce.  We have been asked to expand our sales, but we do not have the time to make more.  We have all the sales we can handle.  We make it in between the farm and our full time employment.

We will be at the Goat and Sheep Expo March 19 in Wetumpka again this year.  I have whipped up some Sheep Milk Soap to sell.  So, come by and check it out.  We will bringing some sheep and of course baby goats to sell as well.

Spring is near when the first lambs begin to arrive...

The first lamb is a Mini Cheviot ram lamb out of 54 Tina.  These lambs are all sired by Victor, a Smokey Valley Ram from Washington state.  He is very tiny and we are pleased with the nice lamb.

Mom thinks enough is enough and leaves quickly to enjoy the sunshine and the new grass with her son.

Below are photos of Mr Paul on his tractor reworking some cattle areas.  He put down some cloth and gravel to get his steers out of the mud.  His helper is Daniel, who enjoys the farm and driving the Mule.

With the warmer weather, it is time to get farm chores done and do repairs, etc, before the hot weather sets it.

Below is a picture of  Oldesouth Blue Amber with her blue eyed son.  He is for sale.  Kids love their moms and goats are very personable.