Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lily is on the mend

Lily seems to be doing fine now. The cow milk/buttermilk mixture seems to be doing the trick. I have to wonder how they came up with such a combination. But glad they are there doing their research for my benefit!

Last week we had four new lambs. One ewe had twins, one ewe and our first ram of the season,and Honey had a single ewe and 531T had a single ewe lamb. So that makes 9 so far. 90% survival rate. Not as good as I would like it. We are always sad to lose an animal.

Bad storm last night. All the animals in the sheep manger. The cows stay out in the weather but I can't stand the idea of the little lambs being exposed to the elements. Today was worse for me though. It seems that it can be 29 degrees and nice and then 40 degrees and windy and you just freeze! Well actually it was 65 yesterday and bad storms came through. Not a good day. And now it is windy! Blows right through you. Glad though it isn't wind chill of 30 below like being reported up north. Would not leave the house!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Lily is sick

Lily has scours. (diarrhea) This kills 46% of the little lambs lost. From what I have learned, it happens in bottle raised animals quite often. Even those raised by experts. I tried to find out on the internet how to combat this problem. Many ideas. So I emailed the experts at my local agri-school. They told me that they get scours in their orphaned animals quite often and how to handle it. So Lily is off the lamb milk replacement and is on a formula of whole cows milk with buttermilk and evaporated milk mixed in it. I think the buttermilk has the good bacteria that will balance her system. They said in a couple of days she should be doing better. Now she is very strong and active. She runs with her sisters and plays "king of the mountain". So I am not too worried. I think I have caught this in time.
I am not a full time farmer. I have a day job. Sort of. I am an Architect and have my own firm. Well, my two partners and I. My time is very flexible. But having to be home every 4-6 hours is even rough on me sometimes. It will get easier as Lily gets older and then she will be wiened at 8 weeks. About the time I get my new great pyrenese puppies! They will be wiened too but will still need to be watched with the lambs and sheep and chickens for a bit. Animals are very time consuming but I do enjoy them all.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lily and her family

In researching how to handle a triplet which has been rejected by its mother, I was told to keep the lamb with its "ewe herd" so that she could learn to be a sheep. She must learn when to eat, where and what to eat, when to rest and when to come in to the barn for the night. Lily's mom has not totally abandoned her. When she cries her mother comes to get her and keeps her with her sisters.
Lily doesn't try to nurse from her mother any more.
 I feed her and then she goes on her way.
But they are a great family group.

Kids at the farm

My family came to spend the weekend with me and see the new lambs. And of course they were excited to be able to feed Lily.

My nieces feeding Lily

My nephew just loved the lamb and as you can see Lily loved him right back.

After Lily was through eating she went to join her "ewe herd."

Monday, January 14, 2013


Norbert reminds me of the story "Ferdinand the Bull". We have been able to pet Norbert since he was born. "Big Momma", Norberts mother, lost him in the woods. John had to carry him out at two days old and Norbert peed on him. Our introduction to Norbert!

It is actually very dangerous to make a bull a pet and John has had to enforce the personal space requirements on him a couple of times. Norbert is very easy and calm. We can still pet him but are very careful about not encouraging him to come to us. The cows came up to us as we were trying to fix the tractor. (another story) And Norbert came up to see, too. I pet him and grabbed his ears. He loves the top of his head to be scratched. He weighs about 2000 pounds now. He is a very good bull.

Lambs are doing fine

Well, the triplets are a week old now. I let them all out of the birthing jug three days ago to see how mother ewe would take care of Lily. When Lily cries the ewe comes for her. That is what I needed her to do. I can feed the lamb but the ewe needs to teach her to be a sheep.

Bette with her mother,
Bebe is the dark one in foreground
and Lily is the white lamb.
My husband and I were watching them yesterday evening and the little ones are following Bella around. Bella is the oldest lamb and a week makes such a difference in their attitude and abilities. We have a small pile of hay, not more than two feet tall, and Bella likes to play "king of the mountain". The little ones have been trying to get to the top and Bebe did yesterday. She is the biggest triplet. Lily is now chasing after them and playing. Certainly, Lily is a little more independent and follows Bella more than the others.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Lambs

We have new lambs on the farm. All of our original herd are due any time. Ewe 501T had twins on 31 Dec. I lost one due to the cold. I think she got seperated from her mom under the "Jug" fencing. I have fixed that problem. It seems I am always chasing problems. I inflict my ignorance on these poor animals all the time. I am learning but not always fast enough. Well, anyway, we named the little ewe "Bella". And she is doing fine.
This past monday morning our ewe 446s had triplets!!! I saw her heading out of the night area with two little lambs, Bette and Bebe, anad went to check on her. In the manger was a little white ball. I thought well, lost another. But no! she was alive! I picked her up and then picked up Bebe and got momma ewe back into the manger and closed the gate. I got the lamb first milk, clostrum, and fed "Lily". Got her going then went into town for a baby bottle. The lambing bottle is really too big. I now have a feeding schedule of every four hours for the next six weeks. But it is very exciting to have finally saved an animal instead of always loosing them. And Lily is very sweet as so are her sisters.
Went out yesterday and could not get the mother ewe on her feet. We took her to the vet. Now, our local vet is very good with cows. He sees them all the time. But we don't have many sheep in this part of the country. He said he thought it was a calcium imbalance. He gave her a Hydro-calcium drip. By the time we unloaded her back at the farm, she was on her feet again. I called the vet to let him know his educated guess was right. Knowledge for next time. Everyone doing fine now.
We have three more ewes due any minute. Don't know if I can handle any more excitement.

Oh, I want to thank my daughter and son-in-law for helping me build the jugs, two of them. I don't know what I would do without them to seperate all the new little lambs from the larger herd.