Viola is one of our first sheep, which means she is about nine years old now. Viola is a Jacob. We got her from Cold Valley Farm, originally. She has been a very good producer for us, both of wool and lambs. I only want to sell her because she had a bad case of poison parsnip on her head last year, and I would like to sell her to a farm that does not have a lot of poison parsnip. Sadly, we really have a lot of that terrible weed!
Right now, Viola has a ram lamb that is four days old, the product of Viola and a Ram who was half Jacob, Half Corriedale. The ram was black and had four horns and very thick, black wool. This little ram will very likely have big horns and very thick, long, soft wool.
She has a sweet temperament and is more approachable than most Jacobs I have known. Her offspring have inherited that temperament. Her two grown ram lambs let me pet their noses through the fence sometimes.
Her wool is just lovely.
Asking $250 for the pair. Located in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
We’ve had some weather here lately. Worried about the sheep last week, especially the ram lambs, who had no shelter, I tried to get them to go into the barn. But they would not go! I put treats in. I tried everything. So, that was frustrating.
So I drove the truck up the hill and go some straw bales from Gary, (“You think they might nibble on it?” he asked. “They might,” I said. “Yep. They might nibble on it some,” he said.) I trudged out into the ram pasture with my straw bales and my tarps (they don’t co-ed anymore, not after last year’s big surprises!) and I set up a quick shelter for our little rams, out of tarps and straw bales. It was already sub-zero when I did it, so the quality left something to be desired. But, it was good enough. It worked! Everyone survived the 2-3 days of -30 degrees. Huzzah!
(Incidentally, the temperature went up fifty degrees on Friday, and it was still below freezing! I thought that was funny.)
Afterwards, the shelter I had built looked pretty shabby. The sheep had started to eat the straw supports in the center of the lean-to. I climbed in and adjusted things. I added some ropes and tie downs. Yesterday, though, I deemed it unsuitable and decided that today I would dismantle it.
a snow storm.
I went out to see the sheep today. Many of them had not bothered to take shelter from the snowstorm, as was evident by their snowy fleeces.
I counted five dumb little rams, which made my heart pound quickly, as I’m supposed to have nine dumb little rams.
I thought perhaps the ram shelter had collapsed on some of them.
I ran (sort of, as best I could) down to the shelter that had been looking iffy, and sure enough, it was collapsed. Were the missing sheep inside, trapped?
I could see, through a little window in the shelter, something move. I couldn’t make out what. Kind of looked like a horn, though.
I dug and dug and pulled tarp away. It was covered with three inches of ice and a foot of snow on top of that. When I finally got it dug out- and cut away some ropes that were supposed to hold things up, but ended up getting in the way- I pulled the tarp back and discovered four healthy, annoyed little ram lambs.
That little wood wall on the left, which was supposed to make a good wind block, also served to completely trap the four little sheep inside when the roof partially collapsed. But they did have a “window,” a.k.a. a hole in the wall- so suffocation was never a danger. Look in the upper right part of the photo, and you can see the tarp caving in because it’s so full of snow. It was a soft cave-in. I just had ropes and straw bales holding things up. Part of the problem, I think, was that those silly lambs were munching on the supports (which were made of straw)(Gary warned me).
I know. I should have read The Three Little Pigs. Never make houses out of straw, right? But my options were limited. The ground was frozen.
I fixed it all up so this won’t happen again. Tomorrow, a different adventure will come, I’m sure.
In this shepherding demonstration, I utilize voice command to teach lambs how to walk through a gate by telling them to “Go through the doors,” or “use the gate, Lambicans,” in a highly exasperated tone. When their performance is not satisfactory, I let them know by saying, “Seriously? You don’t see that?” because everyone knows that four day old lambs understand sarcasm, and respond well to critique. You can see that the end result is highly satisfactory. I let the lambs know they have done well by muttering “dorks” under my breath. This lets them know who’s boss!
Right after I recorded this, and shut the gate, I turned around and noticed that Yoshimi and her new lamb, Spock, were still on the wrong side fo the gate.
We have had so many lambs! Nine lambs, now, alive and well, though some of their mothers seem unfit and insane.
This is Corvette. Corvette always jumps the fence, and I had decided to never breed her, because as cute as it is to see a sheep gracefully hop a fence, like a dream sheep above your head in bed, it’s a good thing to be able to control your flock. I didn’t want any future sheep to inherit her athletic abilities and tendency to wander.
But, mysteriously, she had a lamb! Since having the lamb, a ram, she has rammed him, flipped him, and then jumped the fence and run away and left him. But, I didn’t give up. I caught her and brought her back and gave her a little more space and a little better fencing. This morning, after a wicked thunder storm, she let him nurse without me even tying her to a fence post! Progress.
Her lamb is a jumper, too. He just jumps around her in circles.
This poor ewe (Yoko) is huge preggers and has something going on with her muscles so she can’t stand up. I’m supposed to keep her comfortable until she’s ready to give birth, and then (according to the vet) “wash your hands well, take four deep breaths, reach your hand in and pull the lambs out.” Easy! I’ll let you all know how that turns out.
This morning, after our big rain, Yoko was lying in some real soggy hay. So, I half dragged/ half walked Yoko to higher ground (she’s so heavy), wiped her off with baby wipes and put her on a pile of hay and an old comforter, with a sun umbrella and some snacks (lawn clippings from the first mow.) Yoko seems comfortable. The whole time I was moving her, I had this song “She’s so Heavy,” going thru my head. John Lennon wrote it about Yoko Ono when she was pregnant.
There is one bottle lamb. Z named her “Tulipia.” (Which actually sounds like a fish to me. Maybe she will like swimming?)
Going out to feed the bottle lamb has made me go outside during every time of day. Last night, I met a little frog:
Early this morning, I saw our chickens have escaped their fencing:
And now for some pictures of what are probably terribly inbred lambs:
He’s really adorable, I swear. You just can’t see him because he’s black!
Maybe we should hire out our castrated rams as studs.
That little unexpected lamb died, after he caught a chill. Zanimal and I spent about eight hours trying to warm him up the next day, but he died, anyway. We were all very sad about it.
If only the weather weren’t so cold, but what can you do? We weren’t expecting a lamb at all.
And then we got some cute little chicks!
Being newly sensitive to the dangers of young animals getting cold, I noticed right away when this little guy was shivering, and a stuck him in the oven for a bit! Then I put him in my pocket to carry him back out to the farm. Now, he’s doing fine.
We didn’t breed the sheep this year, because we have enough sheep! We did get two lambs and an adult ewe from a friend last fall. So, that made twenty-five. “When are you lambing?” everyone in the sheep community kept asking.
“We aren’t lambing this year,” I told everyone.
Today I noticed a new little wooly one. Where the heck did that come from?
Some observations led me to the mother- one of last fall’s lambs that we got from a friend. She was only about five months old when we got her, but the only explanation is that she was pregnant upon arrival. Either that, or virgin birth. We should probably name him Baby Jesus.
Incidentally, this has nothing to do with that, but I’m writing this outside on my tablet in the heat with these sheep, waiting for the vet to come. He is an hour and twenty minutes late! It’s hot. They were penned up in the sun, but I thought it was too hot and I leashed them and put them under a tree with me. They are panting, nonstop. One just wiped her nose on my leg. We have to get their health clearance papers to take them to the fair.
Fingers getting too sweaty to write now…. come, soon, please, Mr. Vet!