Sunday, December 28, 2008

The last two breeding groups

Today, the two groups that intermingled during the fence failure were finally put back into their respective breeding groups. The rams are busy doing what rams do, so I don't think the fence failure was so terrible detrimental after all! I'll cross my fingers and see what turns out during lambing season!!

Again, no pictures because I cannot get the blog picture upload to work.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

While two breeding groups have now been seperated, two others will be put together in the next day or so. Here's hoping that the mingling of these two breeding groups due to a fence failure did not result in any actual breeding. They were mingled for only a few hours, my husband (luckily) came home for lunch and caught the problem and seperated the rams from the ewes until I got home that evening.

I'm offically on the Scrapie Canada program now! Start date was marked as October 1 and I really haven 't had to change any of my record keeping. Now to get my premise ID, which is now required in Canada starting Januarly 1, 2009. Happy New Year!

We also sent of our lambs to visit "Uncle Bob" aka our local butcher. Although I will miss the lambs, I can say they are delicious!

I would have posted pictures in this entry, but for some odd reason the picture upload was not working. Oh, well, next time I'll post a few!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Fence Failure

Well, the breeding groups were moved and two days later we had a fence failure. Heavy winds did damage to a portable fence that we used to seperate a large pen into two. With the help of the rams, the groups intermingled and that was that. The rams were penned, the ewes moved to their own pen, the fence is now fixed and we wait.

I certainly hope there was no time for breeding, with the rams fighting each other over "their" girls, but there is no way to know until lambing season.

Rex and Indiana (above) are impatiently waiting to be put back into their breeding groups.
We wait 3 weeks and start over. Here's hoping .... even though I know one ewe was receptive to her ram as soon as we put them together. I see DNA testing in our future!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gearing up for breeding season 2008-2009 ...

The rams are becoming impatient! The ewes are becoming little tarts. If I can only hold them off one more week - just one!! Tomorrow I section off the large pen, making two secure breeding pens. I have four in total, should be a busy lambing season if all goes well. I'm excited to see the possibilities that will be produced with my two mature and two yearling rams. The rams I presented in my last post. Now, I present the breeding ewes: (with a few changes from the originial post!)

"Willie's" breeding line up:

Fibre Works Falerno (in the foreground)

Fibre Works Fiat

Fibre Works Easter

Fibre Works Highwood

Rex's breeding line up:

This girl is a Shetland/Finn/Gotland Mix
(a slight change in the breedeing groups!)

Milehaus Britta

Fibre Works ISP "Issy"

Indiana Jone's breeding line up:

Mtn. Niche Heidi

Milehaus Beatrix
(This gal was in Rex's group, but I felt the need to breed her with Indiana)

Nier Lakes 315405977 AI "Baker"

Isidor's Breeding line up:

Milehaus lamb

Fibre Works Fonteyn

Fibre Works Eureka
(slight change for this gal, she was with Indiana's group but for some reason I felt the need to more her to Isidor's group.)

With 3 changes in the breeding groups, it was a good thing I had one week until moving them!!
I wasn't going to breed any lamb ewes this year, but this girl and the Shetland/Finn/Gotland mix ewe are plenty large enough and I cannot wait to see what they produce.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Snow + freezing rain = winter!

Yes, that's right, winter is here to stay. This photo was taking out of my garden doors facing south. It was a beautiful site to wake up to! The sky was much pinker than the photo actually shows.

Oh, that I guess that means breeding season for the Shetlands too!! The Shetlands go into their breeding pens next weekend. Of course, I still have 4 larger, all wooden fence panels to make so I can section off another breeding pen. It's cold up in the Great White North, and we don't want to lamb too early. If all goes well, lambing will begin the very end of April or beginning of May. That's just a week later than this year, which worked well, but we were hit with one last freeze after 2/3rd of our lambing was done. Actually, it happened the day after our twins were born!!

Here are pictures of our Flock Sires for this year:

"Willie" Whistlestop 0531 AI (F1)
Whistlestop 0104 X Drum Ram 31903

Fibre Works Indiana Jones
Fibre Works Daisy X Fibre Works Fandango

WillowGarden Rex Harrison
SheltrgPines Safiye X SheltrgPines Jacob Two Too

Fibre Works Isidor (seen with Rex & Indiana)
Fibre Works Signy X Fibre Works Finis

Couldn't get Isidor, our white ram, to leave the rest of the boys, so here is in the back ground. They sure can get stubborn, can't they??

Thanks to advice from Linda Wendelboe at the Fibre Works Farm, I have created new feeders. They are movable low line fence feeders. Not difficult to make and they are working out well.
Here you see my ewe lambs enjoying their meal!! I'm not sure how I was lucky enough to have them line up in order, but I couldn't be happier that they cooperated!! ;0)

We are also on the hunt for some guard dogs. The coyotes are getting a little too brave this year!! We have had two already come in close and try to lure the dog away from the fence line. Poor Bear needs some help keeping the predators away.
Maybe he needs help keeping the ewes away! :0) Here Bear, a Pyrenees/Lab/Husky mix, is giving me that, "mom, I need your help here" look!! The ewes adore Bear and he is not always sure he can reciprocate that feeling.

Getting back to guard dogs, we are thinking Maremma's and I have some leads on some puppies. I just wasn't expecting to get them now! It's winter for heaven's sake, but I found them and the price is right. I just have to get them transported 1400 km to my farm. Since there are no breeders in the area, it may just be another thing we can do at our farm.

I'm looking forward to working with the remainder of my Shetland fleeces. I haven't tried spinning one yet and am itching to do so. Tis the season to spin!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Fall is full on!

Fall has hit and I fear winter isn't far! I haven't had a chance to post in a while, way too much going on.

The animals, all 29 of them, have been vaccinated, toes trimmed and are getting ready for a cold winter. Pictured here are some of the ewes waiting for their turn!

The fleeces on the Shetlands are dense, soft and going to be very yummy!! Fall chores are taking place, although the weather may not hold off long enough to get everything done. We're crossing our fingers.

Last Friday we had our veterinarian visit the farm for an inventory for the entire flock so that we can get onto the Scrapie Canada program. All went well, the application and necessary paperwork is in the mail and now we wait to hear from the program coordinator. The vet., I might add, fell in love with the Shetlands. They were little darlings and the vet. was impressed with the variety of colours.

The weekend was busy with us hauling the hay we needed to get us through the winter. As we've been feeding hay, first as a suppliment starting in July and then as the only means of food in August, due to a drought. I'm hoping next year is easier on us and that the pastures are rich and green.

Only one new pictures of our newest additions to our flock. This is Heidi and her twin ewes (they are a Finn/Gotland/Shetland mix). We brought Heidi and one of her daughters home to live at our farm. In addition to Heidi and her lamb, we have one beautiful black ram with UK genetics two white ewes, and a Shaela ewe. I'll be able to get pictures of the rest of the new additions this weekend and post them then.

Anhow, I think all we have left to do is make some low fence line feeders and find some shelters for those nasty cold wintery days we get up here in the Great White North.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Rain and now fall?!!?!

Wow! We finally got rain. It rained for days, which made most folks cranky but those of us with livestock were happy indeed! Unfortunately, the hot weather has left us. Actually, the warm weather has left too!!

Our landscaper finished all the gardens around the house before the rain and they are looking pretty without all the weeds. Too bad it's kinda late to plant flowers, next year! I'm looking forward to an array of colourful flowers instead of all the nasty weeds that took over the past two years.

The lovely lambs are growing like weeds! They are adorable. I am going to start halter training some of them in the next week. This outta be fun! Pictures to follow!

We had the most lovely sunset the other night. I just had to take pictures of it. So, I'll sign off with the loveliest sight I've seen in a long time.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Dry, dry, dry ...

We've barely have had rain since the lovely few May showers.

Then some on June 9th (two hours worth)
and after that June 27th (half a day worth).

Other than that, some rain showers and that is all. A total of 3/10ths of an inch since May!!

This is what some of our paddocks look like.

This is even with us watering them daily!! I'm afraid our Shetlands will be on hay by next week. There are a few areas of grass that we have Electronet fenced so that they can have as much fresh grass as possible.

On another note, I've decided that we will be breeding for two different fleece types. The beautiful intermediate fleece that everyone dearly loves AND the longer primitive fleece.

Welcome Fibre Works Fiat and Eureka to our farm!!

They both have a more primitive fleece. I want to keep to the breed standard of a soft handling wool, but keep breeding for the longer double coat that still has some crimp. Now to find a ram that fits the same qualities that these girls do. I've been talking to Kathy at Nier Lakes and she may have just what I'm looking for!

The lambs are growing like weeds.

Here's Windy Grange Apollo our White Yuglet/Ilget. He's our first born
lamb to our farm!

The new lambs wanting out of their Q pen. Monday babies, on Monday you can go play with the other lambs.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Rain Please!

It hasn't rained in three weeks and although it was supposed to rain (70% chance perception), it's mainly drizzled on and off (mostly off) for the day. At least it's not windy for a change. We are praying for rain. If we don't get it, we will not have enough pasture after the next 2 weeks (if that if it gets hot 32c again). I may be purchasing more hay then I originally expected. I'm praying for rain!

We have our 4 sheep from Ontario in quarantine along with three others. Two ewes with a more primitive fleece (double coated and long) but still remains in the breed standard. The other is a lamb ram which is just staying with us until I deliver him to his home in 100 Mile House later this summer. I was headed there then to look at a few other ewes to add to my flock.

Being a new Shetland breeder has it's ups and downs. Mostly ups I might add, but being new means not much exposure and so far we haven't sold any of our lambs, but we've had some inquiries. I am still hopeful!

It's weaning time and it's been a wee bit noisy. They lambs were mostly weaned by their moms, but being seperated has caused some stress. It's quieter today, so everyone is getting used to the seperation. I know the moms are more than pleased, they check in once and a while, but it's the lambs that are bleating the most!

Haven't had time for new pictures except these from at least 3 weeks ago.

This is Apollo, our first born lamb. He broke his left horn a month ago.

This is Aedan, our second born lamb. He's quite the looker
and is lighter moorit than what shows in this photo.

Last, but never least, our gelded Llama. He is skittish, but friendly.
He comes for oats, but will mainly stay away from us humans.
He is the best guard llama you could ask for. He even trains
the young llamas, and is doing an amazing job at it!!

I have to say, between our black lab and the llamas, we've yet to have any preditors come near to the fencing. The coyotes are close, but they stay far enough away. Good boys (and mom llama), keep up the good work!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

New ewe lambs coming from the East

Thanks to Bill at Willow Garden, I have four new ewe lambs to add to my flock! Beautiful colours & genetics which I'm sure will be a great addition and next step for this new shepherd.

A spotted gulmoget ewe.

A beautiful fawn Katmoget ewe.

A sweet white ewe.

HST, Yuglet/flecket ewe. She carries a moorit gene too!

Their arrive is going to be a week before I had actually planned them, so arrangements are being made so that I can pick them up after my visit back home (Western New York) with my daughter before she is deployed mid July.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

June happenings

It's been busy around the farm as of late. Lambs to look after, ewes that are endlessly eating. The rams are happily lazing around, enjoying the good days and just hiding away in their shelter during the rain storms.

The ever ending "to do" list is, just that, never ending. We have had another section of pasture fenced and planted to meet the demand of a growing flock of Shetlands. They are addicting!!

Two of my rams, Fibre Works Indiana Jones and
Fibre Works Isidor, enjoy clearing out some of our
overgrown woods.

I've been waiting since January for our Electranet fencing to arrive. In the meantime, I've been stringing up portable wire electic fencing. I am happy to say that they shipped the Electranet fence out yesterday, so we should see it in the next day or so!

This is our farms very first lamb,
Windy Grange Apollo, a white Ilget/slight Yulget.
He is absolutely beautiful!
He's got great confirmation, a fleece as soft as corn starch,
great tail and horns. He's definitely a keeper.

That's his mom, Fibre Works ISP (Issy), a black Flecket, in the background.

The strange weather, scattered showers with thunder/lightening storms, we've been having lately certainly puts a halt on outside work. No matter, I've been working on bringing in new ewes with new genetics into my flock. It takes a lot of research, but with the help of Dennis & Beth from Milehaus Farms, I'll have new ewes next month from Ontario. It seems there was some already coming at that time from Willow Gardens. Bill has been a huge help! We're looking at a few from Ewenique Farms and Nathalie has been so quick at answering questions and such. With three of us bringing in sheep the freight should be a little less. Lets cross our fingers on that since the cost of fuel has sky rocketed. Pictures of the new gals once my final decision has been made.

Well, time to do inside work so that the house is presentable to friends and family, and my husband!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

April Showers bring May flowers, but June brings ...

June brings long green grass for the sheep to graze upon. So far, all it going GREAT! I love my Shetlands and their lambs. I try to spend lots of time with them, so they are used to me being around which makes working with them so much easier. Highwood and Falerno love their scratches, and Issy always needs to join in! She hates missing anything that inquisitive ewe.

The lambs are getting used to me being around and love gathering around to nibble on a shoe or a finger. A few have found the love of scratches!! Even the rams come to the gate for a few scratches.

Here some of the lambs are enjoying my chair! They nibble on my backside until I get up so they can play with their toy!!

Selling them breaks my heart, but it must be done! I've posted all sale lambs on a new blog made especially for that purpose. You can find it here:

I've been waiting for a promised thunder storm, it's been disappointing because I've seen two flashes of lightening. Well, time for sleep, morning comes way too early!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

First seasons Lambs!!

9 lambs; 5 rams and 4 ewes. I originally had thought I would have bred for lighter coloured lambs with some having markings similar to the rams, but I ended up with a lot of black and brown lambs. I love them all and they each have their own unique qualities. The best part is they are all healthy and growing like weeds.

This is Windy Grange Arlo, one of the triplets. He has turned into a lovely dark brown ram.

This is his sister, Windy Grange Almira. She remained black with a bit of white on her head (black krunet?).

This is Windy Grange Arabica. She's a beautiful moorit.

This is Windy Grange Aedan. He is brown and white (moorit yuglet/flecket?).

This is Windy Grange Augustus. He also remained black, although you can see a small wisp of white on the top of his head.

He was the last to name because we wanted a fitting name for this survivor. He was one of the triplets, but mom rejected him a day and a half after his birth. But this boy is no bottle lamb!! We had Fibre Works Highwood adopt him. She wasn't sure but let him nurse immediately. It was a rocky 3 days, but after we let them out with the rest of the flock her maternal instincts raced in and she protected him from the other ewes.

This is Windy Grange Apollo. He's our first born and is growing like a weed!! He has four black spots on his upper torso and one on the end of each ear. He also has black around his left eye (not seen in this photo). (Yuglet/Ilget??)

The two black ewes are twins, Windy Grange Annika and Windy Grange Annya. They are jet black - I have seen no signs of white in their wool!! The moorit is Windy Grange Arabica.

Here we see Windy Grange Ainvar (front and back views). He is hard to name colour wise. His head and legs are snow white, except around his nose and mouth. On the back of his neck he has a fawn coloured spot and his body is the lightest fawn, almost white. He has a small brown spot near his two front knees. Any ideas of his colouring? Let me know.