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Archive for March, 2010

This is Dennis. That is our hay ring. It is supposed to be by the treeline in the very back of the photo. There is a very narrow gate he had to pass through.

And what was all this effort for? Dennis wanted his own portable body scratcher….

Big thanks to my pre-vet buddy, Jake Bazooka! He loaned me the photos for my blog.

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Just a quick update for tonight.

This morning Muppet, our Finn ewe (sheep), had a beautiful lamb. Very pretty coloring and I am excited to get pictures posted. Also, our second Black Mountain Welsh ewe, Lucy, FINALLY gave birth this evening. We are very lucky to have caught this event because otherwise it most likely would have cost three lives.

Lucy’s first lamb was huge and, we think, died earlier today (though the ewe gave no signs and even ate dinner with enthusiasm!). Because of this the first lamb had not been positioned properly in the birth canal and Bossman had to help Lucy. If we had not been there we most likely would have lost Lucy and her second lamb! Once the first one was out we helped birth the second lamb. We quickly cleared the nose and mouth and within minutes the lamb was trying to get up to nurse.

Both mothers are doing well and should not have any complications (*knock on wood!*). It is sad to lose the one lamb but there was probably nothing we could have done to prevent this and thankfully we were able to save Lucy and her second lamb.

More soon, hopefully including pictures!

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Pink piglets look even pinker under the heatlamp light.

Andy, our Yorkshire sow, gave birth to 11 beautiful piglets. Andy has been off her feed (unwilling to eat) since yesterday morning which did cause us to worry some. Sometimes refusing to eat more than one meal means there is a problem with the piglets. Thankfully that was not the case! I checked on Andy after lunch as I made my rounds to refill water tanks and buckets for the animals. When I peaked in the farrowing house (a shelter specifically designed for birthing piglets and includes a crate that allows the sow some freedom but prevents her from accidentally laying on her babies) Andy was up and moving around. Not less than an hour later Bossman caught up with me, as I was driving a tractor, to let me know three piglets had been born. Within approximately two hours ten were born with an eleventh piglet who decided to be fashionably late. Hopefully all will stay healthy over the next crucial days. Monday we will supplement them with some iron and Friday they will receive their first vaccination.

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Two long weeks of waiting are over for our Black Mountain Welsh ewe, Addy. Addy had three lovely lambs today. Nicely timed to coincide with lunch and right before a meeting I was scheduled to attend. It was exciting because this was my first time helping deliver lambs.

Early on Addy had shown little interest in her breakfast. During the late morning we noticed she was acting uncomfortable. Addy was walking around, stretching and alternating between standing and laying down. By lunchtime there was no signs of progression so Bossman made a quick escape to pick up something to eat. We joked, saying that as soon as he left the ewe would finally go in to labor. Sure enough that is what happened! Bossman made it back just as the first pair of feet were visible. We helped Addy with all three of her lambs. Two rams and one ewe. The three are very healthy and very large. Their size made it important for us to be present at this birth and we are very happy Addy decided to go in to labor during the day.

The little ewe was up within five minutes of being born. Her two brothers soon followed. All three started nursing and Addy rebounded nicely from the whole process. She is certainly a bit tired but very happy to eat dinner (a great sign!) and all afterbirth was passed.

As you can see, they are a motley crew of lambs. One black ram, one marbled ram and one spotted ewe.

Addy's motley crew of lambs. From left to right... One black ram, one spotted ewe and one marbled ram.

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During the big snowstorm a few weeks ago the unknown hawk I wrote about made another appearance. Sitting on the same branch above the chicken house with the same drooped wing. A friend had a much better camera than I and was able to score some great photos for me. Turns out our visitor is a Cooper’s Hawk (before, I could not get close enough or get a clear enough photo to tell). We also discovered that the hawk keeps its left foot held up. I have no idea why. While it has been a few weeks since I last spotted “Cooper” I am not too worried. But, I will keep my eyes open in case the hawk returns!

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I saw our first honey bees today! It is so nice to be seeing more and more signs of Spring. The pastures are beginning to be more green than brown (or white if you consider the recent storms!). All of the animals are out enjoying the wonderful weather where temperatures are breaking in to the upper 40’s and lower 50’s. I found our field pigs laying out in the sun instead of inside their shelter – probably a first since late last fall! And how nice it is to not have to break ice from the water troughs each morning, afternoon and evening!

Now that the snow has melted we are in a race to beat the rain showers. This week we are redoing the pig pens connected to the main barn. Instead of wire they will now be made of wood fence boards. I can’t wait to see the final result. Hopefully the good weather will hold out and we will finish this project and others in good time!

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Dandy, our Jersey cow had a beautiful heifer calf this morning at approximately 9:45. Dandy’s due date was the 14th but she decided the weather and sun made today a lovely day to give birth. The calf is very energetic and was moving around quickly. It will be fun to watch the little girl grow up!

Here she is just one hour after being born…

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