Friday, April 30, 2010

A Beautiful Day

I love days like this when the mild temperatures and soft rain give you comfort, like your favorite blanket just out of the dryer. I crawled into the lamb jug then walked around with Brim, still on his leash for at least another month, just to take some pics of the peaceful day and its inhabitants. Enjoy...

Good Night.

Pixie's Lambs Have Arrived!

Well, at long last...
Introducing Fairlight Pixie and her twin ram lambs.

Many of you know we didn't have a due date, seeing as the ram was in with the ewes all through the fall and winter. So, I've been anxiously watching our girls for any sign of labor since March. I've read up on all sorts of signs, and they've kept me guessing for quite some time. Tammy @ Fairlight Farms told me that one of the signs was the "hollowing out" in front of the hips, once the babies drop. This would be a sure sign that lambs would arrive within 24 hours or so. Well, yesterday morning rounds showed the hollowed hips and the dropped belly. And, while she was laying down I caught a quick glimpse of her vaginal area... did it look extra swollen? She stood up quickly, but I didn't pursue investigation any further. I came in and told Troy, "It wouldn't surprise me if those babies were born today." Of course, he just looked at me in disbelief... I mean, hadn't he heard that one before?!

Around 2:15pm, before I left for the afternoon bus route, I checked on her. Still the same... eating grass, just chillin' out. O.k.

At 5:30pm I looked out the window, and OH MY!!! Was she licking something? Yes!!! I jumped up and down and squealed like a stuck piglet (yes, really). I raced outside with the camera in tow. Yep, two beautiful lambs. She was cleaning them off, and her afterbirth was already working itself out. Oh, the joy. It seemed all of the animals, even the chickens, had lined up against the fence to watch Pixie's little miracle. It's very touching to watch the ram and whethers stick their noses through the fence to smell the babies. They were all so gentle.

I, Troy, and our kids just watched for awhile. Then after a bit, I gathered my supplies and went into the corral to coax Pixie into the lambing jug with her babies. Of course when I first walked off with her lambs she looked panic stricken. Once she followed us into the jug though, she realized all was well, and I had no intention of hurting her little boys. She calmly watched while I trimmed up & sterilized two excessively long umbilical cords (they were dragging the ground), gave them their Nutri-Drench, and checked for sex identity. I packed extra hay into their jug, gave Pixie some Molasses water and left the little crew alone to bond and rest. Thirty minutes later though I heard a mewling, because baby lambs sound more like cats I've discovered, and baahing from Pixie. It seems the holes in the fencing of the lamb jug were just too big... one lamb was out, trying frantically to get back in with momma. Brownie was even looking frantic and confused, like "what the heck is going on here?" Oops. Well, I put baby back in, then Troy and I went back out after putting our own kids to bed and used chicken wire and zip ties (my favorite trick by the way) to shore up the two side by side lamb jugs. Phew! No more stranded babies!

So, I'm happy to report that everyone is looking great this morning. Little tails are wagging as they nurse from their momma. Pixie's grunts and baby's squeaks are heard as they learn each other's language... which Troy and I find completely charming! Pixie is a wonderful mother already. She's so gentle, careful where she steps. She's doing her job keeping them clean and nursed. Way to go girl!

It's raining today, so pics of dried off lambs will be saved for another post. However, it does look like we have two solid moorit ram lambs -one with a white krunet on top of his head, just like his Dad, Conway.

I'll keep you posted on Brownie's progress. Hopefully, she will have just as easy a time lambing as Pixie and bless us with some beautiful ewe lambs!

God Bless and Happy Friday to All!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Still Waiting...

Just a quick update here to all who've been waiting with me for lambs. Nothing yet! I thought surely yesterday, with storms, etc. that barometric pressure would set off labor, but nope! Maybe Tammy G. was right, a watched sheep just doesn't boil, er lamb. :)

The girls couldn't look much more uncomfortable than they do right now. Their bellies are bigger... their udders are huge, making last weekend's udder pic look like child's play... they waddle everywhere as their pelvis' run out of room... and they sleep a lot!

My husband, Troy, told me yesterday that I've "poisoned" him too. I've been saying for a month now, "They just have a look... I suspect they might have a lamb by morning." He confessed that he's now started checking them constantly. Thankfully, their maternity pen is right next to the house and barn, where we can look out the window whenever we want. Of course, maybe that's the problem. Too many eyes watching... lol

Everybody have a great weekend! The girls and I will be sorting through all of their outgrown toys and clothes to put into my sister's garage sale. Bring on the coffee!!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shearing Day

It was a beautiful day for shearing. Danny was here and gone in a flash... it doesn't take long for a professional shearer to clean up 5 sheep, like 15 minutes total of actual buzz time.

Of course everyone always looks so small, especially our little wether, Marty. He's always been tiny, but now he looks like a newborn lamb. Unfortunately for him, the other 2 boys have been picking on him ever since they were sheared. The ewes were done first and released, being pregnant and all. Marty was next, and I have to wonder if there's a spot on his side that smells like the ewes. He kept sniffing there (see the pic), then the guys were sniffing there, getting excited, then chasing and ramming him. Poor little guy. At least they're not penned up, so he has an acre to run will nilly to avoid any real damage. Night is upon us, so I'm sure everyone will settle down to sleep here soon. Still, I hate to see my poor sweetie being picked on.

The fleeces are now bagged, waiting to be skirted. Here's a quick pic taken while they were cooling down. I couldn't skirt right away because I had to make dinner for the family. Cleaning those messy fleeces will be a chore for another day.

Here's a couple shots of the girls post shearing. I was able to get a really good look at their udders when the shearer was working. Wow, what a difference a few weeks makes. We clipped, vaccinated, dewormed them about 3 weeks ago, prepping for lambing. Since then their udders have filled in and look like water balloons. Those babies should be here verra soon!

The pic isn't the clearest, still having to use the video camera for still shots. However, can you see Brownie's udders? Woo hoo... I'm looking forward to seeing their lambs. That just might be my next post! Happy Sunday to all!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Beautiful Spring Day

"She's not looking... quick, give her a sniff!"

Oh, what a day. There's a constant breeze, the sun is shining, and it's about 70 degrees right now. The sheep are grazing, and panting a bit too... shearer will be here this weekend. The chickens are cackling with pride as each egg is layed, and the guineas are alerting the farm with their all too pleasant "buck-whee, buck-whee.... chee, chee, chee..." every time a car drives by or a butterfly sails across the yard, seriously. Even with the guineas calling, it's still just a pleasant and beautiful day. I'll share some pics taken from our video camera (we have two digital cameras that went on the blitz at the same time, go figure).
Marty gettin' his scratch on... "ahhhhh"

"Green Acres is the place to be, bock, bock!"

"I'm too sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hu-urts..."

Such cute little wethers. "Pet me, pet me..."

"We love it when she gives us trimmed tree branches to munch on..."

"Hey Brownie, when should we tell the food lady that we're just pretending to be pregnant so we can keep getting extra treats?" ... Seriously girls, when are those lambs gonna drop?

The End!

Stripped of all dignity...

Well, Mr. Brim had his surgery yesterday, and it went very well. The post surgical x-rays looked great! As the screws are attached it actually pushes the bones together, nice and straight. Due to this, he has been in a lot of pain. He's a tough dog, and he was whimpering on/off last night, even with high doses of pain medication. I wanted him close so I could help him during the night, if need be. SO, he stayed in our bathroom all night. And, once the house settled down for the night, he did as well. What a good pup. Anyhow, the vet said he should be feeling much better 2 to 3 days after surgery. Surgery has given him the best chance for a full recovery. Keep your paws, and fingers, crossed that recovery is short and uneventful!

As for the title regarding the loss of his dignity, well... Before surgery, we had him shaved down and bathed at the vet clinic. 1: to keep him cool as it gets hotter out, and 2: nice and clean in case he needs to come inside. Of course we told him how handsome he looks, etc. However, between the bandaged leg, the shave down and the drugged look in his eyes... it just spells "beaten down". Poor pup. At least he's not panting while he's laying on the cool patio, like he usually would be. I'll keep all posted on his recovery. Thanks for all the well wishes!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Poor Pup

Well, I started this blog after inspiration from Tammy @ Fairlight Farms. I purchased our starter flock from her, and I really thought my first blog would be about my sheep... and the waiting, waiting and more waiting for my 2 ewes to lamb for the first time. But, oh no! This blog is to be about my poor pup, Brim. He's our 2 year old LGD, more of a ranch dog really seeing as our farm is small, and he usually sleeps in the front yard instead of a pasture. AND, he's a loving, gentle teddy bear with everyone, except the cat... he's just not a big fan of cats.

Anyhow, back to the "poor pup" part. Easter Sunday Brim came limping onto our back porch where our girls were playing. My heart sank. Not putting weight on his front left paw, some apparent swelling about 1/3 of the way up his ulnar/radius bones. Uh-oh... hope, pray, please... I checked him over.. just hoping to find a cut, a burr, torn toenail. Nope. Alright, it's Sunday, and we were just getting ready to go over to family's for Easter slash nephew's Birthday party. At this point I'm really hoping that it's a sprain, and when I get home I'm going to find him putting some weight on that foot. No such luck. Once we were home I put the kids to bed and ran outside to check on Brim. He came hobbling up to me, whimpering. Not good. I gave him some Etogesic, the pain killer I give to my old Golden Retriever for his arthritis, petted him for awhile as he lay on his dog bed on the front porch and instructed him to take it easy for the night. Yeah, I "instructed" him. He's one of those really smart dogs with almost human eyes, that just seems to understand what I say or want most of the time. In the morning, he was laying on the front porch patiently waiting for me to fix him. So, off to the vet we went.

X-rays show broken ulnar and radius. How could this happen to us again? Our other dog, Liberty, broke the exact same bones last year. Seriously?? After casting, recasting, recasting yet again, and lots of recoup time, she healed... not perfectly, but she does very well as a house dog/backyard guard. Check out the pic, does it look vaguely familiar? Like a mirror image. Ugh.

O.k., so the vet thinks casting could be a good option. I leave him there so the kids and I can go home and get some sort of containment setup for Brim, seeing as he was born outside on a sheep farm and has never been couped up anywhere... he absolutely refused to come inside, even during extreme hot or cold weather. Before we even got home, the vet called me with bad news. He said he couldn't get the bones to line up and stay, not well enough for an active, working outdoor dog. He recommended another veterinarian who has done a lot of surgical pinning. My husband and I agreed that Brim is not ready for retirement, so we called the other vet. He recommended yet another vet who does plate and screw surgery. You see, an external fixeter was our first option to casting. Apparently, pins go through the leg in several places and protrude. This makes it very challenging in a large, active dog like Brim during recovery because it's so easy for them to "whack" the pins against just about anything. And with that much force it could put us back to square one. He was also concerned that as Brim starts to heal he might get away from us (he must be always contained or walked on leash during recovery) and rebreak leg. So, after meeting with the 3rd vet, we plan to have surgery on Brim's leg this coming Tuesday. He will insert one or two plates onto the outside of the leg and drill 6 screws into the bone. If all goes well, his bones will heal in 6 - 8 weeks. He can resume regular lifestyle at that point, but the plate will stay on another 2 or 3 months for added support while his leg strengthens. So, now we wait. He has a splint and bandages on for support and protection until surgery day. This of course must remain dry, and he must remain inactive. The first night we put him in an extra large metal cage. By morning, he was out, on his own of course. The second night he was put into the garage... by morning.... yep, he was out again. Friggin' Houdini! Alright, after rebandaging (due to wet wrap), he was then put into our small enclosed, but well ventilated sheep stock trailer. Woo hoo! We have found the answer. During the day he is happy to sleep in the cool shade of our enclosed patio, and at night, or during rain, or if we have to leave the house for awhile, he sleeps in the trailer. You're never prepared for these types of things until they happen, right?

Well, my hubby's at work, the kids are clamoring for my attention, and there are more eggs in the barn to collect. My next post will either be about Brim or lambs! Should we bet which one will be first? I'm betting Brim, but who knows? My ewes just aren't saying. :)