Ohiogoatgirl's Escapades & Adventures- Pulse check! pg14

ohiogoatgirl

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Tomorrow I am going to pick out and bring home my first sheep! :D
To see my pre-sheep question rambling see this thread: http://www.backyardherds.com/thread...-breed-size-and-choosing-ram-questions.32030/

But to reiterate here is a not-so-quick overview of the current situation:
* I am a spinner and basically hobby of collecting hobbies ;) Long time farm girl and plenty of years of animal experience.

* A woman in the spinners and weavers guild I am in is starting to slowly sell off her flock, which was as I recall nearly 200 head this spring with lambs, and she now has still above 100 head. she has been raising sheep for 30+ years and her flock is a hodgepodge mix of heritage breeds. a lot of Icelandic, plenty of Jacob and Shetland, and a sprinkle of tunis and a couple others from years ago breedings, and a few random mixed sheep of other breeds.

* I have a pasture that is about an acre-ish size. a handful of years ago it was a garden. dad decided to mow the whole thing down after a year fallow (and grown over my head of grass and weeds) and to fence it in with fence and posts from the old smaller goat pen from several years ago. this will now be my pasture. it has been untouched other than a couple mowings in some areas over the last four years. I will be re-taking it and hope to enlist a couple wether goats to help later on. we will be putting in some new fence down the middle of this with a gate to switch them back and forth the two paddocks. their shed will be along the fence line and in such a way as to get to it from both paddocks.

* there is a creek through the yard but not in the current pasture area. and it is fed by a few small springs and sometimes goes dry depending on the weather that year. right now it is dry. workin on a pipe from a spring uphill into the pasture but at first I will be hauling out water for a while until that is done.

* the sheep are being wormed by the woman. when I pick em up they will come home and go into a section of the barn, penned up, to hopefully poop out the most of the worm load they may have before getting to the pasture. this should also give me a good chance to sit in with them and try to get them used to me.
I will be buying 4 or 5. probably yearling+ age ewes and they could be bred and due to lamb around end of February. depending on what I like when I get there I may come home with three or with five. haha. she has a lot and will just be bringing in a big lot of them into her barn for me to look over. so if I just buy three tomorrow I will go back out another time when she has a day to wrangle up some others for me to look over.

* My main interest is wool, closely followed by meat as side interest and I will probably dabble with milking later on. I have many years experience hand milking goats and a few of them with tiny bitty teats and I have the milking equipment. but I need to fix up, add on to, and reorganize that barn plus buy some new milk pails and build a good sturdy stand before that happens.
I will probably do the wool processing myself but when the flock grows I will probably send what I know I cant do all of it to a mill for rovings.
Meat, well the lamb I had at MD sheep & wool festival was really awesome and I would love to have more :) but I also don't want to eat craploads of it constantly. so will probably keep a couple wethers or something to fatten up for home use and sell the other wethers. I am trying to feel out the fiber pet market and meat lamb market here that I could fit into. so at first we may eat more lamb and mutton maybe hahaha.

* I haven't fully decided which way I will go with breeding. I will be taking a lot of notes tomorrow at the womans farm. there are some other flocks near-ish me that I want to go visit and see if I like their sheep.
I may keep back a ram lamb with the wethers from any lambs I get from older ewes I buy. I may save up and finagle so I can buy a registered superfine Shetland ram from a guy that has some awesome wool in the spinners guild. I may come across a really lovely ram lamb at the sale or a nice looking ram in an ad locally.
I will definitely be making a list of things I want in a ram and traits I find in the ewes that are less desirable so when I am looking I can make sure to pick a ram that doesn't have those traits too.

* I am very excited that any of age ewes I buy are likely bred! I had been thinking that I would breed to aim for april/may lambing but in getting some feedback in my other thread here some people noted their early lambs do great and their later lambs are kinda sucky. since the ewes if bred will lamb around late February I will see how things go with them. I just cant help but remember all the years with my family's milk goats kidding in February and all the running in and out checking, all the kidding during a big snowstorm, all the bottle feeding kids from 4 days old onward in single digit temps and through waist deep snow, and milking in the dark at 8AM and PM..... I don't want to do that! haha!

ok I think I am done rambling for now! :) hahaha. I am so excited to go tomorrow! Woohoo! I will try to get lots of pics!
 
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Congrats! Seems to me like you are pleasantly overwhelmed :D Sounds like you know what you want and are moving in that direction! Good for you! Pics when you can please :thumbsup
 

ohiogoatgirl

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Been really busy! there are some pics on the other thread (linked to in original post). now that I have my laptop back I hope to get a lot of pics of the shed and paddocks.

** I divided the original area down the middle. its not even on both sides but good enough. when I move the sheep to the other paddock we have it set up so I move a small section of fence and they still have full access to the shed. pretty awesome idea that dad came up with.

** the first paddock is pretty well eaten down now. and now that the sheep are sheared I feel better about moving them to the other paddock because it is seriously overgrown. honestly I wish I was able to brush-hog it.

** the white lamb turned out to be a ram. because I didn't listen to my own advice with the excitement of picking em up and didn't check the genders myself. plus in full fleece you couldn't see his jewels hanging! haha!
after thinking it over a lot I decided I will take him to the auction. the flock I bought them from is too closely related. at best he has the same sire as both ewes. and most likely they are all more related than that too.
pity because I love his fleece. but he is too old to band and I cant afford to pay someone to snip him. and his fleece isn't amazing enough to keep him just as a wether for wool with such a small flock right now.

** keeping an eye on the local ads and B/S/T groups I spotted a post someone who has two ram lambs that's only a half hour drive from me. one is a Jacob/dorper and one is a mutt (known breeds include corridale and tunis). I am interested in the mixed wool ram. I am waiting to hear back from the person but she said he thinks he weighs about 85#. from the picture he looks pretty good. so I am excited to find out when I can go out and get a look at him, and if he looks good bring him home.
he will be quarantined and wormed in the barn away from the paddocks if I buy him.

** ???? If I buy him how long should I keep him quarantined? ????
mainly I am worried that i'll take the white ram lamb I have now to auction and leaving the two ewes they will be panicking for a while. then i'll need to be able to sit out and watch them when I introduce him to them.

** since this ram lamb is old enough the ewes could be bred to him. I am half hoping he did so I can have lambs sooner... And half hoping he didn't because of possible health problems and them being so closely related anyhow. That way the new ram could hopefully be raring to go and i'll have some idea of a date to go from for possible lambing.

** I am watching the local ads still for ewes. I think in the spring I will buy some more ewes from the same flock I got my current ewes. but I am learning what I do and don't like about them/their traits/things I want to breed for.
I am mulling over if I want to try a couple hair ewes if I come across any. for meat lambs. I think I would only do it if they had really good build. one of my biggest cons I have with the current ewes is they are very small and not built for meaty frame at all. hoping that my breeding from them will improve build and still good fleeces.
if nothing else will have great fleece ewes and great meat ewes in my flock and just go that way with it.

** I am trying to compile a list of TO-DO's and an outline of priority for the big pasture. it is about 5 acres. needs a whole lot of work. once I get that done I can at least get things together to work on a third paddock and recruit some help to get that done.

** I am making a list of things I want to plant in the paddocks behind the sheep. I wont be able to get started with this until at least spring of course.
any suggestions very welcome!
 

norseofcourse

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Sounds like things are busy but fun! Since your ewes will still have each other, they may not worry all that much if you remove the ram. Has he been chasing them or acting studly? If not, they may already be bred - didn't you say they might be?
Not sure how long to quarantine a new ram, I did mine for a few months, but that was only because I didn't want to put him with the ewes too early and have February lambs.
I'm still clearing out pasture and need to subdivide it more, too. I still have one fenceline that is crooked, because it was run where it was easier to hack my way through the brush. It's going to take awhile to clear where it needs to go. I have been thinking of things to plant for the sheep also - so far maybe stuff like turnips, radishes, lambs-quarters. Haven't studied too much on that yet.
 

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sorry for the long wait!

** the ram lamb went to the auction. price I got wasn't terrible.

** I am beginning to worry over the ewes. I have been checking their udders for any development about once a week now. since they could be due early as february and now it is february.
Pigpig is a 3y/o and has lambed before. you can see her dried up udder but it's clear that nothing was going on.
Midget was born feb-march 2015 so she will just barely be a year old now. and her name is midget for good reason, she is a wee little thing.
Last week udder check I was thinking ehhh feels a pinch different but not really. and determined that i would just have to wait another week and see if things seemed normal again or what.
Today I checked em again.
I think I am feeling a bit of udder development!!!!
Pigpig I am not too worried about. she has lambed before at least once and she is fair size and health. but she is not fat enough to be carrying much in there so I am a pinch worried about her turning into a skinny thing.
Midget is tiny. I am worried about the possibility of lamb too large for her to birth. and on the other end of it, worried about wee tinier lamb or lambs! although she is more round looking than pigpig.
If they lamb before the end of the month then they were bred at the farm before I got them. Pigpig by the womans herd ram or a sly ram lamb that managed to sneak in.
Midget however was in a barn with a run of weaned lambs all her age. several of which were inches smaller than herself. in which case I would hope that the lamb(s) would have better chance of being smaller too.
If they lamb beginning in early March then they managed to avoid getting bred there and then got bred to my 'oops ram lamb' here. (I sold after getting him shorn. too related.) I am going to be getting a definitely unrelated ram in the fall this year.

** I had upped their feed a pinch. If they lamb I will up the feed a little if they seem to need it. Midget definitely will be getting supplemented if she lambs.

** I am extremely worried if Midget lambs since she and the ram lamb had both gotten Valblazen when I brought them home...... :(

** Got a finger on a farm I will be visiting sometime to look at sheep. Very likely to get a ram from there this fall.

** need to get a date settled to go back to the farm I bought these girls. Might be getting some more ewe lambs. And this time triple checking sexes myself ;)
 

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Nuts ram lamb edit.jpg

Nutz coming in for his close up. "whats this? can I eat it?" taken the week he went to the auction.

735 edit mini.jpg

Pigpig with her paranoid look. She still doesn't like me. But she lets me touch her a little while she eats feed.
Nutz in the middle. this was taken the week he went to the auction I think.
Midget looking as tiny and adorable as ever.
 

purplequeenvt

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Question.....you said that the flock you were buying from was a mixed flock with a good bit of Shetland in them?

If so, I wouldn't worry about Midget's size too much. She looks like she has a lot of Shetland influence. She does look rather skinny though.
 

ohiogoatgirl

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Question.....you said that the flock you were buying from was a mixed flock with a good bit of Shetland in them?

If so, I wouldn't worry about Midget's size too much. She looks like she has a lot of Shetland influence. She does look rather skinny though.

yes that's true. and the woman who sheared them for me is familiar with the person and flock and said it wont hurt to up the feed (which I discussed with her) and that's just how that flock is, don't expect them to get fat.
***Also noting that when I go back to the farm to check out more ewes I will only bring home ewes that are plenty bigger, build wise, and will bring home wool wethers before I bring home more tiny ewes. learning my lesson here.

I am worried about Midget because she is even smaller than she looks in the pics. tomorrow I am going to bring my measuring tape and get some numbers on them both. I am going to rig a weigh sling but I know she is smaller than the ram was and the receipt from the auction he was a little smaller than 40#. Midget is quite noticeably lighter than he was.

And today I realized that Midget and the ram had gotten Valblazen the day I brought them home. Pigpig didn't get it because she was possibly bred. So now I am mainly worried that if Midget is pregnant that I can pull her through, with or without a lamb, and get her fattened up a bit. If she does lamb I can milk her some and freeze it and dry her off with little stress. Thank you dairy goat experience.

Could Valblazen have the same effects as warned about on the ram? I mean the ram got Valblazen, and if he bred Pigpig could the lamb(s) be deformed?

On the lighter side, I have a few emails out that if I do end up with mommas and no lambs I have some tabs on bottle babies.
 
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ohiogoatgirl

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These pics are Midget. All taken Jan 7. She looks more evened out now, I think. in these she was bulge-y like she swallowed up a milk jug. now she is round-ish but not so bulge-y looking. Will try to remember my camera tomorrow morning too for updated pics. lol hopefully they will stay still a moment for some decent ones.

midget mini 1.jpg

midget mini 2.jpg

midget mini 3.jpg
 

purplequeenvt

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Do you have any idea what percentage Shetland she is? Who old is she?

If she were mine, I'd feed her up well (not an excessive amount during late pregnancy) and see where she is next fall for breeding. If she handles lambing and raising baby(s) well this year and bounces back health wise, I see no problem keeping as long as she fits into your breeding plans.

I also wouldn't stress about the Valbazen. I was told by my vet that you don't want to use it just in the first 45 days of pregnancy. I've never heard anything about not using it in rams during breeding.
 
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