Ponker - The Way It Is

ldawntaylor

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Just out of curiosity Ponker which route did you take to get to Oklahoma? A more northern one? Or did you end up fairly close to Fort Smith, AR? I know it all depends on what part of Oklahoma you were headed to. I'm just curious because if you ended up travelling through Arkansas and by Fort Smith then you were about 50 miles from my home.
 

Ponker

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Just out of curiosity Ponker which route did you take to get to Oklahoma? A more northern one? Or did you end up fairly close to Fort Smith, AR? I know it all depends on what part of Oklahoma you were headed to. I'm just curious because if you ended up travelling through Arkansas and by Fort Smith then you were about 50 miles from my home.
I'm so sorry I missed this! I took the southerly route for the ride along the civil war route. On my way home, I went right past Fort Smith. It was a great drive. Long, but great.
 

ldawntaylor

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Not a problem, I was just curious. I wonder if Arkansas will ever finish that interstate that has been talked about, going through the Fort Smith area. If so, the trip between Fort Smith and my place will be a lot faster. But, day to day living will be a lot noisier around here. More vehicles, traveling faster. As well as more sirens I suspect.
 

Ponker

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So a lot has happened around here. Zsa Zsa and Nellie are Moms again each with eight little kits. They're doing fine, even Zsa Zsa who freaked at becoming a Mom the first time and let her babies die on the wire. I found the too late to save any. Nellie raised nine babies already. They;re American Chinchilla rabbits.

One of my Muscovy ducks, Eleanor hatched a bunch of ducklings under the porch. Last night she high tailed them to the pond while I was busy milking the goat. I was watching for her to take them out and missed it. Try as I might, I couldn't coax them off the pond. She spent the night out there with six of them and I managed to catch eight before it got too dark to see. The eight are in a brooder crying for their Momma. Its heartbreaking but I have giant catfish in my pond and many many night predators that roam my neck of the woods. She's not safe out there let alone newborn ducklings. I'm working on getting them into the duck house today. One of my other Muscovy ducks is sitting 24 eggs in there! And last but not least, the one remaining Muscovy duck, Sally is a cannibal! She was caught stealing duck eggs and eating them. I've had to shoo her out of the chicken coop several times. She is banned from the coop and the run. I even caught her nosing around the porch where Eleanor was sitting her clutch!

I sold my hair sheep, Big Bad BettyLou and Spotty with her two lambs. Now, we are left with just Athena, Panda, VooDoo, and Sissy, for the ewes and George and Holstein for the rams. Athena and Holstein met the shearer for the first time. They look marvelous but I was amazed at how skinny Athena looked without her wool. Holstein maintained his masculine countenance after losing his wool. I added some sunflower seeds and alfalfa pellets to Athena's grain ration.

We now have goats! Seven Nigerian Dwarf Milk Goats came from Festus, MO to our little farm in Arkansas. We opted to bring a buck, wether, and five does, of which one is in milk now. Daisy just went dry after raising her kids, Bella has a little doeling, Amelia nursing, Moon will be bred for the first time within the next year, and Delilah my special friend who is teaching me to milk. Since she's a first freshener, she's not honed her teaching abilities so we're having some ups and downs. We milk twice a day and so far so good. The little Buckling and wether are smaller than my rooster and cat. They're so precious. It's hard to believe they're going to grow up.

I have a broody hen sitting a clutch of Red Dorking/Iowa Blue eggs. Should be interesting.
 

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Ponker

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Been awhile since I updated and things are getting more hectic as the summer kicks in full force. We have plans to extend our fencing A LOT! We're putting a cross fence and then several smaller sections... its part of the overall grand plan to have six pastures fenced with 4" woven wire 4' tall with a strand of barbed along the top and bottom. Instead of hiring this done, we are going after this job ourselves. It's a bit of a challenge but we already purchased enough material to do two sections.

Our dear neighbor has been a jewel! He's helped us burn the piles of trees we took down to put the perimeter fence. What a load of work that was. The piles were pretty big. They're still glowing now. We gave away the wood but nobody came for it. It was a shame to watch all that good firewood go up in smoke.

Two darling little brown lambs came to live at our farm from Northern Missouri. They are sisters from a February quint birth, both lovely brown and friendly as all get out. They're soft and smaller than my triplet ewe lamb born in February. They might not get bred this autumn. We'll see. Unless they reach 60-75 lbs, I won't breed them.
20160624_181446.jpg

In the above photo you can see Sissy (white ewe second from the right ) eating flanked by the two newcomers, Shawn and Shang. I didn't name them but they already know their names so I'm not changing them. Standing with her butt toward the camera and wearing three white socks is Panda, she was born in March and is bigger than the twins. VooDoo a badger faced ewe lamb born in March facing us in the photo. She is also much bigger than the newcomers.
 

Ponker

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Tragedy struck. I lost Shawn and Shang on the same day, only hours apart. The vet told me that some animals that don't get a good start can have a 'failure to thrive'. My heart just broke into tiny pieces over losing these two little lambs.

When they arrived they were dropping worms in their stool, losing wool, very thin, and one had severe diarrhea. They were four months old and weighed only twelve pounds. Since I had arranged transport, they arrived at my farm in that condition. I doctored them and called the vet, who came out the following day. We wormed them, gave them probiotics, and started them on a nutritional regime. I had to continuously dose them with probiotics and called the vet out again two weeks later when they were not gaining any weight. Their eyes watered all the time and I worried continuously. At this point I emailed the breeder and told her what I thought. She conceded that she didn't have the time and didn't give them the attention they deserved. We did a second worming due to the extremely hot humid weather. They seemed to take a turn toward the better but they weren't like my other ewes. My vet and I tried everything.

We buried them together near the lower pond on a hill. We covered the grave with large stones stacked one on top of the other. A lot of tears were shed that day. I was wrecked.

My deep sorrow fermented into anger. How could anyone raise these lambs with such disregard for their health? How could they sell them as premium ewe lambs? I emailed the breeder again. This time I was met with a stone wall. I accepted these two little ewe lambs and the breeder washed her hands of them and pocketed my $825. HA HA BUYER BEWARE! Made me sick.

What made it all the more difficult was that my four lambs from New York were arriving the very next day! It was so hard to be excited. Instead, I was filled with dread at the prospect of being taken advantage of again. Fortunately, these four lambs were EXCELLENT!

Large, full fleece, bright eyes, active, friendly, curious, and a picture of perfect health. These were true premium ewe (and one ram) lambs.

On the left is Rosa, Jane, Marilyn all newcomers next to VooDoo, Panda, Athena (large black ewe) and Sissy looking over her back. Rosa, Jane, and Marilyn were all born in April. Standing next to my March born lamb VooDoo, they are every bit size appropriate.

Ewes and Feeder.jpg


Shawn and Shang taught me a very important lesson. That even in small breed specific communities, there are people willing to take advantage of newcomers. I've decided that, in their memory, I will propose a voluntary code of ethics that will set apart good breeders from the type I had the unfortunate experience of dealing with. I'll never be one to neglect my animals because I bred too many trying to cash in. I'll also NEVER belong to the Buyer Beware crowd. I have more ethics and true love for this breed than to ever agree with a Buyer Beware mentality. We, as breeders, should vet our purchasers and sell to people who we are willing to help successfully raise the breed. I'm not advocating to allow buyers to be ignorant and/or uneducated about raising sheep correctly. In addition, I do not think accidents are the fault of the Breeder. Breeders should only sell healthy, good quality animals for the purpose intended.

I'm still smarting profoundly from my harsh experience but tempered by four outstanding lambs with incredible genetics. I've always said that things happen for a reason. I think this happened to me to teach me that in this animal breeder world, - ethics is in short supply.

Caveat Emptor my friends.
 

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Sorry you got taken advantage of... I can't open the attachment to view... says it doesn't exist...
 

Ponker

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Sorry you got taken advantage of... I can't open the attachment to view... says it doesn't exist...
I had to edit because my first photo didn't work right. It was a link. So I deleted that link and uploaded it again. This time it worked fine. Maybe try refreshing. I can see it fine. Let me know if it still doesn't show up and I'll try editing again.
 

Ponker

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sorry to hear about your loss :hugs:hugs
Thank you. I've lost dogs before and it was so hard. I'd had them for eight years or more and developed a significant relationship with my dogs. The lambs' death took me by complete surprise. Blindsided.

Sure we were having a lot of problems with their health but we were on top of them. The vet and vet tech were both working with me on bringing them around. Their deaths hardened me... in a good way. For Shang and Shawn, I've already proposed an ethics statement to the Finnsheep Breeders Association President. Since the motivation is to ensure the breed is carried forward, we need breeders who care about the breed, not just money. Money needs to come from producing the best quality lambs and selling them for the best purpose, being wool, meat, or breeding. When a breeder unloads as many lambs as possible in whatever condition, it's not good for the community as a whole.

Thanks again for your condolences. I really appreciate it.
 
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