Thursday, February 27, 2014

Shepherdess Notes: The Ram, Half Of Your Flock

Emmet, purchased as a Yearling Ram-Border Leicester


This year we have purchased some new Rams. It has been a little hectic having more than one or two Rams on the farm. Right now we have five, more than we have ever had at one time.

A ram purchase is an important one. He makes up half of your flock.  I have 12 Border Leicester Ewes with one Border Leicester Ram. Using our prior lambing rate (175%), that would be 21 plus lambs that ram would sire in one year. A mature Ram can breed up to 50 ewes, that could mean 100 lambs with that Rams genetics.
Taking that in consideration, we have been more selective of our Rams over the years.

Generally, you will pay more for a Ram than a Ewe. 

Some things we take in consideration when we purchase a Ram is size, confirmation , temperament, pedigree, fleece and age. We purchase registered breeding stock, each breed has its own standard, we try to be familiar with what that standard is.

Each farm has its own goals,  whether it is for better market lambs, improved fleece quality etc. Those goals need to be kept in mind when you are looking for a Ram.

I still remember the first time we went to look for a Ram.I was clueless, but I had read a lot of sheep books and had a list of what to check for.
Feet and legs
Mouth and teeth
General appearance (healthy)
Scrotum (yep, that was a little awkward the first time, but you get over it!)

We really didn't know quite what we were looking for, but that has changed over the years.

Rams can be a little difficult to handle, not all of them are well mannered. For many years we have only had one Ram and we were able to leave him with the ewes, most of the year. We would remove the Ram from June-November. Not a big deal.
With more than one, that is not possible. Rams typically do not like each other, especially during breeding season. So we have had to house them separately. 

Adding the Tunis breed has made things even more interesting, the Tunis Sheep will breed out of season. So no rams with the ewes over the summer.

We are still working on a Ram housing plan. If you have sheep, I would love to hear what works for you?

We used a new Border Leicester Ram this year, Emmet. (We are excited to see his lambs)
Max was a great Ram but it was time to bring in a new one.
You can keep the same Ram for years (our first Ram lived here until he died of old age)  but when you start keeping replacement ewes you will need another Ram to breed those ewes to.

Life with Rams is inevitable if you raise sheep. They keep things interesting.  I noticed the Tunis seem to be more full of themselves than our Border Leicesters have been.
You learn to live with them. But there are a few rules.

We never turn our back on our Rams, especially during breeding season. My girls have been taught that since they were little. Even our friendliest Rams have given us a push now and again. We keep a healthy respect for our Rams but I would not keep a Ram that I was afraid of.

We also never make "pets" out of our Rams. We want them to have "respect" for us as well. And if they are a little afraid of me, that is okay. We do not tolerate head butting, pushing, or rearing up even from the cute little lambs. One day that cute little lamb will weigh over 200 pounds.
Respect from both parties is needed.








This is our newest addition, he does not yet have a name. Any suggestions?



Tunis Ram Lamb

HomeAcre Hop #59




I am not going to complain about  winter, or snow, or below zero temperatures. I will say, that this winter has taken its toll! Thankfully, we have three cuties in the barn that can put a smile on your face pretty quick, when you are doing the dreaded winter chores.

Welcome to this weeks Blog Hop! Can't wait to see what everyone is up to! 

 Before we get started I wanted to mention our Winner of the Gardening Gloves and Homesteading book was Rachel E.- Congratulations!

HomeAcre  Host
Kathi@Oak Hill Homestead
Nancy@Prudent Living on the Home Front
Ann@ Summer Acres
Jenny@Black Fox Homestead
Lisa Lynn@Self Sufficient Home Acre
Mary@Homegrown on the Hill
and Me @Clearwater Farm Journal


Each host will feature her own picks from the posts linked the previous week. that means your chances of being featured are even better! Visit each of the blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)

Featured Post:

Cheese made by me-Ricotta Cheese from Life with the Crew

 
2.17 #11

Congratulations! We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured blogger this week. If you were featured, grab the button to display proudly on your blog.




 Clearwater Farm Journal




You are invited to share your original posts on: Homesteading, livestock care, gardening, environmentally friendly farming, self sufficiency, preparedness, off grid living, healthy recipes, home remedies and herbal concoctions, green living, homeschooling, food preservation, environmentally friendly crafts and home decor, photo posts of natural living and homesteading subjects! Now that’s a lot of information to share! If it fits any of these topics, we want to hear about it.  There are just a few little rules to follow:
  • Family friendly posts only. 
  • Please, no posts dedicated to advertising products.
  • Link as many appropriate posts as you’d like each week. Older posts are great too.
  • Please visit as many of the other posts as you can and let them know you found them here!
  • If you wish to be featured, you must link back to the hop (on either host’s blog) with the button or a text link, and please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and/or Pinterest!
  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business. 
  • Only share content that you have created.
  • Please remember that the whole idea of a blog hop is to visit the other bloggers and make connections and friendships…so share the linky love!
  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post if you are featured. We will also include one photo from your post in the interest of sending visitors your way 
                 To keep things fresh on the Hop PLEASE do not share a post that you have previously linked up.
Any post that does not fit in the guidelines will be removed. Thank you for participating!!
Clearwater Farm Journal

 




Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Farm Life: Unedited Version




Poop is a part of farm life! Not my favorite part, I might add. But it is a reality.

When we first moved out here we couldn't wait to add some animals to our farm. After adding just a few we realized animal poop aka manure is a part of farm life.  When we were thinking of farm names Mike always joked about calling it "Poopy Boots Farm".  It might have been funny, if it wasn't so true. It does take some getting used to.

Normally, the sheep live out on pasture so we don't have pens to clean. With  some lambs being born  in February, extra Rams, and with the bitter cold weather we have had sheep in the barn. We are going to have quite a mess to clean up in the Spring! I am not looking forward to it.
Sheep manure really packs down so shovels won't cut it.We are going to have to use the tractor to get it cleaned out.
On a side note sheep poop doesn't stink, at least not as much as their farm counterparts the chicken and the cow. Just another reason to like sheep.

On a positive note, we will have plenty to add to a compost pile for the raised beds this year.

I am not much of a gardening expert but there are a lot of resources online that share the benefits of sheep manure in the garden. This article being one-

Benefits of Sheep Manure

I still  prefer when they can stay out on pasture and fertilize the fields without any help from me but I am trying to remain positive about all of the extra work this winter has created.

Aren't you glad you stopped by the Blog today? :)






 






 



Thursday, February 20, 2014

HomeAcre Hop #58




It is amazing how warm 41 degrees can feel! Sunshine and double digit temps do a lot for the spirits. 
We had a few Tunis ewes lamb this month, we are now done with lambing until April.  These are the first Tunis babies we have had on the farm. They are too cute, and we are having too much fun!

We had a great month of Giveaways!

Last weeks winner of the Pumpkin Seed Soaps was Denise B.

I would like to thank everyone for their participation in the giveaways and the weekly Hop. I enjoy the post that you all share!

HomeAcre  Host:
Kathi@Oak Hill Homestead
Nancy@Prudent Living on the Home Front
Ann@ Summer Acres
Jenny@Black Fox Homestead
Lisa Lynn@Self Sufficient Home Acre
Mary@Homegrown on the Hill
and Me @Clearwater Farm Journal


Each host will feature her own picks from the posts linked the previous week. that means your chances of being featured are even better! Visit each of the blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)

Featured Post:

 Sprouting Alfalfa in a Jar from Lady Lee's Home

Sprouting-Alfalfa_0217

Congratulations! We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured blogger this week. If you were featured, grab the button to display proudly on your blog.

Clearwater Farm Journal
You are invited to share your original posts on: Homesteading, livestock care, gardening, environmentally friendly farming, self sufficiency, preparedness, off grid living, healthy recipes, home remedies and herbal concoctions, green living, homeschooling, food preservation, environmentally friendly crafts and home decor, photo posts of natural living and homesteading subjects! Now that’s a lot of information to share! If it fits any of these topics, we want to hear about it.  There are just a few little rules to follow:
  • Family friendly posts only. 
  • Please, no posts dedicated to advertising products.
  • Link as many appropriate posts as you’d like each week. Older posts are great too.
  • Please visit as many of the other posts as you can and let them know you found them here!
  • If you wish to be featured, you must link back to the hop (on either host’s blog) with the button or a text link, and please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and/or Pinterest!
  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business. 
  • Only share content that you have created.
  • Please remember that the whole idea of a blog hop is to visit the other bloggers and make connections and friendships…so share the linky love!
  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post if you are featured. We will also include one photo from your post in the interest of sending visitors your way 
                 To keep things fresh on the Hop PLEASE do not share a post that you have previously linked up.

Any post that does not fit in the guidelines will be removed. Thank you for participating!!
Clearwater Farm Journal

Monday, February 17, 2014

Wet Nurse




We have a ewe who lost her lamb, her udder is full. I was milking out some colostrum to freeze, (nice to have on hand) and if you have ever tried milking a sheep, you know that it isn't the easiest thing to accomplish.

Light bulb moment:

We have a ram lamb that has a mother, but her milk supply isn't that impressive. 
He isn't gaining the weight he should. 
Why not let him do the job for me?
This could work. 

The ewe fussed a little, but the ram lamb figured it out in about 2 seconds. 
Ewes udder emptied out, Ram lamb packing on some extra calories. 
Win, win.

The only one that isn't thrilled about the arrangement is the ram lamb's mom. She isn't too happy about him leaving the pen and she puts up a pretty big fuss. She gets him back after just a few minutes, so she will survive.

Problem Solved.


Our Very First Tunis Ewe Lambs




We came home from a weekend getaway and found two new little girls in the barn. 

We have been waiting for these last two ewes to have their lambs for a while  now, of course they waited to lamb while we were gone!

One ewe was set up in a pen with her twin ewe lambs. Sadly, the other ewe had a very large single lamb that didn't make it.  Sometimes it works out that way, hard reality.

Needless to say, the sheep were well taken care of while Mike and I were gone. 

We are now done with lambing until Spring!



Friday, February 14, 2014

Shepherdess Notes: Culling

Our first sheep raising experience was 4 bred Romney Ewes. About 4 months after we bought them home, they started having lambs! What an experience that was. They seemed to know what they were doing. We just got to sit back and enjoy :)
Out of the four, three were productive ewes. One, did not have lambs that year, or any year after that.
Our first four ewes lived here until they died! Whether they were productive or not.

As our sheep numbers grew over the years, we came to a realization that we couldn't keep them all.

We were introduced to the concept of culling. Culling is a tool used to determine which sheep stay and which ones should go.  There are a lot of factors that you take in consideration when you are growing your flock. As I mentioned before, we couldn't keep them all, we were not running a petting zoo, I had to put my big Farm Girl Pants on and make some hard decisions.

First thing I did was quit naming all of my lambs. I do have sheep with names, but they are older girls who have been here a while.
Second, I had to decide what type of flock I wanted.

I knew I wanted a productive one.  So, that meant keeping ewes who produced lambs, had good mothering instincts, and could be raised on pasture throughout the year and keep their condition. We call them, easy keepers".

It cost just as much to raise an "easy keeper" , as it does to raise a ewe, who does not produce lambs, or is a lousy mother, or does not keep her condition well.

Some of the guidelines given for culling from the flock are-
1) open ewes (they do not produce lambs)
2) poor mothering instincts (usually means you are raising those lambs on bottles)
3) poor disposition (hard to handle, don't respect the fence, ornery)
4) poor condition (can't keep up with the rest of the flock)
5) Health issues (mastitis is one example)
6) Old ewes

I do pretty well with all but number 6- I haven't gotten to the point , when they hit a certain age, they are let go. I have a few ewes who are past their prime.

FACT: Raising sheep cost money, without unlimited funds, we have to be selective. We have a healthy respect for our animals, we take care of them as best we can. But, they are not pets. A reality we learned early on.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

HomeAcre Hop #57 and Giveaway

  Week 4 of the Anniversary Giveaway!

The Giveaway Extravaganza Continues!

Thank you for helping us celebrate our Anniversary for the last month! And Thanks to all of the co-hosts of The HomeAcre Hop for sponsoring all these great giveaways!

Congratulations, Gertrude E. the winner of the Etsy Gift Card and Year Round Gardener!

 We're back this week with the cool book The Weekend Homesteader and a 3 pack of pretty gloves for the ladies!

Our Sponsors This Week:

Sandra from Clearwater Farm

Nancy from Prudent Living on The Homefront

 

 

HomeAcre  Host:
Kathi@Oak Hill Homestead
Nancy@Prudent Living on the Home Front
Ann@ Summer Acres
Jenny@Black Fox Homestead
Lisa Lynn@Self Sufficient Home Acre
Mary@Homegrown on the Hill
and Me @Clearwater Farm Journal


Each host will feature her own picks from the posts linked the previous week. that means your chances of being featured are even better! Visit each of the blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)

Featured Post:

 

Congratulations! We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured blogger this week. If you were featured, grab the button to display proudly on your blog.
Clearwater Farm Journal

You are invited to share your original posts on: Homesteading, livestock care, gardening, environmentally friendly farming, self sufficiency, preparedness, off grid living, healthy recipes, home remedies and herbal concoctions, green living, homeschooling, food preservation, environmentally friendly crafts and home decor, photo posts of natural living and homesteading subjects! Now that’s a lot of information to share! If it fits any of these topics, we want to hear about it.  There are just a few little rules to follow:
  • Family friendly posts only. 
  • Please, no posts dedicated to advertising products.
  • Link as many appropriate posts as you’d like each week. Older posts are great too.
  • Please visit as many of the other posts as you can and let them know you found them here!
  • If you wish to be featured, you must link back to the hop (on either host’s blog) with the button or a text link, and please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and/or Pinterest!
  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business. 
  • Only share content that you have created.
  • Please remember that the whole idea of a blog hop is to visit the other bloggers and make connections and friendships…so share the linky love!
  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post if you are featured. We will also include one photo from your post in the interest of sending visitors your way 
To keep things fresh on the Hop PLEASE do not share a post that you have previously linked up.
Any post that does not fit in the guidelines will be removed. Thank you for participating!!

Clearwater Farm Journal

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

9,125 Days



9,125 Days later- Still Married to My Best Friend!

Lucky Girl!

Celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary Today.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ravellenic Games, 2014-Go!






 Cabin Fever is in full swing! 

Thankfully, I have been keeping my hands busy with a new project.

I signed up for Ravellenic Games 2014, an  Olympic Party on Ravelry.

I decided for my challenge I am going to make a blanket.
49 squares in 16 days. I know that is a tall order, and I am pretty sure that I am not going to complete the project in time, but it will be interesting to see how many squares I do manage to get done.

The snow isn't going anywhere anytime soon, so in the meantime...

You will find me knitting squares!

Anyone else signed up for the Ravellenic Games?


Friday, February 7, 2014

Shepherdess Notes: Tube Feeding a Lamb




Lambing has started on the farm! The ewes usually do a great job taking care of her lamb/lambs. Normally, we go out and find a lamb, cleaned off, standing and nursing. No help from the shepherdess. At this point and time, we dip the lambs umbilical cord in iodine, we weigh the lambs, and check the ewes udder and strip her teats to make sure the wax plug is gone and the lamb is getting colostrum.

On occasion you run into problems. 
The ewe is rejecting the lamb.
The lamb is cold and is not actively trying to nurse.
The lamb is weak and does not have a strong sucking reflex. 

Our first lamb of 2014, had some difficulty, I found him outside the barn and he was cold. Thankfully, a towel and some gentle rubbing dried him off and he was able to stand but he was having a hard time nursing. We helped him along but after a couple hours he was still not actively nursing and his head was droopy (sign of a weak lamb) and his sucking reflex was weak. I decided to tube feed him. I milked the ewe (not easy) and was able to get some colostrum.
After being fed, he showed marked improvement within a short amount of time. I tube fed him two more times over the next 12 hours to make sure he was getting an adequate amount of colostrum. 

Yesterday evening, he was nursing on his own. Checked again today and he is still actively nursing. I will continue to keep a close eye on him over the next couple of days. 

Tube feeding is a life saving skill, that should be learned if you are raising lambs (and goats). 

The first time I heard about it, my first reaction was " I could never do that!". But, like with so many other things, I thought I could "never' do, I did learn. A lamb in trouble can be a great motivation.

Don't get me wrong, the first time I realized I was going to have to tube feed a lamb,  I was terrified! But as with anything else, it gets easier each time you do it. 

Here is a great tutorial on how to tube feed a lamb:

Tube Feeding a Lamb (Purdue University)

 photo number2sig_zps2f1f6501.png

Thursday, February 6, 2014

HomeAcre Hop #56 and Giveaway!

Peppermint Bath & Body Collection from Pumpkin Seed Soaps!

Pumpkin Seed Soaps Giveaway!

Help Us Celebrate Week 3 of our Anniversary Bash!

pumpkin ad 2 300
 

The HomeAcre Hop turned 1 and we're having a great time giving away wonderful products to commemorate the event! This week's giveaway is sponsored by Peggy from Pumpkin Seed Soaps! Peggy is saving all of the proceeds from her Etsy sales to fund the adoption of a little boy from Uganda!

Peppermint Body Butter!

Enter our giveaway for a chance to try her Peppermint Bath & Body Collection for free! Please be sure to stop by and visit her Etsy shop for more great, handmade in the USA, environmentally friendly products!

Peppermint Sugar Scrub!

Maybe you'd like to order something special for your Valentine?! Pumpkin Seed Soaps is a family run shop that helps support your fellow Americans. :)

*This is not a paid advertisement! Peggy sent free products for Lisa to review and she is donating this wonderful collection to go to one lucky reader! Please enter for your chance to win below!
 




Congratulations Terressa Z, our Week #1 Giveaway Winner!

HomeAcre  Host:
Kathi@Oak Hill Homestead
Nancy@Prudent Living on the Home Front
Ann@ Summer Acres
Jenny@Black Fox Homestead
Lisa Lynn@Self Sufficient Home Acre
and Me @Clearwater Farm Journal
Mary@Homegrown on the Hill


Each host will feature her own picks from the posts linked the previous week. that means your chances of being featured are even better! Visit each of the blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)

Featured Post:

Home Sugaring Preparation from Homespun Seasonal Living

home sugaring preparation - homespun seasonal living


Congratulations! We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured blogger this week. If you were featured, grab the button to display proudly on your blog.

Clearwater Farm Journal

You are invited to share your original posts on: Homesteading, livestock care, gardening, environmentally friendly farming, self sufficiency, preparedness, off grid living, healthy recipes, home remedies and herbal concoctions, green living, homeschooling, food preservation, environmentally friendly crafts and home decor, photo posts of natural living and homesteading subjects! Now that’s a lot of information to share! If it fits any of these topics, we want to hear about it.  There are just a few little rules to follow:
  • Family friendly posts only. 
  • Please, no posts dedicated to advertising products.
  • Link as many appropriate posts as you’d like each week. Older posts are great too.
  • Please visit as many of the other posts as you can and let them know you found them here!
  • If you wish to be featured, you must link back to the hop (on either host’s blog) with the button or a text link, and please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and/or Pinterest!
  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business. 
  • Only share content that you have created.
  • Please remember that the whole idea of a blog hop is to visit the other bloggers and make connections and friendships…so share the linky love!
  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post if you are featured. We will also include one photo from your post in the interest of sending visitors your way 
To keep things fresh on the Hop PLEASE do not share a post that you have previously linked up.
Any post that does not fit in the guidelines will be removed. Thank you for participating!!

Clearwater Farm Journal


 photo number2sig_zps2f1f6501.png

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

So it Begins!


  
Here is the first lamb of 2014, a 13 pound Tunis Ram.

He had a pretty rough start. 

When I was pulling up to the house, I noticed something small behind  the barn. I slowed down the car-it was dark red, but still couldn't tell what it was. It took a minute before I realized it was a lamb. What was a lamb doing behind the barn?  I hurried up the drive and ran into the barn to find an upset mama ewe trying to open the barn door. I made my way over and sure enough, her lamb was on the other side of the door. There is a small opening at the bottom of the door and he had managed to fall out! I fetched the little guy and put him and mama in a stall. 

He is having a hard time figuring out the nursing thing. We have been having to assist. We normally do not have to do that. We are cutting him a break since he had such a rough start in life! 
We are hoping he will be okay when he gets warmed up.  To help that along I am making him a lamb coat using a sweater sleeve from the wool sweaters I have been felting.
I am hoping he will be nursing and bouncing around in no time.


So starts the 2014 Lambing Season!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Six More Weeks for Craft Projects

I took a knitting class a while back. The project she used to teach, was a scarf that  used the knit and pearl stitch.

I attempted the scarf several times but always ended up making too many mistakes that I didn't know how to fix. They all ended up in the scrap pile!  After making several other simpler scarves, I went back to the one from class. I made my daughter one for Christmas, there are a few mistakes but overall it was a success. She took it a step further and made it into an infinity scarf.
Here she is, bundled up and ready to go outside to build a snowman!

I do not have a pattern for it. It was just K3, P3 as wide as you want it. I made this one close to 60 inches long.


If you trust the Ground Hog, it looks like we have six more weeks of winter coming. I guess if I want to keep a positive attitude, I can look at it as more time for those knitting and craft projects.  I  still haven't found  a new knitting project but I have officially started my sweater blanket. I spent the weekend  felting sweaters and cutting squares. I can see right now I will be browsing thrift shops for more sweaters. You go through them pretty quick!

Are you working on a project to keep cabin fever at bay?

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