Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring. Finally.

And the mud that goes with it.  Just a quick post here, something nice to share:

We're still very much in the experimental stage with sheep; but so far; I'm really liking the Icelandics.  This is Flora, and the first two lambs of the year, one girl, one boy.  And yes- this is all the cover they had; all winter; and all the cover they have for lambing.  Icelandics actually do poorly inside.  I did tie a tarp up into the pines yesterday, to shed rain, in case they cared- so far; they've sniffed it, stuck their heads under; but nobody is interested in getting out of the rain.  The lambs were - just there, up and dry and walking (wobbly) on Friday morning; they're about 36 hours old in these photos.  One of the things telling me they're healthy- they're bedded in the shade, even though there's sun available.

All this tangly wood is Scotch Pine; selections from the day when we grew Christmas trees here.  We've been thinning them all winter- and the sheep eat needles and top bark avidly.  The won't touch the bark from the bottom 3 feet of the tree.  Really.

The ewe lamb is smaller than the ram; and she has floppy ears.  Not sure what to make of that.  According to the info on the web, freemartins in sheep are very rare.

"I've got my eye on you."

This is Baldr, our ram.  We've never had any serious problems with "ram" behavior from our Icelandics- but, the old farm wisdom holds- "never turn your back on a ram."  We try not to.  Baldr will eat corn out of my hand; very carefully; no threat to fingers.  If he's in the right mood, he'll let you scratch his ears; though they're very hard to get at these days.  I was struck by the exceptional symmetry of his face here.  No question, he's focused on me.  I've seen them give the same "focus" to our farm dogs, as a flock - with the result that the dogs' tails went between their legs, and they took off.  I'm hoping they have the same effect on coyotes.  The mule is not working out; she refuses to stay with the sheep.