Sheep Breeding Ends

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After Killarney destroyed the inside of the barn I decided it was time for sheep breeding season to end. So this morning we woke up and got ready to break up the breeding groups.

That meant leaving Molly in the house so the Commander and the #3 son could drag Killarney across the yard to join Hoss. Getting Lara and Azalea to the other side was easy, all I needed was a pan of grain and they trotted peacefully alongside me as I walked back. Sara circled behind just to keep then moving but it was really easy.

The worst part of the end of breeding season is getting the rams back together, they usually try to kill each other trying to reestablish dominance.

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Hoss and Killarney fought it out in close quarters for quite a while but in the end Hoss wound up as boss – again. At one point the Commander went out and found the two of them with their horns entangled, doofuses!

When we put them up tonight they were tired, cut up, bleeding from several places, and still stinky, but I think they are back to getting along. Thank goodness breeding season is over.

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Sick Today – Sick and Tired

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Both the Commander and I were home today with the flu. Body aches, coughing, chills, the whole 9 yards.

Of course Killarney picks today to break down the fence and spend a little “personal” time with Bablo. Dominic wasn’t happy but he was lucky to have avoided Killarney’s attentions.

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The Commander took Sara and Molly out to handle the situation. He got Killarney by the horns while Molly got a mouthful of his flank, and proceeded to drag him back to his harem – why would he leave? The fence was bent back into place and blocked with the wheel barrow, let’s hope it holds till we feel better. The Commander mentioned that he noticed a huge chunk of Killarney wool on the ground outside, seems Molly wasn’t fooling around.

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I love this picture. It had nothing to do with today’s activities except that it gives me a sense of peace and calm. Something of high importance when you feel unwell.

Twas the Night Before the Storm!

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We are expecting a major snow even over the next 2 days with 6-10″ of snow in the forecast. We were very fortunate that our hay guy was available today to deliver 100 bales so we could top things off in the barns.

The loft in the buck barn is now full! I think this loft holds around 18 bales.

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Dominic is very happy. When I went out to feed the boys this morning Dominic peeked out from inside the igloo, I’m happy that he has discovered how much warmer it is in there.

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The chickens were happy to see the hay guy because that means they get the extra sweepings tossed into their coop area.

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Killarney has all kinds of scars and swelling above his eyes from the ramming sessions that the boys were having last month. He has also been ramming the fence a lot lately to try and scare Bablo and Dominic away from his girls.

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The girls sheep barn is full to the rafters, I think over 100 bales are up in the loft safe and dry.

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Gardenia, Kia, and Ava are a bit more docile with Killarney running the flock, we will all be happy when the breeding groups are broken up.

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I think Gidget was bred last month on Romeo’s first attempt.

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Addison went into heat yesterday and has been shaking her tail at Romeo for the last two days. Pebbles (black and white) may have been bred a few days ago. She has such a soft voice compared to all the girls.

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Pebbles is my Mini-Alpine and I am really excited to see how much milk she produces next year.

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Romeo is very gentile and pays the girls a lot of attention. Here he is giving Addison kisses.

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I have no idea if Lara has been bred or not but she can’t wait to get back to the rest of the girls so she can be the head of the flock again.

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Hoss is also quite the gentleman as well. He doesn’t get pushy like Killarney or the other boys who were sent to freezer camp, he is still just a fluffy loveable lug.

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The girl’s goat barn is jammed to the rafters as well. I think there is just under 50 bales in the loft here. It should take quite a while for the 7 goats inside to eat it all.

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More kisses for Addison. I might have some problems this year if Gidget gives birth first as the “Queen” likes to make sure everyone knows she is boss.

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The loft in the ram barn is also full, this one holds about 35 bales. Once the breeding groups are broken up only Hoss and Killarney will be hanging out here so it should last quite a while.

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The extra bales that wouldn’t fit into any of the lofts are behind the barrier in the ram barn, a little extra never hurts.

Once the snow hits any hay replenishment has to be done via a wheel barrow traversing ice trails. This is not fun. I think the hay on hand should last us until well into March? I sure hope so.

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Azalea hopes the hay lasts all winter too. She is in with Hoss because Killarney is her father. As the lone Cascade in with two Icelandics she has to struggle a bit with their bossiness, but Hoss has overall been very nice to her.

Segregation

Killarney is doing something very odd, he is rounding up the three girls in his pen and moving them up against the back fence as far away from the other barns as possible.  So whenever I go out to see them they are all standing in the back forty away from shelter, food, and water. 

Is he concerned about little Bablo in the pen next to his?  Bablo sits by the fence and cries and cries to rejoin the flock.  I don’t think he likes sharing space with the two goat boys.

On the other end of the property Laura paces the fence line and calls to the other girls.  She completely ignores Hoss’ attentions so she and Azalia at least get to eat and drink.

The Commander brought Killarney and the girls into the barn just after noon and stalled everyone with food and water, but we aren’t going to get much breeding done with this arrangement.

How do I fix this?  Do I move Bablo in with the girl goats?  Will Killarney get over his obsession? 

Happy White Friday!

 It snowed last night, hard!  It is still snowing.  The snow blower got its first run of the season and we had to salt the driveway as well, yuck.  Happy White Friday!

It was also moving day as the sheep breeding groups were established.  Kia and Avalon were not very excited to see Killarney.

 Killarney on the other hand was very excited to see them!  He was all tongue wagging this and lip curling that – I guess that is supposed to be attractive for sheep.

 The chickens were less than impressed.  So unimpressed were they that most of them refused to leave the coop at all today.  I’m sure the 21* F temperature and -1* F windchill didn’t have anything to do with it.  I had the Commander put some extra food and water inside the coop tonight to make sure they get an opportunity to eat something.

 Juliette and Diablo spent the day outside picking through all the food the chickens didn’t eat.  This will be Juliette’s third Winter so she knows what to expect at least.

 With the rams joining the girls little Bablo needed a place to stay so he is moving in with the goat boys.  I’m sure the smell won’t have any impact the quality of his wool.  I saw Bablo trying to itch his belly on a few of the girls so it definitely time for him to find other quarters. 

 I hate going into the pens when the rams are mingled with the girls, I just don’t trust them.  The girls don’t seem very trusting either as of yet.  The Commander had to bribe everyone with grain to get them into their barns for the evening.

 Laura is used to being the boss so the move to the ram pen to join Hoss has her very agitated.  She is still bigger than him so this will be an interesting situation to monitor.

Poor little Azalia has to be in with Hoss as well because Killarney is her father.  She has never been away from her mother Gardenia so I’m going to have to watch her closely for signs of excessive stress.

Return from Freezer Camp

The rams have returned from Freezer Camp!  I sure hope the family likes mutton.

My new freezer is full of the following:  leg and rack of lamb on the top shelf, lamb chops on the second, roasts on the third, and ground lamb on the bottom.  I estimate we have about 60-70 lbs on ice so it is time to start looking up recipes!

Freezer Camp Departures

The butcher finally came today and took care of Ironwood and Alder.  Neither of them were very friendly and it was time for them to go.  I was hoping they would have left for camp earlier before they went into rut but it was not to be, I hope the meat isn’t too gamey as a result.  I think we will get 60-80 pounds of meat back, let’s hope we like mutton.

Their departure will allow me to break everyone off into breeding groups next week.  The Commander cleaned out the stall today and we just need to hang a few hay racks and things will be ready.

The deer hunters were out in force this morning so I’m hoping they run the wolf pack that has been hanging around off to a different location.  I would hate to lose anyone at this point.

All in all it is kind of a bittersweet day.  I’m happy the two meaner rams are gone and that I can set breeding groups next week, but I also appreciate the sacrifice the two rams made.