Tuesday, April 15, 2014

King of the Castle

Big wind on the farm yesterday.  Blew down my satellite internet dish off the chimney.

Mommy sheep and their babies were hunkered down in their jugs.

A nice opportunity to play King of the Castle!

Monday, April 7, 2014


Here are 4 ewes and their 9 lambs in a hardening pen. That is, they have been moved from their lambing jugs (pens where individual mothers bond with their lambs for a few days) and into a combined group but still not into the bigger flock.

This is where the mothers and lambs get some experience matching themselves up correctly in the bigger group.

In late spring pasture lambing I skip these steps as the paddocks are big enough that the ewes each pick their own area and will gradually move into the group as they are ready. In that case I only bring them to the barn if remedial attention is required - such as the mother isn't bonding well.

But lambing at this time of year, the lambs all drop in the barn yard, and from there I bring them in and pen them out of the elements.

I'll leave this group together for several days and then let them outside (to a different yard from the ewes who are yet to lamb).

In the background you can see a ewe poking her head through a gate - this is one of the two ewes who surprise lambed on Boxing Day. Their lambs are now weaned and those two ewes will stay in a pen for about two weeks on very poor feed - so they will stop producing milk and their udders will dry up. Needless to say they aren't impressed and the ewes with babies are getting a nice rich grain supplement while they are munching on old hay!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Khatadin Dorper Cross Lambs

Here are some of the lambs born recently. These are the only two ewes that graced me with a view other than their derrieres.

This morning it is bitter cold with blistering winds. I thank God that no lambs chose to be morn on this morning! Above zero temperatures are supposed to return tomorrow, and then they can start up with the being born thing again.

When I first started with sheep I used to plan for April lambing. After a few years of April snow storms, freezing winds and getting up in the night to check the barn for newborn chilled lambs I switched to mid-May lambing on pasture. The latter is still my favoured flock management, but these Khatadin ewes I bought were already bred, (to a Dorper ram) so barn lambing it is for this year!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I think she's done...

I brought the ewe and her wet single lamb into a jug (pen) in the barn this morning. It was a nice day but a lot of other ewes were fussing about and I didn't want to chance mis mothering.

Bonnie had some blood on her face. Not unusual as she often helps clean of the lambs, if the dam allows.

I found it odd that Bonnie didn't follow me into the barn with the mother and baby. So when I was done settling her in I gave another check around the yard. First thing I saw was two afterbirths, so I thought, well I hope Bonnie didn't eat the other lamb. Looked around. Nadda.

I checked on the ewe again. She had a water bag hanging out. It would certainly be odd to pass the after birth first and the water bag second. So I went back to the yard. I couldn't see anything but heard a wee tiny 'maaaa'.  There was lamb number two in a little straw nest, barely visible.

So I picked it (haven't checked gender yet) up and brought it to the barn to rejoin its family.

When I got there, the mother had just plopped out a third lamb.

I think she's done!

(This isn't the ewe I blogged the other day....she's still lounging around looking like so much Jabba the Hutt.)

Let the games begin...


After such a long brutal winter it was a relief to finally get my garden planted.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Lose It!

Here's a handy app I came upon about a year ago. Its free, although there is an upgrade subscription (I think ~ $35/yr). The free version isn't loaded with ads popping up all over the place, just a single ad, always in the same spot promoting the upgrade. I have it on my android phone, my iPad and my PC. (No blackberry version.)

I used the free app for almost a year then, being pleased, splurged on the upgrade, which allows tracking more nutrients, more reports and such.

Its not a diet - its basically a calculator/journal for tracking all you eat. If you accept the premise that Calories In have to be lower than Calories Out to lose weight, then this kind of app can be very helpful.

In the beginning, I didn't realize there was a PC version and I just had it on my phone and iPad. Keeping track of things basically the same, but on the PC site there are forums, faqs, moderators to help, social networking opportunities for those who want to buddy up or participate in challenges and such. (Not my cup of tea.) But through the reading the forums I was able to 'mature' from simply counting calories in/out, to balancing the nutrients in those calories.

The app isn't perfect, but I have found it helpful. The fact that I pretty much always have my phone in my pocket makes it easy to administer. If I grab something to eat it very easy to punch it in. I don't have to go find a book and look stuff up and write it down.  Just search the database or my list of favourites, click and done.

In Lose It! you enter your age, gender, approximate normal activity level, current weight, your target weight, and the rate of loss (or gain) you would like to achieve (between 0.5 and 2 lbs It calculates how many calories a day you need to take in in order to achieve that goal. If your goal is unrealistic or unhealthy, the daily intake you need for your plan will show up in red instead of green.

If you expend energy over and above your normal level, you can enter that as well and get a calorie credit . Or you can get fancier. (I eventually did.) The app can sync with assorted other health type apps. I wear a FitBit Flex wrist monitor that counts my steps, and I have a Withins wireless bathroom scale that syncs my weights and % body fat data.

As you log what you eat, the nutrients are sorted and calculated. You can set and monitor goals beyond straight calorie count to include proteins,, fats, and carbs, fibre, sugars, salt and more. (This offering is basic on the freebie and more expansive on the upgrade.)

My smart phone came preloaded with a zillion useless apps. In addition, my carrier keeps adding other useless apps that I'll never use and that just clutter up my phone. But Lose It! is one app I'm glad I found.

I have no relationship or business interest in this app - just a satisfied customer!)