April 29, 2013

Spring - where is it?

I am not sure what has happened, but in the last three days we have had gusty winds, strong enough to blow the chairs off the deck,  coupled with below average temperatures!  Grass is always a problem for us, as we are still in the process of re-developing pastures and with the weather we have had in the last couple of weeks, everything seems to standing still. Unfortunately, we have all added our own pressures  on our pastures -Mike raises Belted Galloway cattle, and pastures Large Black pigs.  Jen has her own herd of Jersey and Jersey cross animals as well as about 150 pasture raised laying hens and then there are the meat birds who are also pasture raised and then we get to the sheep ... so our pastures are stretched to the limit. 

We have had some winter damage and less than good catches on last year's seedings.  So, I am trying to figure out how  I can downsize the sheep flock to ease some of the pressure that we are expecting this summer. 

You will notice that I have listed the Charollais ram that we bought last fall and hope to list the BFL x NCC mule ewes for sale as well in the next couple of weeks.  Much as it pains me to do so, I am also going to cut back drastically on my BFLs and Gotlands .  I will be identifying ewes, yearling ewes, and lambs to sell this spring and summer so if you are interested in getting started in either BFLs or Gotlands, this might be the opportunity that you are looking for.  Watch the "Sale" pages for updates as I begin the process of  identifying and photographing the animals that I am prepared to part with!  

April 22, 2013

Lambing completed!

We have had an outstanding lambing season here at Ranfurly Farm.  There are 47 lambs on the ground from 21 ewes so we are looking at a lambing percentage of around 225%.  With nine sets of triplets arriving this spring, it is hardly surprising that the percentage is so high!

On the left, twin ewe lambs out of my Gigrin Kite grandson Norman.

BlueDragon Grandson

Blue Dragon granddaughter

One of the Gotland ram lambs out of Marty - look at the fleece on his already!
 Lambing started on March 10th with a set of triplets, then absolutely nothing happened for 10 days!  By March 20th, I was getting pretty tired of getting up at night to check on the ewes to find them all happily chewing their cuds while their bellies and bags continued to expand!  Since we had to be away overnight for a family wedding on March 23 this was getting a bit worrisome. Three sets of lambs arrived on the 22nd and there were at least six more ewes who seemed likely to lamb at any moment as we headed out the door.    Poor Paul ( a friend from Golden Ears) looked after chores while we were gone, and I don't think he slept at all while we were away. It is just one more excellent example of  Murphy's Law in action.  It took about a week for me to catch up but things  when we got home but after that things settled down and we had the bulk of the flock lambed out by April 6th.  I think that there were only two ewes that went into their second cycle so we were all done by the 17th.

 We had the usual number of issues - a tail first lamb (survived!), a head first lamb (didn't make it) and a sidewise lamb in a set of triplets that is holding its own.

 I don't know what I would do without Mike's expertise in these matters, he is an absolute master at sorting out what is going on and getting the lambs out alive.

For those of you wanting to know what might be available for sale in the fall, here is a summary of our arrivals!

Bluefaced Leicesters:
From my Blue Dragon son:  6 ewe lambs and 2 ram lambs
From my Gigrin Red Kite grandson:  5 ewe lambs (one is black patterned) and 4 ram lambs
( My coloured BFL X ewe had a coloured ewe lamb - she is 7/8 BFL)

All from "Marty"  5 ewe lambs (2- 62% and  3-82%) , 5 ram lambs and 1 wether.

Our grand experiment this year was to breed my BFL Mule ewes and 4 BFL ewes to a Charollais ram.  The BFLxCharollais lambs are as long as freight trains and growing like stink.  The Charollais lambs for the mules are not quite a long but have the same growthiness.  There are 6 ewe lambs which might make good commercial prospects and 11 wethers in this group.

I will post photos in the next few days as the sun is finally shining and that makes everything look better!