First Kid of 2012

March1

It seems like everyone is birthing late this spring. I’ve got several ladies overdue. I went out to the barn this morning for another “check” eager to get back into the warm house. I was sure there wasn’t going to be any baby activity. I looked into the goat stall to see a little black spot. I shined my flashlight onto this sweet thing born probably about 15 minutes before my arrival.
snow 1

It’s a boy! Our first baby of the year, and my first EVER angora kid. The other kids in the house were excited too.

snow 2

He’s been named “Snow” by the kids (apt name for a black goat eh?). He’s snuggled in the barn with his mama this morning.

snow 3

Cyprus Helps with Bunnies

January23

We sell a litter or two of angora rabbits every year.  This improves our bloodlines and our fiber production.  I like to sell rabbits to new rabbit owners that are looking at getting a fiber animal that will double as a pet.  I know people are going to want to hold their bunnies.  Whenever we have a litter of bunnies, the kids are on rabbit duty.  They are in charge of playing with them frequently so that they are used to being held and handled.  That way, when the rabbits are weaned and go to their new homes, they don’t have to be “tamed” or “calmed.”

Here is Cyprus working on his rabbit duty.  He had just had an upset with his sister, and you can see how comforting the bunny is to him.

Shearing the Sheep and Goats

February17

Sheep are essentially field decorations except for two or thee times a year when you have to shear them, lamb them or harvest them.  Other than that, they’d much rather be left alone.

This year, all the ewes are bred, and they are out on pasture.  They had been shorn at odd times last year and one or two were actually shedding.  I called the shearer out to get the fleeces of the sheep and the goats in a way that would render them useful for spinning.

I have clippers, and I knew I was capable of shearing myself, but I had to do an emergency shearing of the ram back in October when he got caught in some blackberries, and though I did get a usable fleece off him, I could have done a much better job.  I figured that I would watch and learn and hopefully build up my confidence in my ability to do yet another thing around the farm.

Boy! What an experience!  The person doing the shearing was fairly new at it, so she was having trouble doing it.  I learned quickly the general idea of how to do it, and realized that I really was capable enough to do the task.  She was able to get the blanket (the back and side wool) off everyone intact, and I am now the proud owner of some very stunning fiber!

That said, shearing 10 animals took almost 8 hours, so it was a LONG drawn out process.

Happily, I have some amazingly beautiful raw wool now available.  I’m happy with the variety we ended up with.  I’ve got 4 gorgeous Shetland fleeces.  I got 2 Pygora fleeces and3 Angora (mohair) fleeces.  This is all on top of the rabbit fiber that came off the rabbits last week!