Our new turkey and his “mother” hen
White meat turkeys and Maran chicks sharing a pen with baby turkey and his foster mother.
We decided not to incubate our Narragansett eggs this year as the hens decided to set. We started with around 9 eggs in April and eggs got eaten by rodents, broken accidently, etc and the turkey hens gave up, but we still had three eggs left under our Buff Orpington hen. Our young Golden Seabright bantam hen decided to join her in the nest and then the Cuckoo Maran hen decided to go broody too. One of the eggs developed a crack so I discarded it and another was broken the next day, but had a turkey embryo in it. With only one egg left from the April batch, I was about to give up when the turkeys started to lay again so I put the new eggs under the broody hens.
I checked on Friday quickly after work and only saw two eggs, but we were working on other projects and I didn’t think to look for the broken egg until later. When I went back I found an egg shell and pulled it out, but the hens were really angry so I picked them up and found a little turkey poult, alive and well and already dry. He wasn’t 100% steady on his feet yet, so I left him with the hens over night.
Saturday morning I tried transferring him into the chick pen with the banty hen, but it wasn’t working. When I brought the Orpington down with him, you could tell she had a better bond. I haven’t actually seen him eat and drink so I dunked his head in water this morning to be sure and got my hands pecked for it, but they seem to be doing fine. I’m now more worried about the older chicks as the mother hen is a bit bossy, but they seem to have split the pen and both have access to the food/water.
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Bianca with two day old “Micro-lamb”
We had our last Icelandic lamb this week, but he was born extremely small to a new, inexperienced mother in the middle of the night. I was up from 1 am till almost three trying to make sure he got some milk. Bianca, his mother, didn’t want to stand still and “micro-lamb” was not too energetic an eater. I finally milked her into a syringe and fed him with that to get his energy up and by the time I got home from work – at noon, they were doing okay together and I went back to bed for a while. Of course, today when I put the sheep in the pasture, Micro-lamb stayed behind while Bianca went out to graze, but I put them back in the stall together for bed time.
We also lost one of our crossbred quads being raised as triplets. His mother has a clear preference for her ewe lamb and the boys were not doing well. I started supplementing some of the needier triplets including these two with extra hay and soybean meal, but the white ram slowly got worse instead of better, although the extra feeding seemed to help the others who are doing better now. He stopped eating last night and despite my efforts, died this morning.
I can’t complain, overall, as we haven’t lost that many lambs this year, but it always feels bad when you have to bury one you’ve spend a lot of time caring for.
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The 2013 lambing season is coming to an end soon at Moonstruck Farm. We have one Icelandic yearling, Bianca, who is still pregnant and 4 who don’t seem to be. Our Blue Face Leicester/Lincoln cross ewe doesn’t seem to be pregnant either, but we hope she is. Fergie is really tall so maybe our young ram wasn’t able to breed her.
As of today, we have had 38 lambs born since 2/21 out of 21 ewes and sired by 4 different rams.
19 crosses, 18 purebred Icelandics and 1 purebred Tunis ewe lamb.
2 died and one left to be raised as a bottle lamb at another farm.
9 rams and 9 ewes
9 white, 2 black and white spotted, 1 black badgerface, 3 spotted black mouflon, 2 black gray, 1 solid moorit (died)
8 sets of twins and 3 singles
11 rams, 8 ewes
1 set of quads (1 died)
2 sets of triplets
2 sets of twins
5 singles to yearling mothers
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Last night I knew a young ewe, Fern, was in labor but went to bed hoping for the best. I woke up at almost midnight and went out to check on her. She was trying to have her lamb, but it seemed stuck with just it’s nose and a foot showing. I went in and got supplies so I could examine her and when I did, I found the other foot and straightened it out. The lamb was big and the ewe was a bit small so I carefully worked it’s head and then it’s shoulders free. Fern pushed and I pulled and we got a big white ewe lamb out. Before going bed, I waited until she cleaned the lamb, both got on thier feet and I checked to make sure milk was flowing and left them to bond.
This morning the lamb looks great and she weighed in at 8.5 pounds. The lamb is 75% Icelandic and the other 25% is from her BFL/Lincoln cross grandmother. She seems to have the dark shadings on her muzzle and face of a longwool breed and is very pretty with a sweet sounding voice. Based on her breeding, we are probably not going to keep her though.
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Lavender’s half Icelandic twins, born 3-22-13
Brigetta’s purebred Icelandic twins, born 3-22-13
This evening not long after getting back from a family dinner out, we had two sets of twins born almost simultaneously. Brigetta, a purebred Icelandic ewe, had lambs sired by Rusty, a homebred ram lamb who is moorit gray and carries spotting. Now we know that Brigetta also carries spotting as both lambs are spotted. They are still wet, but it looks like the ram lamb may be black mouflon patterned, but we’ll be able to tell more when they are dry. Brigetta has a very large udder and teats, so I spent some time working with the lambs to make sure they learned how to latch on and get some milk . This is Brigetta’s first set of twins after 3 single’s in a row. She also has better than average parasite resistance in my flock so I’m really pleased she had two energetic lambs, an 8 pound ewe lamb and an 8.5 pound ram lamb.
Our new young Icelandic ram, Rambo, also sired some crossbred twins who were born today. Although we had put out Ralph, our yearling ram, to breed our larger crossbreds and Jacob ewes, he was not able to breed all of them before he needed to leave for his new home in mid-October. These lambs are out of our Jacob ewe, Lavender. They are also a ram and ewe and both weigh 8 pounds. Lavender needed some assistance with the second lamb as he had only a head presented and she wasn’t making progress. I examined her and found one leg and we delivered him with the other front leg pointed backwards. After a short rest while she cleaned him, she was up nursing both. It appears that Rambo probably carries spotting!
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This morning, we had 3 new lambs waiting for me at morning feeding time!
Jade’s purebred Tunis ewe had a single ewe lamb. Jade is happy about that because she can show the ewe lamb at the fair in 4H. The Tunis lamb looks pretty good but is a bit slow compared to the other two we had, but her mother is less experienced and she is smaller at 8.5 pounds. We made sure she got a good meal and she is settling pretty well.
Kelly, our Texel/Finn ewe had 10.5 pound twins, a white ewe and a white ram with a brown spot on his back. They were damp and already fed and jumping around this morning when I found them.
The two new families are sharing a stall with some of my younger ewes who get fed separately. I had to toss two of the young ewes out with the main flock as they were butting the new lambs too much, but the other two are more tolerant and got to stay.
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Chocolate, and lambs
Chocolate, our Texel/Dorper ewe, had quads today while Kelly was out at lunch with a friend (one had already died or was born dead). He found them at feeding time and immediately called me to come home from work because they were not drinking – he said they were wandering around acting dumb. Actually, the milk had not let down, so they were a bit frustrated, cold and hungry. I sent Kelly to go buy colostrum, and thawed what I had, but I also worked with Chocolate to get her to let down her milk. It took some time, but the milk started finally and at least we have some backup colostrum in case we have issues in the future. I thawed my jar of 2012 colostrum and gave it to the three chilly and hungry little guys ASAP.
Their father is a mouflon Icelandic ram, Ralph, who carries spotting. There were two rams and two ewes born but the one black ewe was dead. The remaining ewe is the spotted one. She’s the loudest and fussiest – I’m thinking she was born last of the three.
Chocolate and her new lambs!
She may be small but she’s energetic!
Last year, Chocolate had twin rams, a black one and a white one. She’s a super sweet ewe with a good history of mothering and should be able to handle raising her three little lambs. I always worrry about triplets, but she looks like she’s on the job!
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