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Goats!

Athena 9-14

Athena, out young Kiko doe, was a year old in November. She is not a trouble maker as we had feared from adding goats, but has a charming playful personality.

It’s been a while since I updated this page and our newest additions this year are two Kiko goats. We bought Athena as a 4 month old this spring. She was born in DuBois, PA but her mother died when she was only a month old and the lady who rescued her originally wanted to cut back on meat goats and focus on dairy goats so we were able to buy her. We health tested her and kept her in quarantine for over a month and I was afraid she’d get out of the fence when we let her out with the flock, but luckily she shocked herself several times and quickly learned not to mess with the fence. At first, the big ewes were rough on her, but she’s grown in size and confidence over the summer and seems to be right in the middle of the flock pecking order. We took her to one of Deb Gray’s (of Harvest Hills farm)  Nubian bucks to be bred and she should be due late March.
More recently, we brought home another Kiko doe who was supposed to be bred and was more mature – 2 years and had a kid this year. After coming out of quarantine we discovered that she was in heat thanks to the observation of Butters. our ever attentive Texel ram. I hope I was able to rescue her in time to avoid any cross species accidents, but we are planning to arrange a date for her next weekend with a goat buck when her next cycle is due.
At this point, we are not eager to own a goat buck. Our rams are not aggressive to people ,get along well with each other and don’t destroy property. I’d hate to ruin the positive dynamic they have in the flock by adding a third male.

After last year having disease problems in my tomatoes, I’m excited with how my garden looks this year, despite a few weeds. We have lots of cucumbers and the yellow squash is just starting. The pumpkins and winter squash are getting out of control and the corn and tomatoes are looking vigorous, but not really ready yet. Garlic is already harvested and I have a few onions that need brought in still. I actually made a batch of dill pickles this weekend with our bumper crop of miniature white cucumbers!

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Our small back garden. The squash are moving into the cabbage area.

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We put in a whole two rows of sunflowers, some for seed and some decorative.

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The flower and herb garden.

Mexican Black Sweet Corn

Mexican Black Sweet Corn

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Cucumbers in foreground and the big squash is growing up our compost pile.

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Tomatoes and peppers.

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Miniature white cucumbers.

Snowman and his mother Fern

Snowman and his mother Fern

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Friday with little newborn “Mud”.

We had two single ram lambs born this week. Both were 12 pounds at birth and have a Texel father and the same Icelandic grandfather. They are also very different. “Snowman” born 4/14 was born on clean straw and received a little help coming out since I wanted to go to bed and Fern seemed to be at a standstill with some feet sticking out. Snowman’s mother, Fern is half Icelandic and the other half is longwool background. He has amazingly beautifully white curly fleece – almost glowing with opalescent whiteness. He really resembles his longwool heritage in wool quality, but has the basic Texel look. I am really eager to see how his wool looks as he grows.

“Mud” on the other hand, was born 4/16 outside next to our hay feeder and covered in ugly yellow stuff and mud. I saw him when I got home from work and carried him into the barn in my dry clean only pants very carefully.  His mother, Friday, following with loving concern. His wool is hairy looking and longish. Friday’s mother is 75% Texel and ¼ Finn and Friday grows a very long, Icelandic looking coat, but has a big build like her mother. Mud has the short tail and shaggy coat of the Icelandic, but the face, coloring and chunky build of a Texel.

Chicks are Here!

Chicks are Here!

We sent out some eggs to be hatched and they’re back. The mothers are mostly Black Copper Marans as well as a possible Black Australorpe, Splash Maran and a Cuckoo Maran. The father is a splash Maran, but we also have a Black Copper Maran who was with the hens for a while.

Shearing Day

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Pre shearing pic – Goldie is on the right (white scurred Icelandic). Black Tunis has her triplets and Cotton, the Jacob is in the background left.

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Shorn ewes having their breakfast. Zena, the yearling Icelandic ewe is on the right looking at the camera.

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Two of our Maran roosters enjoying the pleasant moring.

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These two are my favorites so far. They are half Texel and a quarter each BFL and Lincoln. We didn’t shear their mother Fergie today( That’s her butt on the right because I want to let her wool grow longer.

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Butters with Milkquetoast. I sheared Butters a couple weeks ago and Milquetoast should be pregnant by him. She is Kelly’s half Icelandic daughter from last year.

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Butters is our Texel ram. He is very friendly and likes to follow me around.

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Kelly’s lambs are 7/8 Texel and were 13 and 11 pounds at birth, a ram and ewe.

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Orca is half Icelandic, 1/8 Dorper and 3/8 Texel. She’ll be a year old this spring and looks like she’s probably pregnant, but not due right away. She’s very friendly.

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Black Tunis has triplets this year and Mamasita, the grey ewe, is her two year old daughter.

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Grizelda is Mamasita’s twin. They are half Icelandic, 1/4 Jacob and about 1/4 Tunis, with a little colored Romney. Both had large ram lambs last year and Grizelda was bred by both our rams and is due in a couple weeks.

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Checkers and Jason

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Bell our bottle lamb in the newly set up Creep area.

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Mini the Tunis and her ram lamb. SHe has a messy shearing job because I sheared her a couple weeks ago.

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Goldie and Checker with some other Icelandic girls. They want fed inside instead of outside I think!

Today we had our sheep shorn and even our llama, Checkers. It was nice out this morning, but now it’s snowing. They don’t look happy, but they got extra food and fresh/dry bedding so that helps! They do look clean though!

It looks like all but two of the yearlings are pregnant.  Our young Tunis and the smaller Icelandic yearling, Ella, don’t look pregnant, but all three crossbred yearlings and Zena (Icelandic) look like they are and all the older ewes are pregnant or have already lambed – so that’s 20 to go but we’ll be lambing through April most likely.

The two Jacob ewes, Lavender and Cotton, look like they could lamb any minute.  Lavender’s 147th day after breeding is Monday so we really do expect her to lamb soon.

Rocky the Suffolk Lamb

Kelly bought a Suffolk ewe from our neighbor this fall. She wasn’t supposed to be bred, but there was a slight chance and “surprise” she popped out two lambs in January on one of the coldest nights.

Her tiny ewe lamb only lived for 11 days despite us caring for her in the house and bottle or tube feeding her, but Rocky the ram lamb (now a wether) has been thriving and is a month old now. He broke his leg a few weeks ago, probably because his mother is really jumpy, but is starting to put weight on it now and is growing well despite his injury. We’ll probably put him out with the other sheep within a week or so, but wanted to keep his splint dry and clean while he heals.

Proud Mama

Proud Mama

“Black Tunis” is probably the most productive ewe in our flock and also the oldest. She raised nice big healthy triplets last year and hopefully is planning to do it again. Her father was a purebred Jacob ram and her mother was mostly Tunis with a colored Romney great grandsire. She isn’t impressive looking, but is a dedicated mother. Her lambs this year are sired by a young Texel ram. Born today, February 25, 2014 7.5 # black ewe lamb, 8 # black ram lamb and 9 # white ram lamb.
We have her twin two year old daughters in our flock as well – Grizelda and Mamasita. Sired by an Icelandic ram, each produced lovely large ram lambs last year and we have high hopes for them in 2014 as well.

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