The temperature dropped so quickly Friday night and has stayed so low, the ice on the tree branches has not melted. It is so beautiful when the sun shines on the branches.
This is our ram, Dustin…
He is not the ram we intended to get. Sissy had lined up a pedigree ram from half a state away. But plans for transport fell through and it just didn’t happen. We were already late in beginning breeding season after a quick, desperate search we settled on this guy. Yeah, he is cute, but he is stunted. We wormed him and tried to feed him up, but he hasn’t grown. What’s worse is he has not been doing his job. We should be seeing lambs by now and the girls aren’t even bred. In the months since we got him I haven’t observed any rutting behavior or mounting on his part. Dustin, or Dudley as I have been calling him, has been a complete dud.
It is late in the season, but the girls are still cycling. So today the girls got to meet Spaulding.
He is on loan from friends. When Mary and Robert dropped him off this morning the girls were outside. While he was still in the barn, before he even saw a single ewe, he started stomping his foot and sniffing the air. We let him out to pasture and within minutes he was sniffing butts and showing his masculine interest. The girls were definitely interested in him. Spaulding is a fully mature 3 year old male. He is a smaller breed than we prefer to use, but at this point, any functional sheep penis will do. We need lambs to sell or we are out of business.
With the introduction of Spauldin I believe the girls will all start cycling within the next week or two. We won’t have lambs until May, but it beats having no lambs at all and having to sell the herd. It will be interesting to see what these lambs look like. We may not keep any of them. Our girls are a mixed lot, strong on Tunis, combined with other larger breeds. Sissy doesn’t really want this smaller breed in the blood line, but I say wait and see what we get.
In the mean time Dudley, the Dud, Do-Nothing has been a real disappointment. When a ewe doesn’t breed it sucks, but we are only down one or two lambs. When a ram doesn’t breed it hurts the entire herd and the future of the farm. Extra special thanks to Mary for the loan of a sperm machine!
Last night when I got done with chores the temperature was in the upper 60s (F). It was almost too warm, and terribly humid. This morning when I headed out to the barn it was 10 degrees (F). During the night the temperatures plummeted, rain turned to freezing rain, to sleet, to snow with lots of wind. It was a nice thaw while it lasted.
All the animals are loving this break from the cold snap. The sheep are happy to see the ground again, with a chance to find some forage. The chickens ventured outside today for the first time in weeks. Tiggy went outside the barn voluntarily and then hung around to be sociable instead of snuggling up in his warm bed. The kittens were in and out the open barn door all afternoon. And this human critter was able to do chores without snowpants, coat, and heavy insulated boots. I felt so liberated.
Temperatures got up into the 50s (F) today. It was glorious, except…
Melting snow was causing the driveway and barnyard to flood. I spent most of the day digging ditches. Chopping through the ice with an ax, then chipping away at the frozen ground with a shovel. At least it was a nice day to be working outside. But my back is definitely not appreciating my efforts tonight.
It was almost too warm today. It was awesome! No ice on the water tubs, no ice in the chicken waterer. The sheep ventured out to the orchard today instead of huddling in the barnyard. I actually took my coat off for a while when I was doing chores. This is much better.