Sunday, January 25, 2009

Flowers in our Midst

Today, Tulip spent her whole day with the Nubian goats and the llamas. She seemed entirely content around them and ate with them, played with them, and generally seemed to enjoy herself. There were some questions about her nose shape, so here is a nose shot! I don't think she has the Roman nose, do you?

She has a lovely disposition, and will easily eat from my hand. I do not think she was abused in her former home because she is not fearful of us at all. I think she was just neglected.

Look at her ear - doesn't that look like an oak leaf shape inside her ear? How fun!

Today I spent several hours clipping the other sheep. She was very gentle and not at all disturbed by my clipping for the most part. She wasn't really fond of having her belly clipped, but that was understandable. Again, I took off a horrible outer "shell" of burrs mixed with fleece. Underneath, she had a gleaming white fleece and some nice crimp in it too! Some parts are a little yellowed, understandably, but overall she looks super. Oh, and by the way, her name is Petunia. At first, I thought it was Delphinium, but I had it wrong.

It took me a long time to do the area around her face because it was so close to her skin and I was afraid of nicking her with the snips. I lay next to her in the hay, talking to her about how important it was that we help her with her fleece. She let me clip all around her eyes and face with no flinching, as if she knew it was OK to let me do it. I was amazed at her patience and her stillness. After a while, I felt a bit tired of the detail work, and my hands were really cold, and I lay my head down upon her newly clean flank, and put my hands into her fleece. She just lay there, letting me rest upon her, letting me warm my hands. She didn't move or try to avoid me. She was completely at ease. I rested a while and then continued. Finally, she was clean and burr-free, or as close as I could get to burr-free!

So, then it was time for Buttercup and Petunia to meet their new sheepie companions. They had spent the night with Stuffin and Puffin and Disston, since it was easier to access them for their clipping in a smaller pen. But it was time to be with their own kind, so out we went.

Everybody was wonderfully well behaved.

Bianca, Flurry and Poppy welcomed the girls into their pen and everyone had a good sniff of everyone else.

Petunia was so excited about it all that she had to have a little lie-down.
Buttercup and Petunia still like to be together. Don't they look great in their "new" clean fleece?!

Tulip, who was housed with the sheep before, can still visit with her friends through the cattle panel divider. We keep the goats and sheep housed separately because their mineral needs are quite different. Here's Tulip checking out the excitement, and Poppy looking on with interest!

So all our girls are well settled and all of them have flower names - Tulip, Buttercup, and Petunia. Perhaps that is because they are ready to blossom in their new lives here on the farm.

p.s. Waste not, want not! What did I do with that nasty, burr-filled fleece? I used it (with the soft, inner side up) to line the chicken coop nest boxes and the inside of the "Eglu" coop where the silkies live. What a soft, nice bed for a hen to lay an egg on!


Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

that 4th pic down, your dark gray sheep looks like, "oh girl, you having a bad hair day?"

Tulip is actually a very pretty goat. She appears very healthy physically and mentally. Isn't that inner ear interesting? is there a tattoo in there anywhere? probably not if she is a mix. I think her nose and ears look like my ND's, wait for an experienced goat person to comment though.

Mom L said...

Oh, Claire, you have done a wonderful job. Your new children look very happy and Tulip is beautiful. I'm sure I detect sighs of relief, especially from the sheep. And Petunia letting you rest with/on her!! Do you have any idea how old they are? Maybe you posted that when you were first offered a chance to become their new Mom but, if you did, I don't remember. The fact that the "old" kids took so well to the new crew says a great deal about you and Kelly and your kindness. I do hope we get to meet one day! Nancy

Lola Nova said...

What a lovely post. You should think about writing a children's story about your farm. I've been showing my girl all your new animals, she will be happy to know that the sheep are now "all soft and sparkly clean". When I told her you rescued them, she put her hands to her face and said, "Oh honey, that's so sweet."

IsobelleGoLightly said...

Tulip is so beautiful...maybe she would like to come to New York to live with me! Isobelle!

Kara said...

Tulip seems to have quite a bit of cahsmere in her fleece, so maybe part Spanish meat goat or cashmere? My cashmere wether had similar coloring and the stripe down his back. (Check out my archives.) If I were you I would buy a dog brush and as the days get longer you will notice the cashmere undercoat starting to shed. Brush her once every day or two and save up the fiber. It took me two years of brushing to have enough to have "dehaired" at the mill, I ended up with 10 ounces that I sent in and had it mixed with Shetland and mohair. SO soft and wonderful!

JK said...

That is a great photo of Tulips nose. :-) Definitely not Roman. Still guess Alpine/Nigerian Dwarf cross.
You mentioned a dorsal stripe down her back. Alpine, Oberhalsi, Pygmy and ND have the dorsal stripe. Her red coloring is almost that of an Ober though.

You might also check her backbone, if it is flat she has a meat breed in her. If her backbone is pointed, indicates dairy breeds.

More signs to look for that labor to start soon are that the vulva area swells or starts to swell, the opening becomes much larger and puffy looking.
From my experience, there are two types of discharge that can be seen close to kidding, a clear to whitish-yellowish discharge, that can occur possibly two weeks prior to kidding, then there is a clear brownish discharge which means it is happening within a few hours.
Our goats seem to go off food, they isolate themselves in the place they have chosen to kid. Some can also be a bit cranky. The udders swell, to the point the skin almost shines from being stretched so tight. Then there are the goats that constantly paw, stretch, arch their backs, some nip at their bellies and some talk to their bellies.

The girls look lovely after their de-burring. Know they have to be so much more comfortable.

The girls are so fortunate to have you!

Karin said...

What a lovely post. I went right along with it and admored the goat's ears which are beautiful and I could just see you clipping the burrs out of the sheep's fleece...then when you rested your head on her and she let you do that, I started crying...she knew exactly that now she was with a safe person.
I talk to every animal I meet at friends' houses and I am glad to have met another person that talks to animals.
Thank you for making my week!

BlueGate said...

Pictures of pure contentment! And your eglu looks like absolute silkie heaven! Hmmm, maybe your farm is a little piece of heaven after all : )

Diane L. Dodd said...

i love your new flowers! and i'm looking forward to visiting the farm when the weather is nice so i can shoot the animals. i mean take pictures of them!!! :)
i need you to talk to my idiots and tell them to behave, maybe they would listen to you.

Diane L. Dodd said...

ps- i just went back and looked at the picture joanna mentioned..LOL!
that is totally what it looks like!

Shiloh Prairie Farm said...

The sheep look great, what an improvement! That is a very pretty new goat you got there! PS. I nominated you for the butterfly award! Check out my blog for the details. (2nd post down)

Claire said...

Thanks to all for the kind and helpful comments!

Joanna - no ear tattoos - but she certainly seems healthy and well adjusted, unlike some rescue animals who are fearful and timid.

Nancy - The sheep are estimated to be between 4 and 5 years old, according to the former owner's recollection. You know you have an open invitation to visit them anytime!

Lola Nova - out of the mouths of babes! What a sweet comment. I am glad she is seeing our animals and I hope she'll ask for a sheep for her birthday (giggle).

Isobelle - What a treat that would be. We love wine from the New York finger lakes region - do you live far from there?

Kara - really?! Wow! I noticed she had a lot of a fluffy sort of undercoat, especially in her neck, when I was brushing out the burrs. Some of it stuck to the burrs and was very soft, now that you mention it. I didn't know that was cashmere.

JK - Wonderful advice! I will feel her backbone tomorrow when it is light. She definitely has that stripe. Stuffin's vulva is slightly more puffy than Puffin's (her sister) and her sides are much more bulged. Her sides just feel tight and firm, like a drum, unlike Puffin's. Her udder is like a soft little cushion, whereas Puffin's is flat. Her teats are bigger too. She has no discharge yet. But from the other signs, I still believe she is pregnant. We bought her October 2, so I calculate she has 40 days left, but probably less since it was unlikely she was bred on October 1.

Karin - I kept tearing up as I clipped her - it just felt like I was undoing some wrong that had been done, and it felt sad and good all at the same time. Hard to describe.

Diane (Diowa) - I will talk to your idiots anytime! We look forward to your visit in warmer weather. Will you be assisting with barn duties? LOL! You could visit at lambing time if you want - that would be a fun/cute time for photos!

Bluegate - I hope the silkies think so too! The little dark one is named Rosebud, the other two white ones are Sparkle and Sheffield.

Shiloh - wow! An award! I will do a post about it. Thank you SO much!!

Christy said...

It seems you got very lucky with the new girls. And they got very lucky with you!

Nancy K. said...

You did a wonderful job cleaning your new girls up! I'm sure that they feel MUCH better...

P.S. I love the flower names!

Yellow Jacket Ridge Angoras said...

Now that's thinking...using the fleece for bedding. Well done!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Tulip is lovely! That ear marking is so unique. I feel sorry for her a little bit, though. I hope she doesn't get too lonely without her pals to cuddle up with. I've always kept my goats and sheep together. It's wonderful for the sheep, especially because it keeps them calmer as goats don't tend to bolt and spook as easily as sheep do.
We just supply the sheep minerals and goat minerals and they each get what they need. They are all happy to cuddle together for naps and at night, too. :)

You did a wonderful clipping job on both of the sheep. Much better than I did on my Navajo Churro sheep in November. What a chop job! lol!
My sheep are much like yours in that they stay calm, quiet and allow me to trim and shear with no fuss at all. They actually seem to enjoy it. :)
It probably feels so much better to have all that burr filled dirty fleece off, too.

Well done :)