Saturday, November 14, 2009

Two Shears to the Wind

Today I sheared our two Icelandic ram lambs that I intend to use for breeding this year - Sven and Rocky.  Icelandic sheep can be sheared twice a year, so I decided it was time.  In particular, I noted that they both had some felting to their fleece, because they both have a tendency to stand around in the rain.  In summer, warm rain + moving sheep = fleece becoming felted.  Grumble.  So, I sheared them today and had to discard their fleeces for any use other than chicken coop insulation.  Can you figure out which two were sheared?!

Here's Sven, the grey coloured ram on the right in the picture above, just before shearing!  What a change in colour!  He really lost any of the brown tips - he was born jet black.  I think the tips were sun bleached and under all that, he is probably spotted, so he looks grey.  I didn't shear to the skin like we would in the spring because I wanted some warmth left on them.  Sven was clearly not impressed because, at one point, he proceeded to urinate copiously all down my leg.  Unfortunately, I had him in an excellent position on my lap for shearing difficult parts, so I had to put up with this indelicate behaviour.

I had been under the impression that Rocky, the white lamb with the black eye patches, was at a lower weight than Sven.

Having sheared them, I determined this was not in fact the case.  I'm a little concerned about Sven, in fact, and need to give him more grain immediately to bulk him up a little bit.  A sheep in full fleece can look deceivingly "plump" when in fact they are not.  This is one of those things I have learned in the past year or so of owning sheep.  I also learned today that it might not be a good idea to shear when it is very windy out, since it has a habit of blowing bits of fleece into your eyes.

So who is that handsome ram in the picture above, looking huge and imposing next to poor little Sven?  Well, he's our very first Shetland sheep, named Ferdinand (Ferdie for short).  Ferdie came from Crosswinds Farm and is going to be wethered in the near future.  We acquired him because he has an absolutely gorgeous and crimpy fleece, and he will make a good wether companion for our rams.  He's also our very first all black sheep!  The black sheep of the family!  Hahaha!  He's extremely friendly and approachable and has a lovely habit of wagging his tail very enthusiastically when he is getting a chest rub in just the right spot.  Sometimes I think he is part dog!  I can't believe how big he is compared to our ram lambs - they are all from this year!

In the picture below, the other larger ram lamb who is all white is Marshmallow's brother.  He is also growing well and quickly too! 

Ferdie, and all our other sheep, won't be sheared until spring now.  I can't wait to see how some of the fleeces turn out from this year's lambs.

In other news, Lotus and Opal now have bright green bottoms.

If this comment makes no sense to you, you probably need to read this post.  I created a spreadsheet today giving projected due dates, as well as dates for vaccinations for our goatie girls.  Three of four should be bred now, according to their colour!

Kelly and I spent a good portion of today building an enclosed chick rearing area in the barn.  We'd had enough of chicks in the basement and it was time to construct something more permanent for their care.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out, but it was too dark for pictures.  Another time...


Gail said...

I loved the post, especially since one of your sheep has my Dad's name, Ferdinand, Charles was his first name but every one called him Pete.

corinne said...

Ferdie looks so content, I am so happy that he is with you where he has a wonderful home...and I can still see him from time to time : ).

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

If you look back, y'all have come a long ways in a short amount of time. I have to remind myself too because I always feel like there is so much to do, I have to recall how much we have accomplished.

I have a dog with a big coat, but when groomed, he looks so skinny.

Mom L said...

Thanks for sharing your farm!!


Anonymous said...

Oooh, I hope this means there are baby goats on the way. Congratulations to Opal and Lotus!

The Blue Ridge Gal

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I love that Rocky. He's a cutie! Congrats on your new soon-to-wethered ram, too.

And I can't wait to see your new chick coop. I'm sure it's da bomb!


Apifera Farm said...

happy holiday to al the critters and you and family too! I think you now have a wonderful skill, shearing rams.