Saturday, April 4, 2009

Finally, Sassy has her babies!!

On Friday I took a special privilege leave day at school and headed down to Amish Country with Mom & Dad to check out the new Amish Flea Market that opened on the Thursday. I got a few new crafty, primitive things for the house; we stopped at the bakery & Mud Valley for some meat; and I stopped at Maysville Feed for horse & goat feed plus some cracked corn.....300# of feed for $41, not too bad.
It was a yucky day for the most part, cold rainy, just a drippy day overall but not if your Sassy, my Nigerian Dwarf doe......a perfect day to finally have her babies.

Of course, this was not a simple kidding. Sassy is older and has never been bred. Labor started around 6:30. Just the simple signs. Around 8:45 a nose came out. Then the bridge of the nose, no hoofs, nose still in the water sack. Looking for hoofs. Nothing. I wait a bit. Giving it time. Too much time has passed. I call my friend Barb for suggestions. Get in there to find the hoofs is the advice. Great. My hand goes in. Nothing. Sack is still on the face. Try again. Where in the heck are the hoofs? Sassy pushes. Now the full head is out. Head in the sack still. I still can not find the hoofs. More time pass...too much. I call the vet.(Thank goodness it is my favorite vet on call & she is truly the best for goat & sheep stuff). She is on her way. Sassy moves. Sack breaks. Clean up the face. Baby is breathing. I am freaking because the baby is out to the shoulders. Sassy is not pushing any more.......where are those darn hoofs?????? Sassy is still not pushing. I have NEVER reached in past my wrist to assist in a birth but since I am in panic mode and the vet will take a good 10-15 minutes to get to my house, in the hand & arm I go. Hello, is anyone in there??? I have given up on the damn front hoofs. I find the butt. Cup my hand around it. Sassy is screaming to beat the bang. She pushes. I push too and by the grace of God, my hand and arm (which by the way my arm was all the way in almost to my elbow....would have taken a picture but I was full of blood and "stuff") guide that baby out!!!! I grab the towel, clean out the mouth and face again, and hand her to Sassy. Thank goodness, she goes to town cleaning the baby up. The picture above is the little boy who came out.
The vet. got there about 5 minutes later. Now of course, she checked over Sassy and reached in, and I kid you not, in 15 seconds pulled out another baby!!! Seriously, I worked so hard for that first one and bam, she had out the second one in record time! She did tell me that I really did all the work though and that I did a good job and I am turning into a good mid-wife:) What an adrenaline rush!!
This is the little girl and when I say little, I mean little. She is really pretty. The picture above is her left side and the picture below is her right side.

I finally got into bed around midnight and then set my alarm every 2 hours to check on the babies.

The first 24-48 hours drive me crazy, trying to make sure the babies are nursing, that no one gets stepped on or laid on, of course when the babies do these things, how can one not resist a photo opportunity?

I am not sure who likes the heat lamb more, the babies or Sassy. The Nigerian babies are so much smaller than the LaMancha babies were. I know, 2 different breeds but I still can not help fussing and worrying about them. Another long night I am sure for me. I will get up to check on them just because I have too and will think the worst if I don't.

"Come on, I just want to take a peek to see what is going on in there!! Please, will someone let me see the babies?"

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Working w/Polled Genetics-Lambs 2008 Update

In 2008 all the lambs born were sired by my polled, black gulmoget ram Jedidiah. As a very new breeder to Shetlands, I am still learning A LOT about colors, wool texture, and genetics in general. And this year adding that polled genetics into the mix, I was not sure what to expect. Don't get me wrong because I truly want those polled genetics, the horns are beautiful but so are my fences and I would like to leave them like that. God Rest Yankee's soul but his head/horns have left lasting impressions on my fence lines. I am sure Samuel, my moorit/smirslet ram with beautiful horns will pick up where Yankee left off.
Back to those polled genetics. I truly got a mixed variety of horns in my ram lambs.

Above, pictured on the left is Jasper, a smooth-polled ram with a very soft, wonderful fleece. I originally wanted to sell him as he was "just black and ordinary" but he is turning out to have a great personality, he has a nice broad forehead, and a great tail. His mother is a twin kat ewe out of Yankee, a mioget ram. I am thinking he may be a nice one to use this Fall.
Pictured next to Jasper is Josiah......what a splash of color!!! His horns, or shall I call them scurs, are just a tad on the "different" side.

They are growing away from his head which is good in my opinion. He is also a grandson to Yankee. His facial structure is totally different to Jasper's, not as broad and "muscular" in presence.....I have not decided whether this is good or bad? Any opinions on that? Josiah, for being on the smaller scale, still insists that hand butting is a preferred greeting.

Pictured above is Jericho. He is a wether now and therefore his scurs have been of no issue. He actually lost a 3 inch scur 2 weeks ago. He is very slow to come around in warming up to me. I have him with all the ewes and Cotswolds. I really like this picture of him:)

And now to my dilemma with using polled genetics. Pictured on the right is Jammer. Jammer is the one who lost that scur/horn in the summer. But now those scurs appear to becoming in as true horns, they are not loose at the base. The serious problem is how they are growing. The horn on the right side of his face (your left if looking at him in this pic) will eventually grow right into the back of his head right around the neckline.

Of all the lambs born in 2008, it would figure that Jammer is the one with the best, warmest personality. The one my niece and nephew love and hug all over. Everyone wants to touch him because his fleece is SO SOFT!! He is everything I would want in a ram, color, yuglet markings, wool, personality.........but these scurs/horns!!!!!!!! Crap.

My Jammie is scheduled on the 15th to go to the vet. to be wethered. Unless the vet thinks the horns can be trimmed. I don't know. Juliann, if your reading what do you think? Anyone working with polled genetics, I would greatly appreicate some advice. I know wethering him will stop the horns from growing. Oh, heck I really wanted to use him as a ram next year.
My Jammie is in a jam right now :(

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Road Trip to MI that gets me in TROUBLE!!

So, the plan was to drive up to Wayland, Michigan and get a 4 week old LaMancha buck on Saturday in Michigan, a 4 1/2 hour drive, one way. Plans were going very well. I left my house at 7:15 am Saturday morning to pick-up my Dad who was going with me. Dad and I have drove this route one too many times. Let's see, we have been to Heather's place at Windswept Acres, we have been to Stephen Rouse's house at Sheltering Pines, and I have been to the Michigan Fiber Fest were I have met Juliann from 'Lil Country Acres to pick up lambs, and I have been to Tammy Tullar's place at Autumn Acres were I was heading again. Now mind you, all of these people just so happen to live within 20-30 minutes of each other......go figure and how convenient for me.

Over all the weather was good, for the most part it was sunny though a tad got pretty windy on the way home though we never hit rain or snow.

Now this is Dad who is my driving partner. Usually Dad has a few words to say about me buying animals; however on this trip he appeared to be more in agreement which resulted in me getting into trouble. Perhaps he was in agreement because he does not want to drive to Michigan again, perhaps he has just given up hope that I will come to my senses on this hobby farming business that is going to make me millions of dollars. Let me show you what I went for, and what I ended up coming home with.

This is my new LaMancha buck from Autumn Acres LaMancha Goats. He is going to be my foundation buck for all of my LaMancha girls. He comes out of some outstanding lines! Look at that beautiful top long!!!

He is ridiculously friendly as he is a bottle baby! I am very pleased with him and can't wait to see what he produces when bred to my girls....4 girls will be bred this fall to this handsome guy!!
Now he is what I went up to get......end of story. HOWEVER, it just so happens that Tammy was in full kidding motion when I got to her place and there was lots of babies and right next to this little guys pen was HER!!

Are you kidding me????

Color, markings, a 3 week old doe, beautiful, not from the same lines as the little buck I was getting but great lines none-the-less......can you see the wheels turning in my warped mind? I turn to Dad for advice.........nothing. He just shakes his head. I tell him if I get her too then I won't have to come back to Michigan. Dad just laughs, like that will really happen.

I tell Tammy I want her you see how this is Dad's fault? I am a 41 year old single hobby farm woman seeking my Dad's advice and I get nothing!! Just when I thought I could count on him the most, he lets me down:) But I am too excited to have such 2 wonderful babies now to add to my LaManchas. I think this will be the beginning of some wonderful breeding next year. Tammy sent me home with lots of frozen pasteurized goat milk and some that I needed to pasteurize which I did last night and this morning. Both babies are bottle babies so I will be bottling feeding now for a good month plus.
I got home last night around 7 pm and finally got settled around 9 pm once I fed and got the babies situated. Long day but I think well worth it.
Today is laundry, cleaning, napping, little eating kinda day..........and playing with all the baby LaManchas of course:)